Two European islands are taking opposite approaches to music piracy, the results of which could influence internet policy worldwide. The Isle of Man, between England and Ireland, will charge a $1.45 weekly tax on behalf of record labels to let citizens download music without penalty. Meanwhile, Ireland’s main internet provider will start disconnecting outlaw downloaders, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
The Isle of Man’s economic independence makes it ideal for the radical experiment. “The music won’t be free, but it will feel like free,” says proponent Gerd Leonhard. A similar idea failed in France, which now prefers Ireland’s strong-arm approach. But skeptics say attempts to stop free downloads are futile. And, Leonhard reminds, “The tactic of criminalizing users hasn’t produced any money.”