Creating a Merit-Based Music Economy: Compulsory or Blanket Licensing for Interactive Subscription Services
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2003 Update, Distributed Systems:

As of 2003 it now appears that distributed systems using peer-to-peer architecture might be capable of providing a personalized radio-listening service similar to that described as a centralized service in this paper. Such a system has not yet been demonstrated in a working form, but in theory it might happen. If so, it could provide an alternative architecture for mass-customized music exposure that is effective in breaking down the Power Pillar of exposure.

At the same time, there is talk of blanket-licensing music (and other forms of copyrighted content) at the level of network service providers rather than content service providers. That is, instead of subscribing explicitly to a music service, everyone's subscription to Internet access itself might be surcharged, and those fees distributed to musicians according to some measurement of traffic moving across the network.

In such a situation, it would be very important to ensure that the measurement system is equitable and fairly operated, providing a fair share of revenue that accurately matches real traffic, and allowing any artists to plug into the payment system independently. Given that possibility, the Power Pillar of revenue would be broken down as well.

So, if both of these possibilities actually come to pass, both Power Pillars would be broken down.

As of mid-2003, it is difficult to predict what if any blanket licensing might occur, and whether it will be voluntary or compulsory. However it is encouraging to think that there are at least two architectures (centralized and distributed) and two legal strategies (compulsory and voluntary) that might eventually work.

In all cases, however, there will still be the need for an artists' collective group to participate in setting terms of licenses and how the systems actually work (and in the case of voluntary blanket licenses, to actually license, collect and distribute the money).

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