Musicians want to add $5 a month to your Internet bill

My former colleague Vito Pilieci has a nice little scoop in today's Canwest papers: A musician's group will put forward an idea today that it hopes will solve the illegal music downloading debate: Make every Internet user in Canada pay $5 a month to a musician's fund and, in exchange, you can download all the music you want for free. Seriously.

The Songwriters Association of Canada will reveal a proposal Thursday that would see every Canadian's monthly Internet bill increase by $5 in exchange for the ability to download as many “illegal” music files as they choose.

The SAC says its proposal, which would require federal approval, would wipe out the need for music-selling Web sites such as and, making it legal for one person to share a music CD with as many people as he or she might wish.

“That's a very reasonable amount of money to legally, without fear of any legal repercussions, to be able to download that and share it with [whomever] you want to and as many times as you want,” said Eddie Schwartz, president of the songwriters' group. “On iTunes to download one album, it's $10. This is half of that and this is pretty reasonable to have access to the entire repertoire of Western music.”

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