Among the many, many big problems of the current system is that as a musician you have to be member of Gramex in order to get any revenue out of the audio system tax (CDs, etc). You also have to accept the rules that Gramex has decided and practically hand over the rights to all your music to Gramex. Monopolies are not good and even if we keep the current system where the producer has a monopoly on the work that he has created, we should get rid of unnecessary monopolies such as Gramex.
--Mikko Särelä, 05-Jun-2006
I happened to blog about the same thing before TBP accident. http://blog.qkaasu.com/?p=755 (in Finnish)
I just want to point out that if 20 percent of people in Europe would pay 10 euros in a month to get unrestricted access to music, it would generate revenue up to 90 million euros for every month for copyright holders.
Mikko: I certainly see the point why people do not like it. I don't like it, either. However, I believe that the problem is that instead of being a money-collecting organization they have also assumed other duties, such as being the spokesperson on a lot of things. Now, if they would only collect money using RAND principles and would leave the policy issues to other organizations, I don't think anybody would mind their monopoly.
The situation is currently equivalent to the Tax Office deciding how much taxes are collected, how they are collected, and where they get to be used. The fact that someone has a monopoly on tax collection is not bad, mind you.
Jasmo: I corrected your entry; JSPWiki's automatic link detector seems to still have some issues... Anyway, the idea of a broadband tax is not new: in fact, in the UK, an ISP called PlayLouder is doing it already for their own customers.
I faced the dilemma Mikko's speaking of. I happened to sing in the background choir of a commercial record that was released last year, and Gramex sent me mail on how to join them and get my theoretical royalties. How can I get them without expressing implicit support for Gramex?
In Finland, there's no way.
Actually, I've heard that there is a way to get your money out of Gramex/Teosto which does not involve joining them. However, the road is arduous and complicated, and probably not worth the effort for small money. If I only could find the reference...
The trouble, of course, being that if you ever once join Gramex/Teosto, you will simply loose all control of your own work - no matter the purpose it is made for.
A few things come to mind:
Making simplifications with numbers is dangerous. A 5€/month tax could amount to double what Teosto currently collects from public performances. BUT, that 5€ would have to cover a lot more than what is collected by Teosto (for composers, lyricists, arrangers, and their publishing companies). It would need to cover Gramex (for musicians) as well. And whatabout audiovisual works? Or the copyrights of writers? Then there is also the question of whether to think of broadband as performance or mechanical reproduction.
The definition of Artist is not that simple. Many artists are not composers and hence don't get royalties from Teosto. So stripping the sales income from record labels, is effectively stripping the income from artists who get paid royalties by the record labels.
Everyone is free to either join Teosto and Gramex or administer their own rights. In practice though, that is an impossible task. So either you cry or you cry with the money, your call.
For clarity I'd still like to emphasize that when joining Teosto and Gramex you do give them SOME administration rights to all of your music. Not ALL rights. There is a difference.
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