One proposal that has been suggested as a resolution to the problem of the big music labels losing money to unauthorized music downloading has been adding a fee to all users’ Internet service provider bills, say, $5/month. This would allow users to download all they want from any source (though I suppose iTunes and other vendors would require their fees, too). What a wonderful idea this is. I’m sure my mother, who has never downloaded a song in her life and wouldn’t know where to look, would be perfectly happy paying this fee. It amounts to a taxpayer-supported industry bail-out to my way of thinking. I always like sending my money to companies that get in trouble due to mistakes they make. I could use some money—where can I get some of this action? Oh, right, I’m not a large multinational corporation.
Well, just when you think we need a white knight to handle the RIAA dragon, along comes a group of law students from the University of Maine. They’re bringing a lawsuit against the RIAA to force it to stop using its controversial tactics of filing lawsuits just to discover who might be illegally downloading music. This could force the RIAA to back off and maybe not treat its customers like soon-to-be-convicted criminals.
Then again, we have the new President of Digital Business of EMI saying something to the effect that suing one’s customers is probably not a sustainable business model. But what does he know; he comes from Google.
If the big music companies had ever chosen innovation over repression when it comes to business development, I probably wouldn’t write posts like these.
(Edit 4 April 2008 11:05 a.m.: Changed link in third paragraph to the article with the actual quote from the EMI guy, whose title I had wrong and have now corrected, too.)