Blanket licenses for file sharing networks?

The Record Industry Association of Korea appear to have set a controversial precedent by effectively issuing a blanket license to illegal file sharing networks. The RIAK are reported to have set fees for file sharing networks that are payable for distribution of copyright infringed works. What makes this action appear to be a licensing agreement rather than a punitive fine is that the fee appears to be directly linked to the number of tracks distributed and are to be implemented on an ongoing basis.

Details are sketchy at the moment and I am awaiting clarification from RIAK. However, if the reports are accurate then this is a massive departure from approaches by other music industry bodies such as the RIAA, BPI and IFPI. If (and I will keep using the word ‘if’ until I have official confirmation) this is indeed a licensing agreement then it will provide endless ammunition for the likes of Kazaa and Grockster in forthcoming legal proceedings. This sort of action is effectively waving the white flag at online piracy and sticking a big finger up at legitimate music companies who are struggling (and often failing) to secure licenses from the major labels.

Watch this space….

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