I’ve ended up in touch with a plethora of granual payment systems that try to innovate non-time based revenue making streams that also are not based on copyrights. Essentially cultural funding that is independent of methods for cultural revenue making previously dominating the creative sector.
Granular payment systems bypass the entire copyright regime. They do not base the payments on the amount of copies generated, and they do not make payments to holders of rights. There’s other examples of copyright subversion, like Magnatune, Jamendo on sales, Youtube, Vimeo and vo.do on distribution, live performance, conferences, exhibitions on selling of time. Spotify, iTunes and Grooveshark are entirely rights-based since they strike unsueable licensing agreements with rightsholders that base revenue payments on amount of generated copies but could essentially be non-rights-based if they wanted it.
All of the flatrate debates are essentially suggestions for non-rights based revenue streams. All of the debate participants don’t seem to realize it, insistent on basing distribution schemes on copy-generation, but well. At the Economies of the Commons conference in Amsterdam I heard a whisper in the willow about potential advocacy of payment caps or the setting aside of large parts of a collective fund for actual redistribution into marginalised culture (opera, etc).
Recently in Hongkong, I learned that the music industry in Hongkong has mostly adapted to time-based revenue collecting models. Apparently most of the illegally available copies online are put on the file-sharing networks by the music companies themselves (only Hongkong pop, mind) and revenues are instead made through in the ever increasing tornado of highly competitive Hongkong night life, available for all 7.2 million inhabitants at almost any night of the week. Apparently it is, despite rapid time-based model innovation, primarily the movie industry that is still causing a rights-based hassle to Hongkong cultural participants. I asked if there is any commercial piracy of copyrighted material in Hongkong, but was told that it would be stupid to buy pirate copies since the internet connections are so good. I was further told that most illegally distributed copies in China are put in circulation by the industry itself, since it saves them more time and money to bypass the state censors than to wait for market approval. I am frustrated. Again. In a recent summit customs commissioner Algirdas Šemeta felt that China is facilitating the influx of infringing goods into the EU – when the goods are put illegally on the Chinese market by the industry itself! I am further antagonized by the friendly customs pointers at Dutch airport Schiphol advising me to declare any potential new electronics at the customs office. I thought we signed the ITA for a reason, which may, if I’m not mistaken, to have been increasing cross-border consumer electronics trade by setting 0-tariffs. Then again, as I learned during the PS3 jailbreak episode of August, ”The EU has very different tariffs for personal computers versus video game consoles.” Keeping too poorly up to date with EU customs regulation nowadays, I still haven’t checked myself if a change in the ITA arrangements is the reason Linux for PS3 was banned by Sony earlier this year. I don’t think so.