Commentary: UK Music Trade Supports Copy Tax plus

LONDON (Hypebot) – Ripping your CD onto you iPod is a crime in the UK. But as is the practice globally, most people do it; and a recent survey showed that 88% don't even know they are breaking the law. Proposed legislation would decriminalize the practice, but a coalition of major industry groups including AIM, BPI, The Manager's Forum and the Musicians Union are backing a tax to compensate for what they see as a loss in income. A summary of their logic:

  • there is a value produced by the ability to format shift for both consumers and commercial enterprises
  • it is imperative that creators and performers should benefit directly from this value
  • the only solution which achieves these goals is a "flexible and market-led approach based upon a business-to-business relationship"
    The position paper (pdf) does not propose a specific fee or percentage leaving it "subject to commercial negotiations".

    COMMENTARY –

    Unless they embrace the opportunities provided by the internet rather than fighting the challenges, the music industry will remain in decline

    Sadly, this is another example of how far behind the consumer the music industry is. While the tax would presumably be on portable players rather than individual copies, the effect…

    and message for consumers is the same: "We're losing money; so we want you to pay more for the privilege of enjoying music." This is the same flawed logic that turns fans into criminals, drives them toward Pirate Bay and flames their distrust of the entire music industry.

    The internet has created huge challenges for music, but it has also created new opportunities: music creation and distribution is far less expensive

  • marketing is now in the hands of the many instead of the few
  • new products and revenue models can be tested quickly and cheaply
    Unless they embrace the opportunities provided by the internet rather than fighting the challenges, the music industry will remain in decline. Clearly, a copy tax levied on iPods or anywhere is a major step in the wrong direction.

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