The Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) came up with a proposal recently for a Internet music fee of $5 per month which would allow users to swap as much music as they like. A fee such as this would mirror the fees that other music venues pay, such as radio stations, bars and restaurants, etc. A venue that uses music for entertainment is required to at least pay a blanket fee to cover the cost of playing copyrighted music. There are many business models floating around that is toying with the idea of making internet consumers pay a fee for music, whether they actually download music or not. It would be an automatic fee that the would have to pay to use the internet. However, this business model is less popular. The proposal by the SAC is actually asking for voluntary participation by artists and consumers. If consumers decide not to participate, it requires them to sign a sworn statement saying that they will not share copyrighted material. Artists can decide not to participate and not do anything further.
One of the issues of the proposal by the SAC is that the music fee may not be the end of the fees for using the internet. Will the fees just be getting started? The movie industry has also been losing money from illegal digital downloads and bootlegging. Will they also require a fee for the use of the internet? What about books and newspapers? Newspapers are going out of business and are desperately in need for more cash. When will the fees stop? Why is it that music seems to take precedence and attention? Should the fees stop with music?
If Canada implements a monthly fee for music on the internet, I believe other fees would soon crop up. Once the plan has worked through the kinks and other companies see iys importance, they would want the same treatment as the music companies. I believe that the current model of radio stations and bars/lounges paying a blanket fee for music is fair. Their whole business is based on music, so naturally, they will be playing music at their venues. There is no way around that and these venues would be out of business if they could not play copyrighted music.. However, the internet consists of more than just music. It covers everything and anything that you can think of. If you try to make a fee for the use of a small part of it, other companies will crop up and want a fee as well. The fees would become too great and defeat the purpose of the internet. The internet has mainly been about information. There is no tangible product, just transfers of ideas. Therefore, it will be difficult to regulate it. Music is basically a transferable product. It is heard, not touched. There will be many different ideas on how to get a handle of the music and internet, but I think the music industry is missing the point. The business model for music has changed since the advent of the internet and the mp3 player. Music is not used or heard the same way that it was used to. I think the music industry should take advantage of the new ways that music is heard and spread. There are other opportunities, such as streaming and mobile appliciations, that can take the place of the mp3. It also allows for a greater audience for the music and prevents a physical copy of the music from being spread. I hope that the music industry moves away from going after the consumer and instead tries to work with the consumer.
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