Salil K. Mehra


A number of prominent American law professors have endorsed the notion of a tax on digital recording and music file-sharing-call it an "iPod tax"--with the proceeds to be paid into a general fund. A clearinghouse representing rights-holders would monitor which works were downloaded and how often and then divvy up the iPod tax revenues to the individual rights-holders. Japan has run a very similar system since the early days of digital recording in 1993. This Article focuses on how Japanese experts decided that regulatory failures merited killing an extension of their existing system, including a proposed iPod tax. In particular, the Article draws on the Japanese debate to propose a "friendly amendment" that would structure an American clearinghouse as a user-owned cooperative and thus reduce the chances of repeating Japan's mistakes.