More Canadian Universities Opt Out Of Access Copyright's Skyrocketing Tariffs

from the unfair-'deals'-are-paving-the-way-for-an-explosion-of-'fair-dealing& dept

Following up on the University of Calgary's decision to drop Access Copyright after 1,300% rate increase, Michael Geist has compiled a still-growing list of Canadian colleges who have decided to opt-out of Acess Copyright's increasingly expensive service.

As of July 29th, the list looks like this:

1. Columbia Bible College (BC)
2. Royal Roads University (BC)
3. Quest University (BC)
4. University of Calgary (AB)
5. Lethbridge College (AB)
6. University of Alberta (AB)
7. Mount Royal University (AB)
8. Portage College (AB)
9. Athabasca University (AB)
10. NorQuest College (AB)
11. University of Manitoba (MB)
12. University of Saskatchewan (SK)
13. University of Regina (SK)
14. University of Guelph (ON)
15. Queens University (ON)
16. University of Waterloo (ON)
17. University of Windsor (ON)
18. York University (ON)
19. Carleton University (ON)
20. Holland College (PEI)
21. University of PEI (PEI)
22. University of New Brunswick (NB)
23. Memorial University (NL)
24. Mount Saint Vincent University (NS)
25. Acadia University (NS)
26. Dalhousie University (NS)

As Geist points out, this is going to hit Access Copyright hard:

The current list includes 14 of the 25 biggest Canadian universities (as measured by the number of students).

Looks like Access Copyright is going to have to swiftly familiarize itself with an economic truism, one that most politicians seem unable to comprehend: If you tax something (and that's really what this is -- an arbitrary fee that enables Access Copyright to stay solvent enough to ask for more arbitrary fees), you get less of it.

This sort of misguided thinking rarely troubles businesses that provide products and services. These businesses are (usually) at the mercy of the customers who help determine, via "vote by wallet," what they can charge for their products. However, entities like royalty collection services and governments somehow still feel that they can increase their fees in order to increase their total income, despite repeated evidence to the contrary.

Ask New York City how that huge cigarette tax is working out for them. It's increased the per-pack fee so much that smokers are becoming amateur bootleggers. How about you, Chicago? Slapped a nickel-per-bottle tax on bottled water, did you? Enjoy watching all those extra nickels roll right out to the suburbs. How's that "tax the hell out of Amazon" plan coming along, various states? Null set?

Same thing here. By asking for more (much more), Access Copyright is pricing itself right out of the market. At this point its balance sheets are going to need a complete overhaul. This short-sighted plan most likely led to irrational exuberance at the AC offices, but once everyone sobers up (and that list of universities is pretty sobering), they're going to find that a 1,300% fee increase is going to do some particularly ugly things to the bottom line.

Even worse, this tariff is supposed to benefit the many writers, artists, etc. that Access Copyright represents. So, through no fault of their own, these "represented" artists are going to see diminishing returns on their investment in copyright. Whoever came up with the "skyrocketing tariff" plan needs to be removed from their position posthaste. (Unless Access Copyright is taking suggestions from mailroom clerks or that one guy at the end of the bar, in which case no further action is necessary. Or wise.) Sooner or later, the practice of increasing fees to offset dwindling revenue catches up with businesses like these and they end up fading away, trying desperately to multiply by zero.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    blaktron (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    As a U of A employee, I know that these vampires have tried to suck the blood out of us, effectively charging as if nothing we do is fair use just to prevent the occasional infringement lawsuit. Well, then they tried to raise the prices higher than a full time litigator, soooo sucks to be them, because law suits cost everyone and we are WAY bigger than they are.

     

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    •  
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      blaktron (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 3:25pm

      Re:

      *fair dealing, not fair use, which covers educational use pretty well.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 9:53am

      Re:

      You Go U of A! Corporations beware. Citizens around the world are learning how to use this information tech highway so you better be nice or someone will tell you where to sit.

       

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  •  
    icon
    Mike42 (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 3:34pm

    Cigarette Tax?

    Uh, yeah, I'm pretty sure the cigarette tax is supposed to discourage people from smoking to cut health care costs, rather than be a money maker in and of itself. I could be wrong, but that's how they explain it in Illinois...

