Shortly after music swapping service Napster said it would voluntarily block thousands of songs from its service, a 21-year-old Canadian said he plans to set up a Napster clone off the coast of England.
Matt Goyer wrote on his Fairtunes.com website that his facility allows music fans to voluntarily send money, compensate or tip any artist for their work.
"We did some research into offshore co-location and we're looking at $15,000 for the first year to set up an OpenNap server beyond the reach of the RIAA [Recording Industry Association of America]. If 1500 people chip in $10 a year, then it would be completely possible to do it," Goyer wrote.
"1500 irate Napster users? We're sure we could find that many once the courts shut [the service] down early next week," he added.
Fans can visit the site and make secure voluntary contributions with their credit cards to any artist in the name of a particular song or album they have downloaded. The company will then make contact with the recipient, pass the money on and report back to the contributor.
In contrast to file sharing companies like Napster and Scour, Fairtunes is not involved in the actual distribution of digital music. It allows anyone with a credit card to securely send funds directly to any artist.
It has been reported that Goyer is looking to set up his music-sharing service in Sealand, about six miles off the eastern shore of England, which has become a popular location for online businesses.
Fairtunes is headquartered in Winnipeg, Canada, and was founded by University of Waterloo maths students Goyer and John Cormie in July 2000.
"In the same way that MP3 file sharing itself wasn't really big until Napster released software that made it easy, Fairtunes will bring the process of voluntarily paying the artist for these files into the mainstream by making it equally convenient," said Goyer.
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