[pp.int.general] [Cafe] levies

Reinier Bakels r.bakels at planet.nl
Mon Mar 24 10:30:31 CET 2008

> Fred von Lohmann has updated the EFF Voluntary Collective Licensing paper:
> Monetizing File-Sharing: Collective Licensing Good, ISP Tax Bad
> http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/03/monetizing-file-sharing-collective-licensing-good-isp-tax-bad
> Better than levies?
Perhaps in the US where people are used to pay gratuities in restaurants 
etc. VOLUNTARILY such a system may work. The Dutch on the other hand are 
known to be tight and never pay if not absolutely mandatory (and perhaps not 
even in that case). The saying goes that copper wire was invented by two 
Dutch fighting over a cent.

I believe we need a more radical solution. The very (perceived) need for 
drastic measures such as levy systems shows that the copyright system is not 
fit for the 21st century. The basic premise for copyright has been 
superseded by technology. In the past, one had to buy an pile of printed 
paper in order to read a book, and a piece of black plastic in order to 
listen to a record. Technology virtually has detached media from content.

If anything should be voluntarily, it should be the (direct) funding of 
artists. A modern day mecenate. If copyright is there to foster (artistic) 
culture in the true sense, it is fundamentally wrong to accept a market 
economy as the ultimate judgement. Economic value and cultural value have no 
relationship whatsoever. Yes, that creates an dependence from subjective, 
personal judgements of sponsors. But that is always better than a scheme 
based on the premise that who is making most money is culturally most 
valuable - a preposterous thought.

Having said that, modern technology makes a mecenate scheme much more 
feasible than in the past. People can find each other over the internet 
(open source model!) and e.g. making recordings is much cheaper than it used 
to be. Publishing books without an editor has become very simple due to 
lulu.com and bod.de.


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