     

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    •  
      identicon
      TDR, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 3:44pm

      Re: Cigarette Tax?

      Consider where that explanation came from for a minute. I don't think we need to ask DH what that means. ;)

       

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    •  
      icon
      :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 3:48pm

      Re: Cigarette Tax?

      It's never about health care--it's about finding that fine line between where the tax-payers say "damnit!" but pay anyway and where tax-payers say "f*ck it!" and just go get the illegal goods.

      Tax everything, tax everywhere, tax as much as anything can be taxed without inciting riots.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 12:36am

        Re: Re: Cigarette Tax?

        Tax everything except the very rich, you mean. You're clowning man. Tax riots? This is you Rand Paulian wet dream. If ultra rich mega corps like Amazon wouldn't run from their obligations, You wouldn't see so much scrounging for revenue at the local level.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Nicedoggy, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 2:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Cigarette Tax?

          The problem is that there are ultra-rich and giant companies even they have a limit to taxation and will go away somewhere else if things get silly.

          The real problem is a system that allows people to exclude the natural competition that would put those people in check and create more business.

           

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    •  
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      dog owner (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 4:43pm

      Re: Cigarette Tax?

      Didn't Germany do a study that it is cheaper to allow people to smoke then to take care of them into a healthy old age?

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Michael, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 5:28pm

        Re: Re: Cigarette Tax?

        Funny thing is, most of the crazy stuff they warn you about on the packs was never actually fully researched either... but then again people being as stupid as they generally are, who needs research when they have fear?

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Dave, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 12:32am

      Re: Cigarette Tax?

      That's exactly why they do it. Keep health care costs down. The revenue is negligible, though the cost savings are not. it serves a social purpose. If someone tells you it is to fill governments coffers because "oh they tax everything" they're just being knee jerk libertarians.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 3:52pm

    I don't see Harvard on the list, or Yale. Just a bunch of fourth-rate community colleges. Pssshhh-tah. Go-Go-Gadget copyright!

     

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    •  
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      Chosen Reject (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 3:56pm

      Re:

      Holy crap! When did Canada take New England from the US? Is that part of the debt deal? If so, has anyone called dibs on Delaware yet?

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 4:16pm

        Re: Re:

        Aww, I was hoping Google'd buy the US. Rename it "Googletopia", establish bandwidth as a legal right (a la Finland), make BitCoin the national currency, stuff like that.
        Well, maybe they can buy the parts that Canada doesn't pick up. Except for Texas; you know they'll declare independence.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          MrWilson, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 9:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Except for Texas; you know they'll declare independence."

          Also known as: doing the rest of the country a favor.

           

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        •  
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          The eejit (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 3:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Dude, we all know that's APPLE, who will market the iSpy, iTrade and iLegal branches of the iGov, and get the iDebt down to more iManagable levels!

          iDuh!

           

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    •  
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      Richard (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 4:06pm

      Re:

      I don't see Harvard on the list, or Yale. Just a bunch of fourth-rate community colleges. Pssshhh-tah. Go-Go-Gadget copyright!

      Thus proving conclusively your inability to READ THE ARTICLE BEFORE POSTING A COMMENT.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 4:13pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm almost certain this was sarcasm.

        Though, on a serious note, Canadian colleges aren't like US colleges. From what I've heard, American colleges are more like Highschool 2.0, whereas the Canadian ones are seen as stepping stones into a University, or as actual focused training for specific trades or practices.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Another AC, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 4:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yep. FOr the Yankees:

          Canadian University = U.S. College
          Canadian College = U.S. Community College

          U.S. University = ... I dunno, isn't a University just a bunch of Colleges down there? :)

           

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          •  
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            G Thompson (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 7:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I always saw it as this way, If an institution provides a doctorate program (PhD .. Piled Higher & Deeper) then it is classified as a Higher Education Institution or University (as it is in England, Canada, and Australia)

            If they only Provide Technical/Industry Certifications or Diploma Level Systems they are Tertiary Education Institutions or Colleges (TAFE in Australia)

            Though to me a Degree means Bachelors Degree, though in the USA a College Degree equates to a Diploma everywhere else in the world, unless it's a Bachelor's Degree.

