Nesson on Fisher's Alternative Compensation Scheme for Digital Music

“I think Terry’s proposal is terrific,” says Prof. Nesson.  “But the question is how can you get from here to there.  There are a lot of dead of bodies between here and there, and they aren’t dead yet.”

Terry Fisher replies: “Something more dramatic, something of a lurch, is needed to get us to a better world.”  And, he concedes that Prof. Nesson is indeed persuasive on one point: “The political impediments to replacing the copyright system, even in one country, the United States, are quite high.  And the political impediments to replacing the copyright system internationally are huge.” 

So, instead, says Terry, we need an intermediate step: an entertainment co-op, voluntary from the perspective of the artists and the individual consumers, a cousin of of creative commons.  It would cost $3.50 a month for consumers for unlimited downloads and streams.  The main impediment to the voluntary scheme?  Critical mass.  You need substantial involvement of the artists and of consumers. 

Jonathan Zittrain has a constituency: those who are able to take advantage of the 35-year “Rod Stewart Protection Act.”  There’s a lot of demand for bands’ songs that are 35 years old, who can now strike a new deal with their distributors.  They could move to Terry’s world: “Lifebeginsat40.com”.

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