Recording Industry Proposes Flat Fee for Music Downloads

Colleges would collect a fee, allowing students to download music without fear of litigation.

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Several companies in the recording industry are in talks with universities and colleges to integrate a flat fee into tuition that would give students legal access to all music on the Internet, Wired reports. Under the plan, which is still in the early stages, all students at a university would pay a small fee—around $5 a month—and in return would then be able to download music at the university without fear of litigation from the recording industry. Students could download using whatever program or software they already use, such as Limewire or BitTorrent.

The nonprofit that would collect and disburse the money to record labels and music copyright holders will be called Choruss; three of the four major labels have already signed on to this experiment in "voluntary blanket licensing."

The proposal is being shopped around to universities like Columbia, Cornell, MIT, Penn State, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Colorado, University of Michigan, University of Washington, and University of Virginia.