            A Masters Degree seems to be the Same worldwide and can really only be done at a research based University, the same as PhD (either Professional Doctorate or Research Doctorate).

            If you're not confused, you haven't been paying attention ;)

             

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            Eileen (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 7:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Universities have graduate programs. Colleges offer undergraduate degrees.

             

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          •  
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            Eileen (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 7:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Universities have graduate programs. Colleges offer undergraduate degrees.

             

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    •  
      identicon
      EagerBeaver, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 4:11pm

      Re:

      @ Anonymous Coward

      This is a list of Canadian schools not American and just because you haven't heard of them doesn't mean they are third rate.

       

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      blaktron (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 4:13pm

      Re:

      There's more money on that list than left on your government's Visa.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 4:57pm

      Re:

      Yale? Harvard? Umm, what part of 'Canadian' did you not get?

       

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      Chris-Mouse (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 6:23pm

      Re:

      Next time read the article a bit. The story is about a Canadian copyright collective and Canadian universities. Last time I checked, both Yale and Harvard were located in the United States.

       

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    jakerome (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    How much is it really going to hurt?

    They increase their fees by a factor of 14. And they lose 60% of their customers. By my math, that means they'll now make:

    FY12 Revenue = FY11 Revenue x 14 x 0.4 = 5.6 x FY11 Revenue

    So that's nearly a 700% increase in revenue this year! The short term thinkers at Access Copyright will no doubt be high-fiving each other.

    Next year, though, when the other 40% ditch the program, they won't be feeling so SMRT.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 4:10pm

    Just a bunch of freetards. All of them

     

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    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 4:41pm

    Vaguely correct theme: mistaken examples.

    Yes, a 1,300 percent IS going to reduce purchases of almost anything. Too much at once. But doesn't invalidate that a 100 percent increase last year and another doubling this year WOULD have brought in more money. Why the huge jump would be interesting to know: perhaps think a captive market? If so, they'll come crawling back.

    Particularly mistaken is your jab at New York CITY, this from the link:
    "Sales of taxed cigarettes have plummeted 27 percent since July, when state lawmakers raised the excise tax to $4.35 a pack on top of the city's tax of $1.50, making the average price of Marlboros here $11.60, with some shops charging as much as $14."
    See how ACTUAL FIGURES invalidate your statement? State $4.35, city $1.50? And you claim it's a CITY problem? Wrong, wrong.-- And smokers are paying FOURTEEN BUCKS A PACK! It's a matter of product, not a general rule...

    From same paragraph, Chicago bottled water tax: you can't drive much out of your way and save $1.20 a case; perhaps 10 cases at a time would be worthwhile, BUT this appears to be FIRST time to get ANY figures, so just because they don't meet predictions, nothing is proved yet.

    Same with Amazon: you don't have actual figures, are just guessing so far.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Nicedoggy, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 5:34pm

      Re: Vaguely correct theme: mistaken examples.

      You do know that most bottled water is just filtered tap water don't you?

      People just need to buy a filter to have the same thing(probably better) is that so hard?

      About Amazon actually there are figures coming out of that deal 25.000 people who brought in 2 billion dollars to the state of California have been cut and many are moving out of the state to be able to continue to do business with Amazon, just so the state projected to gain $200 million dollars in taxes.

      Quote:
      "I always figured that in California, home to Silicon Valley and a million tech startups, they'd never pass a law like this," said Loper, 28, who's moving to Nevada, which has no online sales tax, to run his newest online venture, ShoeSniper.

      Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_18569763?source=rss

      Other sources:
      http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Amazon-cuts-off-California-apf-2712284678.html?x=0

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Nicedoggy, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 5:46pm

      Re: Vaguely correct theme: mistaken examples.

      Quote:
      In one case, a brand of bottled water, advertised as “pure, glacier water,” was found to be taken from a municipal water supply while another brand, flaunted as “spring water,” was pumped from a water source next to a hazardous waste dumping site. While “purified tap water” is arguably safer and purer than untreated tap water (depending upon the purification methods), a consumer should expect to receive something more than reconstituted tap water for the exceptional prices of bottled water.

