My proposal to deal with this problem would be a flat rate combined with an universal practice of making content available through author’s official website.
Each user would pay a flat rate (say 5 euros a month) on his internet bill that would serve as “content royalties payment”. That flat rate should be deduced on the ISPs huge profit margin, since they provide the means but they don’t really control content (neither they care at all). Probably a compromised solution would be achieved – the ISPs would not want to spoil their profit, so they would just raise your internet bill in a few euros.
The difference is that, with that “flat rate tax” universally applied the official content download would become legal.
Authors would then start providing their content (music, text, videos) for free download on their official websites. Probably p2p and piracy would never disappear, but would become residual.
If I can download my favorite album for free in the official site, in a reliable and safe way, and knowing that I’m then contributing to the author, why on earth should I need to use p2p sharing anymore?
That way we can also control the download statistics and see the official content downloaded. With legal download spread all around we could control and know what is really being seen and heard. And then distribute the “flat rate” income accordingly.
It would almost be like direct sale. But at a very low price and much more fair to anyone. This could not end up the problem, but at least be a nice way to reward people who are not getting rewarded for their hard work nowadays.
On the official websites, besides the flat rate, artists could still sell their vintage products, extras, concerts and other stuff to earn more profit. What they would have for granted now is that, all those people who are now peering and downloading their work for free, would be in the future contributing in some way.