Scripting News for 10/5/07

Music-lovers liability insurance? 

I was watching RIAA president Cary Sherman on CNN this morning. A reasonable guy, with a straight pitch. We know our future is on the Internet. We want people to enjoy music. We don’t mind if you make copies of the music but don’t go into competition with us, don’t distribute the music. Hard not to sympathize when he says it so reasonably.

They got a $222K judgement against a Minnesota woman yesterday. We’re thinking about it. And of course that’s what the RIAA wants us to do, right. Think. Okay. We’re thinking. Hopefully they’ll do some thinking too.

First, Sherman seems so reaonable, makes me wonder if a negotiation is possible. I’ve always said I want to pay, but like Sherman, I want it to be reasonable. I’ve already purchased music on vinyl, then tape, then CD, if I’m going to do it again on the Internet I want a better deal than last time.

We got a good piece of what we want with the Amazon MP3 store. But I’d like to buy music in bulk, in MP3 form. Like I said, I don’t mind paying, a reasonable amount of money. Half-terabyte disks cost $150, and the prices keep coming down. I’d like to go down to Fry’s and buy a half-terabyte of music (they’re not going to like this) for another $100. I’d like it already installed on the hard disk. Put the RIAA brand on it if you like. Make a deal with Seagate?

Anyway, I’m thinking, I’m thinking.

Another idea.

How about music-lover’s liability insurance?

Companies, even small startups, buy director’s liability insurance. Without it they’d never get high net worth individuals to serve on their board.

How about RIAA and MPAA insurance. Pay $1000 per year and download all you want, sure that if the RIAA wins a judgement against you, you’re covered.

I bet a lot of people would go for it. Think of the peace of mind it would buy.

Then hopefully, the RIAA would get the idea that they could cut out the middleman. 🙂

PS: William Smith thinks someone is doing it.

PPS: Kim Jong Il may need some MLLI? 🙂

Virgin America travel day tomorrow 

Flying from SFO to JFK on Virgin America.

Should be interesting. Power at the seats so I’m not going to bring an extra battery. They have USB ports, not sure what they do. For charging devices with USB chargers? No wifi yet. I’ll take pics with my iPhone. People are curious about this airline. Me too.

Apparently it’s really hot in the east. I’m still going to pack a couple of sweaters. It could get cold in NY in early-mid-October.

A bit of feedback to anyone at Virgin America who might read this. Your site could work a lot better with Firefox on a Mac. Come on! You’re based in SF, not Redmond. 🙂

Ooops, look what happened when I tried to print my boarding pass. Repeatable.

PS: Virgin America is in the air today.

Today’s links 

Boston blogger dinner, Oct 18, 6PM.

Lance Knobel on the WSJ personal pages.

Declan McCullagh analyzes the RIAA victory in Minnesota.

Tim O’Reilly on the “Web 3.0 Nonsense Blogstorm.”

Jackie Danicki’s RSS sofa bed! 

You can congratulate her on Flickr or Twitter.

Living room 

Cloud & tree 

Bill Clinton, First Lady? 

7 responses to this post.

  1. Enjoy your trip on Virgin! I want to fly on that airline badly. Instead, I almost always end up going Southwest out of Phoenix.


  2. Dave, You are absolutely correct in your economic analysis of the RIAA situation. Insurance should cost about what I pay for unlimited Zune tunes, $180 a year. That’s a lot less than $1000, but I have the burden of DRM to fight on a daily basis.


  3. Posted by Ben on October 5, 2007 at 1:28 pm


    kudos to you for thinking outside the box on music licensing but i’m trying to understand what you are basing yr thinking on.

    You want a 1/2 terabyte (512 gigabytes) of music for $100.

    Apple states that you can fit 40,000 songs on 160 gigabytes. Using that as a reference point means 512 gigabytes would hold 128,000 songs (512/160*40,000).

    125,000 for $100! What universe of fairness to the artist and recording label does that make sense? I know you added the disclaimer “I’m thinking, I’m thinking”, but man, that just does not seem fair in any world i can imagine.

    Even if the labels were to somehow “credit” a purchaser for having bought an LP. a cassette, and CD (credit for past purchase is how i chose to interpret your statement that you deserve a “better deal” for your previous purchase history), how it it reasonable to ask for 125,000 songs for $100?

    fwiw, i think consumers are already getting a better deal by being able to buy only the songs they want vs the whole album. Except for classical music and broadway recordings where i tend to want to buy the entire album anyway, buying select songs has resulted in my actually spending way more on the music industry than i would have ever spent if i had to buy at the album level.



  4. Ben, You miss the benefit of having access to 100,000 or 1,000,000 songs. I can wonder for all afternoon around the Zune Pass unlimited for $180 a year listening to whatever strikes my fancy. Just because Dave has 100,000 songs doesn’t mean he is going to listen to them. He would need a year of 7/24 listening to hear them all. Let him try; don’t tell him he can’t.


  5. Charlie, if I had a million songs, I’d listen to 100, probably, maybe as many as a 1000. The problem would then become figuring out what songs to listen to. Imagine the online systems that would be needed, and the demographic info they would churn out.

    Maybe they could charge me $100 for the disk and then $10 a month for recommendations.

    And don’t miss that I also asked if it made sense to have a negotiation.


  6. Posted by Ben on October 5, 2007 at 2:25 pm


    I’m not trying to tell Dave “he can’t.” I’m just trying to understand how artists and labels get compensated fairly in the scenario Dave described.

    I thought he was saying that he gets 100,000+ songs for $100. He didn’t say that he would pay anything on top of that as a continuing subscription. Am i right that with yr zune subscription, after 1 year, you lose access to any music you listened to and must pay another $180 to enjoy it all again for the next year? and the year after that? Dave’s example doesn’t say that. His says pay $100 once.

    Dave stated he’s willing to pay “a reasonable amount of money.” I guess I was asking does he really think paying $100 once for lifelong access to 100,000+ songs is reasonable?


  7. Posted by Will Cate on October 5, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    What Cary Sherman said on CNN would appear to conflict directly with what Jennifer Pariser, head of litigation for Sony BMG, actually testified during the trial: “When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.”

    What that says to me is the industry considers you a criminal for ripping _your_ cd to _your_ ipod. And that the member-companies within the RIAA can’t even agree on what constitutes fair use.


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