Legalizing piracy and enabling better content creation through a Global Licence

Posted by Charbax – February 8, 2011

I was at this workshop at Lift11 where we brain-stormed the http://dontmakemesteal.com project which has been gaining media attention during these past few days on wired.com, heise.de, rawstory.com, gigaom.com, sueddeutsche.de, news.ycombinator.com and more. I was on the team in charge of writing the pricing model for this manifesto.

Here is what needs to happen for piracy to dissapear:

Everyone pays $5 per month to access everything. Everyone is then allowed to watch, download, stream any movie, tv show, music, ebook, blog post, download, install and use any application.

This has been called the Global Licence by French socialist party in 2005 when they tried to pass it through the French Parliament (but the law was then cancelled by Chiraq's Government). I was since then a strong supporter of the Global Licence model and I even campaigned through video-blogging 450 videos for Segolène Royal's presidential election campaign in 2007 in France to try to get this law passed in one major European country, which would likely then trickle over to be the standard online content law, the copyright/piracy fix for the world, a foundation allowing for the creation of much better content and a solution allowing for development of much better technological solutions to more easily consume all the best content.

The Netflix model may seem great on the surface, but the reality of a technology provider having to sign content distribution deals with all the content creators in the world is just not a sustainable model. There will be plenty of content creators who will have demands that Netflix cannot meet, and that means a lot of content is then not going to be available in certain markets. Having many separate and closed subscription plans is not a sustainable model.

The only true solution is a Government mandated blanket licencing pricing and redistribution model, thus the global licence tax, where everyone pays a small tax to legally access all contents.

$5 per month paid by everyone in the USA and Europe means $60 Billion per year in revenues through this model, that is probably largely enough to finance great content creation. The redistribution of this wealth would happen through decentralized and multiple measurers of popularity and quality of content. For example, Google can measure exact popularity and quality of YouTube videos, last.fm can measure how many times people listen to songs, Razorback and other p2p statistics systems can measure popularity of files on p2p networks. More such models of measurement of popularity and quality/ratings can be implemented once having such more precise statistics and ratings will be demanded.

The advantages of this model:

- The money can be distributed directly to content creators, skipping all intermediaries. The content creators thus are in control of their budgets, content creation is thus less influenced by the intermediaries.

- Technology providers can focus on providing better technologies instead of having to worry about acquiring rights for content. Technology providers can sell or monetize their solutions based on the cost of bandwidth and storage rather than having to monetize through complicated models.

- Consumers don't have to think about where they can find which content based on who has the rights to distribute it. Consumers can just make a search for what they want, and they can download or stream it through any number of technology and solution providers.