Pay An ISP Surcharge To Use P2P?

Friday, March 14, 2008 by Mistlee

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Pay An ISP Surcharge To Use P2P?

By Dan Morrill

There is an interesting idea being floated out of SXSW on how to deal with privacy and piracy by proposing a five dollar surcharge on users of P2P technologies at the ISP level.

Griffin's idea is to collect a fee from internet service providers -- something like $5 per user per month -- and put it into a pool that would be used to compensate songwriters, performers, publishers and music labels. A collecting agency would divvy up the money according to artists' popularity on P2P sites, just as ASCAP and BMI pay songwriters for broadcasts and live performances of their work. Source: Wired

This has been met with various levels of enthusiasm this morning at Cnet, Mac Daily and Techwag, the real question though is can this work. Will people who do not use P2P be willing to subsidize the use of P2P for their electronic neighbors? That big question is at the root of any surcharge at the ISP level, because it could be baked into the cost of access. Given that a standard all you can eat package of bandwidth can cost from 29.99 to 99.99 depending on what add-ons you get, you are looking at a 16% to 5% increase in overall access costs for broadband users.

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Techwag points out that it will add 1.19 billion dollars to the bottom line of artists and labels. MacWorld daily points out that the surcharge idea is not going to fly because the current music model is being changed to singles rather than full CD's, which apple ITunes is leading the way, closely followed by Amazon Unbox. Cnet is talking about how to turn P2P technologies into "profit centers" for big media. All of these are valid viewpoints and ones that show both a generalized acceptance of the idea, as well as the approach to supporting music artists in the longer run.

Good idea? Bad Idea, it is too early to tell, but anything that stops the campaign against individuals is a good idea.

I would love to hear your opinion on this one, please leave a comment, this could be an interesting discussion, and one that maybe the music industry will read.


About the Author:
Dan Morrill has been in the information security field for 18 years, both civilian and military, and is currently working on his Doctor of Management. Dan shares his insights on the important security issues of today through his blog, Managing Intellectual Property & IT Security, and is an active participant in the ITtoolbox blogging community.

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