Last week I read on the Radio-Canada website that one of Canada’s artist protection group (don’t remember with one, and can’t seems to find the article on Radio Canada) as proposed an original solution to the illegal music sharing over the Internet. It propose to give every Canadian the right to download, share and copy all the music it wants online… in exchange for a 5$ tax on Internet connection that will be redistributed to copyright holder in Canada.
At first glance I though it was a good idea, well except from the fact that you did not give people the choice to pay or not pay for unlimited download it sounded good. However, I thought about it a little and realized that this idea is probably not that good. First, 5$ a month is 60$ a year, or about 3 CD worth of song if you consider a minimum of 10 M Canadian with Internet connection that 600 M$ a year… which is conveniently enough about the amount of $ brought each years in CD sales in Canada. Now since there are still CD sales in Canada even when music download is readily available (both for legal and illegal sources) I’m guessing it will not vanish with this measure. So this measure is a way to take money from every Internet user and put it in the Record industry’s pocket (don’t think the artist will receive most of this money, the copyright holder i.e. the Record industry will).
Second, most people I know don’t download nowhere near 60 songs (3 CD) a year. From the people I know, most people download at most 10-20 songs without also buying the album from where the song comes from. But I do admit that this is not a strong argument since I do not have actual numbers just my impression.
Third, what do we do about all the online music store that already exist? Do we ask them to check the IP address of the consumer and not bill the Canadian ones? Do we prevent them from selling music in Canada? Do we tell them, well tough luck but you have unfair competition, it sells music to less then 10cent a song and Canadian have to pay it so they won’t buy from you.