In addition to demanding that ISPs implement piracy filters
that may not work
, the entertainment industry has long wanted to see ISPs start charging broadband users a piracy tax (whether they pirate or not). A chief proponent of this idea, former Geffen Records boss Jim Griffin, has been hired by Warner Music to make this plan a reality
. Griffin will take the next three years to create an organization tasked with getting ISPs on board:
Warner's plan would have consumers pay an additional fee—maybe $5 a month—bundled into their monthly internet-access bill in exchange for the right to freely download, upload, copy, and share music without restrictions. Griffin says those fees could create a pool as large as $20 billion annually to pay artists and copyright holders. Eventually, advertising could subsidize the entire system, so that users who don't want to receive ads could pay the fee, and those who don't mind advertising wouldn't pay a dime.
While that sounds romantic, some sources with inside information of the plan
say the "ad-supported" concept is an empty promise being used to warm people to the idea. The real plan is little more than a glorified protection racket where the music industry gets $20 billion in annual revenue in exchange for not suing ISPs or individuals. The definition of protection racket from Wikipedia
A protection racket is an extortion scheme whereby a powerful entity or individual coerces other less powerful entities or individuals to pay protection money which allegedly serves to purchase "protection" services against various external threats.
Except in this case the RIAA would be going up against companies like Verizon, who've not-so-quietly built entire broadband empires where piracy was the unspoken killer application. The music industry hopes ISPs would sign up for this plan to avoid liability, but deep-pocketed operators like Verizon could prefer settling the matter in court.
But what if Griffin's new organization promises ISPs (and Uncle Sam, if necessary) a cut?