      Source: http://www.allaboutwater.org/tap-water.html

      Quote:
      Pepsi's Aquafina and Coca-Cola Co's Dasani are both made from purified water sourced from public reservoirs, as opposed to Danone's Evian or Nestle's Poland Spring, so-called "spring waters," shipped from specific locations the companies say have notably clean water.

      Source: http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/07/27/pepsico.aquafina.reut/

      Other sources:
      http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/qbw.asp
      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/0 2/0224_060224_bottled_water.html
      http://www.allaboutwater.org/tap-water.html

       

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      identicon
      Nicedoggy, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 6:12pm

      Re: Vaguely correct theme: mistaken examples.

      The exact same thing happens with copycrap, after a certain threshold if people find other means to acquire something they will do it and there is no law that will stop them from doing it until some legal alternative surfaces, if not they just stop using that crap.

      Quote:
      Among this group getting broadband but not multi-channel video, the reason for not subscribing to a multi-channel video service is generally not driven by online video. Just 5% of this group doesn't subscribe to a multi-channel video service because they can watch all that they want on the Internet or in other ways, and 2% specifically mention Netflix as a reason for not subscribing. In contrast, 28% cite cost, 26% say that they don't watch much TV, and 18% say that they have no need for a service.

      Source: http://www.leichtmanresearch.com/press/072511release.html

      Now is time for some collection societies to watch that happen to them as well apparently, they will leave a lot of money on the table for others to grab, legally or illegally people will find ways around that crap.

       

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      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 7:35pm

      Re: Vaguely correct theme: mistaken examples.

      Why the huge jump would be interesting to know: perhaps think a captive market? If so, they'll come crawling back.

      As you say, tossing the frog directly into boiling water usually is a problem. The dropoff would have happened more slowly if they'd slowly ramped it up. Why the huge jump? I think the phrase "captive audience" is the key. If they lose a ton of business by this steep escalation, I would imagine they'll be heading to their government representatives next to have the rules changed.


      RE: New York. I'm not claiming it's a city problem. That's where all the focus is because it's got a population of 8 million people, along with quick access to other states for cheaper smokes. Not only that, but the vendors getting hit hardest are the little bodegas where cigarette sales are a large part of their business. So, generally speaking, when people want to know how something is affecting New York state, they check with New York City.

      As for the bottled water: you'd be surprised how far people will drive to save money, even when they net a loss after gas is figured in. The point is: Chicago will not be collecting as much of the bottled water tax as it thought it would be. CIP (FTA): "Revenues from Chicago's new bottled water tax are trickling in -- at a rate nearly 40% below projections..." So, people are taking their business elsewhere, despite the ridiculousness of driving several miles to save $1.20.

      I don't have actual figures for Amazon. But since they've pulled their affiliate programs from the states and are waging legal battles over the right of these states to collect these taxes, I can pretty much guarantee that these states will see little to no increase in tax revenue from Amazon. (Unless some sort of legislation comes through forcing them to retain active businesses in states that just want their tax money or some other form of legislative thuggery.)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 6:03pm

    Quote:
    Perhaps worse than the diversion of money has been the crime associated with the city's illegal cigarette market. Smalltime crooks and organized crime have engaged in murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery to earn and protect their illicit profits. Such crime has exposed average citizens, such as truck drivers and retail store clerks, to violence.

    The failure of New York policymakers to consider the broader effects of high cigarette taxes has been a mistake repeated across the country in the stampede to maximize tax revenue from this demonized product. Too often, policymakers do not consider these effects in the erroneous belief that people do not respond to government-created economic incentives. The negative effects of high cigarette taxes in New York provide a cautionary tale that excessive tax rates have serious consequences—even for such a politically unpopular product as cigarettes.

    Source: http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-468es.html

    Also where did you read that anybody said that N.Y. Cityis responsible for the problem?

    They are suffering from it and they are the best well known and documented case of what happens when legislators from the city or state or both like in this case ignore reality.

    And it is not that they don't get the big picture, those dumb politicians get a thousand pages report every time they will do that describing all that can happen and they do it anyways, just to get slapped by reality.

