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Isle of Man wants to legalize piracy…for a fee

January 27th, 2009 at 7:58 PM

The Isle of Man, a small self-governing subsidiary of the United Kingdom with perhaps the coolest flag ever (see above), is proposing a new law that would allow its residents immunity from prosecution for illegal downloading of copyrighted material. Each citizen would be forced to pay a monthly 1 Pound (roughly $1.40) fee into a communal fund that would be redistributed to copyright holders by a centralized government office. Both publishers and labels would benefit, and the residents of the Isle could breathe more easily knowing that their Torrent habits won’t land them a stint in some horrifying Isle of Man jailhouse. The downside, of course, is that the amount of compensation on the copyright holder’s side would be pretty nominal, leading us to believe that it’s going to be a hard sell. Then again, the concept has been batted around since the formative days of Napster, so there must be some appeal to such a business model. It’s certainly innovative, and some cash is better than nothing, so it will be interesting to see if regulators and government officials manage to pull this one off.

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