If I were President-for-Life for a day, I would strongly consider the following decrees to solve the problem.
- Force all players in the entertainment/publishing/recording industries to use GAAP for all purposes, retroactively altering existing contracts that purport to define "net profit" in a manner that doesn't exist on the ground that the contracts are against public policy, actively deceptive, and violate the Internal Revenue Code.
- Exclude inventories of fixations of intellectual property from accounting methods forced by Thor Power Tools as an exception to the previous item.
- On antitrust grounds, eliminate the present system of book returns.
- Subject all businesses whose activities directly involve First Amendment concerns to extremely strict scrutiny under antitrust and unfair competition law.
- Allow freelance creators of intellectual property to collectively bargain. Under the law as it stands, only employees can collectively bargain; and freelance writers, artists, musicians, etc. are not employees, but instead are employers. Thus, collective action by a group of songwriters violate US antitrust law, while mergers in the music industry do not (at least according to the DoJ and FTC)!
- Eliminate the work-for-hire doctrine for nonemployeesand require full payment of benefits accorded to executive-level employees to satisfy the "employee" requirement
- Exclude educational institutions and their affiliates from the definition of "employer" for copyright purposes. Yes, Harvard University Press and Harvard Law Review, this means you.
- Shorten the revocation/termination trigger periods in §§ 203 and 304(c) of the Copyright Act from 35 and 50 years to 20 years and a five-year window beginning on 01 January 2006 respectively.
IMNSHO, these measures, either singly or in combination, would go a long way toward reducing or eliminating the problems that peer-to-peer file sharing and other piracy creates for everyone. It's not just the copyright holders who get hurt by piracy; one component of the per-copy cost of entertainment is the publisher/distributor's perception of how much more it needs to charge to cover the costs of counterfeits and other pirate copies.