    There is just so much that normal people will accept after a certain threshold they just say "f. it, who cares?!"

     

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    identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 8:06pm

    How about you, Chicago? Slapped a nickel-per-bottle tax on bottled water, did you? Enjoy watching all those extra nickels roll right out to the suburbs.

    Is it a tax, or a "deposit"? Here in CT, they added a $0.05 deposit to bottled water containers a year or two ago. You pay the extra five cents a bottle when you buy them, but you get it back if you return the bottles.

    Of course most people don't return them. They either throw them away, or toss them in the recycle bin, usually with anywhere from 25-75% of the water still in them. Seriously, is it some kind of a status thing to throw away bottles of water that are still half full? "I'm so rich, not only do I buy bottled water, I waste half of it!"

    People do it with soda bottles as well.

     

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      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 9:06pm

      Re:

      It looks like it's a tax. If it was a deposit, I don't think anyone would be voting with their wallet. After all, everybody usually intends on getting a deposit back, whether they follow through or not. This seems to be a one-way trip to the city of Chicago.

      I took full advantage of the 5-cent deposit (per can) while living in Portland, OR, as did several enterprising individuals with fewer employment prospects. When you dump in a couple of weeks' worth of soda cans and get $3-4 back, it seems worth it to make the trip to Recyclomotron or whatever it was.

       

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        identicon
        Rekrul, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:33am

        Re: Re:

        I took full advantage of the 5-cent deposit (per can) while living in Portland, OR, as did several enterprising individuals with fewer employment prospects. When you dump in a couple of weeks' worth of soda cans and get $3-4 back, it seems worth it to make the trip to Recyclomotron or whatever it was.

        I've been doing that, but I get a lot more than $3-4, more like $40-50. On Sunday night, I go out and raid all the recycling bins in the neighborhood for cans and bottles. It's too much of a pain taking them back to the store though, as you have to try and figure out who sells what brands and then deal with the machines that reject every can/bottle 2-3 times before it goes through. I usually just take everything to the local redemption center where a worker machine-guns them into big bins.

        Not to mention that I ended up with two perfectly fine re-usable canvas shopping bags and about 30 issues of Playboy. :)

         

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 8:30pm

     

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    identicon
    Dave, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 12:23am

    You don't get it

    Chicago didnt add a nickel to water because they thought they would get rich, they did it thinking people would buy less bottled water.

    Same goes for smoking, I guess unless you know someone in the cigarette mafia, they are prohibitively expensive. I quit when I moved here because of the price. True story.

    And I guess Amazon can try to run from taxes, but eventually they're going to end up in a less desireable place. Add to that it's fucking shameful to see them run from their obligations to their states.

    You, the author I mean, sounds like a twelve year old anti-tax teabagger. As if the point of all taxes is to raise revenue for the greedy government. So simple minded.

     

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      identicon
      Dave, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 12:26am

      Re: You don't get it

      Oh. I am all for governments telling a greedy little business to fuck off. I hope this company takes a big hit. I hope the same happens to Amazon. enjoy Biloxi, Bezos.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 2:16am

    If you tax something (and that's really what this is -- an arbitrary fee that enables Access Copyright to stay solvent enough to ask for more arbitrary fees), you get less of it.

    How does that work then? (assuming that you mean you get less tax revenue)

    No tax = £0 revenue
    Some tax = £x revenue, where x != 0, as some or most law abiding citizens will pay.

    It seems to me that some tax is better than no tax, from a revenue rasing point of view.

    If you mean an increase in tax, then you are in Laffer Curve territory and I mean this (http://gapersblock.com/mechanics/663px-Neo-Laffer-Curve.svg.png) not the nice inverted parabola, which is totally unrealistic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 6:12am

    Copyright. Trademark. Patent. Simply a License to Litigate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Tim, your posts are always are such over hyped crap, it's almost hard to read. Quote Geist doesn't make you appear any brighter either, considering his stands make most of the Tardian nation look sane. I don't care if he is a tenured professor, he's still out there.

    The rest of your "how's that working out for you" post indicates that you don't really understand the effects of taxation and tariffs to change the public's habits. When are you going to graduate, anyway?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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