Pirate-friendly Island – Watch out Ibiza – Isle of Man to allow unlimited music downloads

The independent, self-governing and former Celtic-Norse island, tucked in between England and Ireland, was originally the Isle of Mann or Manx. Its own dialect of Irish and Scottish Gaelic, also known as Manx, is still being taught at schools.

Settled as far back as 10,000 BC, the island was often seen as a safe haven, but now it is famous as a tax haven with low personal taxation and zero corporate taxes. They also host 3 main music festivals and numerous other gigs and concerts.

Unlimited music downloads?

Now, in a radical approach to the internet, they plan to allow unlimited legal music downloads. Let me repeat that, unlimited legal music downloads. The island has 100% broadband coverage, so a small annual fee will cover a necessary music licence for the whole island, and all residents and visitors. From whatever source!

“At the end of the day, we’re not going to stop piracy,” said a spokesperson. But this plan effectively bypasses the piracy issue. “It legalises what’s already going on … what’s already going on in a big way.” In other words, if the music industry had embraced channels similar to Napster years ago, digital downloads would be very different today, and possibly all ‘paid for’ in one way or another.

The fee may be as low as one euro a month, and if a major network like Telefonica with 120 million users signed up, then music rights companies would get all they need. Go Isle of Manx!

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Digital Music Sales Milestones

1m _ July 2004
10m _ April 2005
50m _ May 2006
100m _ March 2007
150m _ November 2007