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Choruss: A New Business Model for Digital Music

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Per-copy charges for music and other intellectual property made sense when copies were physical objects, but that business model is ill-suited to the digital world. The mismatch has led to thousands of lawsuits against students and other consumers, tens of thousands of infringement notices sent to campuses and commercial ISPs, and millions of wasted person-hours dealing with these issues. Recently an alternate approach has been gaining momentum: voluntary collective licensing. In this model, endorsed by organizations as diverse as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Warner Music Group, a flat monthly fee is collected covering all music access by a group of participants, generally the subscribers of a particular network. The money is then distributed to copyright holders based on the relative frequency of access of each individual work. In today’s presentation, we’ll hear from the president of Choruss, one of the organizations promoting blanket licensing. He’ll describe the advantages of this model and his plans for a series of campus-based pilot projects starting this fall.

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