• Virtual Hat

last modified September 10, 2015 by strypey

The idea behind this project came from Eddie Shwartz, President of the Songwriters Association of Canada (the closet equivalent in Aotearoa would be the Creative Freedom Foundation), whose talk I heard at the Indigenous Knowledge conference at Victoria in 2010. His talked laid out the details of the SAC proposal which is summed up nicely by this quote:

"Rather than continuing to engage in increasingly futile efforts to stop people from using new technologies to share music, we at the Songwriters Association of Canada believe this massive use of creators’ work should be licensed just as live performances and broadcasting, also initially considered infringement, were ultimately licensed in the past."

My proposal is essentially to set up a totally opt-in pilot scheme similar to this, involving kiwi musicians, fans, ISPs, and free culture geeks. A pool is created to hold money, donated by fans, to reward musicians whose work is being shared online. Each month, whatever is in that pool is distributed amongst the participating musicians, according to the proportion of total downloads (whether by direct download, BitTorrent etc) their work made up, similar to the way Flattr works. For the scheme to be credible, the pool needs to be administered by an organisation with credibility amongst both musicians, and the general public. This could be one organisation, like Creative Freedom Foundation or CreativeNZ, or a committee made up of representatives from a number of interested organisations.

In order to collect accurate metrics, and to avoid looking like they want to have their cake and eat it too, participating musicians would need to be willing to declare an amnesty on the file-sharing of their music - a guarantee of no prosecutions under the Copyright Act, including the use of the provisions in the new Amendment. For those who agree with the SAC, that "people have always shared music and always will", and want to commit to this kind of model long-term, one way to do this would be to license their music under CreativeCommons.

On a similar topic, what will digital natives pay for ?