Digital music strategist Jim Griffin has come forward with a brand new proposal in the form of a “voluntary blanket licensing’ for online access to music” plan that would add a small music-royalty fee to the tuition payments U.S. universities collect from students. The success of the plan might guarantee its expansion in passing the task of collecting such fees to ISPs, thus dealing with some of the most tedious and litigious matters which usually create tensions between the music industry and its customers.
According to Wired.com this new-to-beformed independent nonprofit organization that would manage the funds from universities and ISPs and distribute them to copyright owners will be called Choruss.
The proposal is currently touring college campuses on a national scale with technology advocate Educause in close-up, and with Columbia, Stanford, University of Washington, University of Chicago, University of Colorado, MIT, University of Michigan, Cornell, Penn State, University of California at Berkeley and University of Virginia all appearing to be interested in the plan.
Supervisory body group the Electronic Freedom Foundation backs up the plan, and Warner Bros said that it is looking for options to the lawsuit-based method at the schools’ request.
“Of course, we are actively engaged with universities and other parties to seek a constructive resolution to a complex issue — how to assure artists appropriate compensation while enabling the widespread dissemination of their work among fans,” a Warner Music Group spokesman replied to the presentation’s publication on Techdirt.
“Therefore, we are undertaking an effort to develop new voluntary business models that seek something other than — and we believe, better than — a litigation-based approach. This is exactly the type of solution that several universities and their associations have been asking for.”
However, there’s a catch, and an odd one as well – the scheme compels all students, whether they live off campus or not, or even whether they engage in sharing music or not, to pay an additional fee with their college tuition. The plan’s motto seems to be “All students or none.” It’s kind of rising up the issue of fairness, doesn’t it?
Yet, the most stressing problem might come from the fact that all labels, both indie and major, would be asked to shake hands in order for the ‘download-what-you-want’ proposal to work. This means that some copyright holders could fear this proposal may backfire in the form of heavy piracy leaning on pretexts like “I didn’t know I was supposed to only download music.”