Instead of music copyrights

Mike O’Hare proposes a Gordian solution to the music-file-sharing problem.

Mike O’Hare, in an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, argues that “Free music needn’t be stolen music.” I think he has an important idea here, which could be adapted to cover text and film as well. As always, there are complexities, but the potential gains are huge. For $40 per capita in tax money, you could have access to whatever music you wanted, while providing the same revenue stream to the makers, recorders, and producers of music as they receive today.

Mike doesn’t mention the side-benefit in terms of cultural imperialism. That benefit would be smaller for music than it would be for other media, though if we’re really concerned about China as an economic rival inflicting hip-hop on the Chinese might be a useful form of sabotage.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com