December 28, 2004

Andrew Orlowski with Terry Fisher on Promises to Keep [11:30 am]

Digital music: flat fee futures

When Steve Gorden, a flat fee proponent and former Sony attorney, made his case on NPR recently the RIAA stepped up to the plate, asking “Do you want Government to set the price for music - for Beethoven?” This absurd claim was left unchallenged by the producers, but it was typical of objections left during Fisher’s stint as a guest on Lawrence Lessig’s weblog. Not only did this bring out the usual array of bedroom hopefuls, touting their own software, but the objection to state involvement in the market for cultural goods. This gets short shrift from Fisher.

“These objections have a lot of rhetorical power, but they’re wrong headed. I point out in the book that the entire music industry is already shot through with government involvement: copyright confers power on producers insulating them from market forces, the entire intellectual property regime requires a major involvement of the government; and the past shows that the industry is full of devices such as compulsory licenses which required government involvement. The idea that an ACS for digital music represents a new involvement by government is entirely wrong”.

That said, Fisher notes, some objections seem quite legitimate and a successful ACS must address them.

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