Swedish Music industry: Make file sharing legal

Now these guys have a different idea.

According to Sweden’s biggest music rights group, the Swedish Performing Rights Society have decided that instead of trying to ban file sharing and persecute those who try to do it, they hope to embrace the idea and work out a licensing fee to be paid from users to ISPs.

According to STIM’s model, an average user’s monthly internet costs will rise in proportion to the total amount of music being downloaded.

In return, internet users will be able to access and download all the music available on the internet at a given time.

“It will all become possible by ISPs entering into licensing agreements with STIM and other rights holders, in the same way as radio stations, retail chains and sporting venues,” said STIM.

It’s an interesting idea, but one that probably will offend a lot of people. I’m assuming that ISPs would pass along any licensing fee costs to ALL consumers, even those who don’t participate in file sharing activities. Yes, I know, you may not believe it, but there ARE those who don’t do it.

It also will offend independent musicians and artists who hope to share their mp3’s for free. At least, judging by the reaction to the proposed Canadian blank media tax that some of you may remember from many years ago. This was a tax on all blank CD’s, DVD’s and tapes, because it assumed you’d use those items to pirate music. It really pissed some people off, and there’s a fair chance that this ISP fee will do the same.

Also, I really can’t imagine any of the existing record labels going for this plan. I ESPECIALLY can’t figure that Steve Jobs is going to want to let his Itunes store compete with legalized “free” downloading. Not when your store has sold over 4 billion songs since it started.

At the very least I’m happy to see people thinking of other ideas instead of just randomly suing people to intimidate them into stopping sharing files. The music industry in general needs to look to the future to stop their decline, because I sure as hell don’t want to wake up one morning without access to new music.

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