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:: NPR Covers RIAA Folly; VCL Plans Entering the Mainstream

By: Electronic Frontier Foundation (editor at eff dot org)
Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:00:00 PM


For years now, EFF has been arguing against the strongarm tactics of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and its vain attempt to stop filesharing by dragging music fans into court. At the same time, we've also been tirelessly promoting the idea of Voluntary Collective Licensing (VCL) as a solution that could give fans what they want while ensuring that musicians get paid. Lately, these formerly fringe ideas are garnering broader respect after a few mainstream stories about the RIAA lawsuits and VCL.

Take the excellent series on the RIAA lawsuits from National Public Radio (NPR)'s Marketplace. While responsibly airing perspectives from several major players, the show nevertheless presents an unflattering portrait of the music industry's tactics. RIAA lawsuit victim Tanya Anderson, EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred Von Lohmann and RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol are each featured in extensive interviews, and the simple facts of the story are allowed to speak for themselves. The RIAA's effort to intimidate fans by randomly targeting a few individuals is clearly futile and unnecessarily punitive.

Meanwhile, VCL schemes are beginning to attract interest from some influential music industry players. The new co-chief executive of Columbia Records, Rick Rubin, has been talking about subscription-based music services. "You would subscribe to music," Rubin told the New York Times Magazine. "You'd pay, say, $19.95 a month, and the music will come anywhere you'd like. In this new world, there will be a virtual library that will be accessible from your car, from your cellphone, from your computer, from your television. Anywhere." And Rubin isn't the only one.

Find out more in our post:

Listen to NPR's three-part Marketplace show, "Music biz's future rests on key changes":

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

For EFF's page "A Better Way Forward: Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing":

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