People Aren't Buying Blank CDs Any More, So Collection Agency Demands Media Levy Expanded To Mobile Phones

from the well,-if-you-bet-on-obsolete-technologies dept

We've always found the concept of blank media "levies" to be strange. They're a kind of "you must be a criminal" tax, that aims to shoehorn in an unworkable business model in a way that highly distorts an actual market. But, of course, then people become reliant on that distorted market as well. So I find it somewhat amusing to see an article pointing out that content creators in Sweden are now "losing out" on revenue from blank CD levies, because people no longer buy blank CDs and DVDs (who needs 'em any more?). The article, of course, was pushed by the organization that collects and distributes the levy, Copyswede, as part of its effort to expand the levy to internet connections and hard drives and such:
We don't currently receive any revenue from hard drives or telephones despite legislation decreeing that fees should apply to any products that are particularly suitable for piracy. The pattern we think we're seeing is one of piracy moving to external hard drives and USB flash drives while telephones are being used for storage...
And what makes you think you should automatically get free money from people using these technologies when the content creators you represent fail to adjust or adapt at all? But rather than adapt, Copyswede is just taking the position that more technologies should be taxed and the market should be distorted further. The plan is to tax mobile phones 100 kronor (about $14), because having the government step in and force people to give you money is, you know, a lot easier than actually having to work for a living.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:13am

    Moment in time

    As I have said before, levy systems tend to capture a moment in time and fail in the long term because they ignore future changes. In the end, a significant part of the money collected goes into lobbying and trying to preserve the levy system itself.

     

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  2.  
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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:21am

    So much data, too little space

    I used to make backup copies of my CDs which I would use while traveling, etc. Now, I make copies as disc images which I store on my network storage array and rip mp3 copies which I use for mobile purposes (car, phone, etc). I am purchasing a fraction of the numbers of CDs now that I did just a couple of years ago in preference to 2-4GB micro SD cards which I use for mobile storage.

    Personally, I think a "media tax" is bogus, as is all DRM and restrictions on copying of music/video content legally purchased for personal use. That is why I don't own a Blu-ray device. It is time the content/labels started getting a clue, and stopped treating their customers like criminals...

     

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  3.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:24am

    "And what makes you think you should automatically get free money from people..."

    That is shocking. But what would be really shocking would be a copyright monopolist who stated that it was going to earn a profit based upon hard work, giving real value to customers, and contributing to society.

     

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  4.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:28am

    Re:

    "a copyright monopolist who stated that it was going to earn a profit based upon hard work, giving real value to customers, and contributing to society."

    Yeah nice fantasy ... now slowly put down the pipe and tell me what you are smoking ... ;)

     

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  5.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:29am

    To re-iterate...

    what has been said before..

    The collection agencies are also garnering no revenue from the air "pirates" are using to commit infringement.

    DH - I'm looking at your "Perriair" project and thinking of the artists.

     

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  6.  
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    Bitty, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Media tax?

    If there is a levy on blank media (due to them assuming we're dirty, filthy pirates), why does it not give us the right to put music/movies on it no matter where it came from? In other words, we should be able to burn a movie that we downloaded or otherwise copied onto that blank media, whether or not we've purchased a copy of that movie in the first place. You can't have it both ways. Either charge the levy that gives us those rights or don't charge at all.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:37am

    So when will the demand levies for trucks that may be carrying pirated cd's?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:40am

    At least there should be a fair amount of lobbying power against this proposed legislation.

     

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  9.  
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    Citizen, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:40am

    Crack!! Mike hits another one out of the park!

    Spot on! Love your commentary and poignant remarks, Mike. You speak truth. Keep it up! Love your site

     

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  10.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:50am

    Re: To re-iterate...

    "DH - I'm looking at your "Perriair" project and thinking of the artists."

    That wasn't mine, that was President Scroobed. While he was coming up with that scheme, I was playing with my dolls (also copyrighted)....

     

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  11.  
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    John Doe, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:56am

    Please, please, please do that in the US

    I wish one of these IP taxes would hit the US, say on broadband connections. I don't currently pirate anything, not music, movies, software, books, etc. But if I get a license/tax added to my cellphone or broadband connection, then I will have a license to "steal"! (insert evil laugh here).

    Seriously, charge me for something I don't do and I will become the worlds largest pirate in the world (to misquote the Nationwide insurance commercials.) So please, tack on a buck somewhere so I can get all the free content I could ever dream of.

     

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  12.  
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    Donald Jessop, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:00am

    What about Photocopiers?

    I was under the impression that all of the latest photocopiers/scanners had hard drives built into them. I wonder what the fee will be for those? USB Keys? The SD Card for my camera? My PS3/Xbox360/Wii? I have a 30GB hard drive built into the stereo of my new minivan (sorry, family man).

    I think this collective is thinking too small. Maybe they should tax the human brain. After all, if we memorize the words aren't we storing it in another form?

     

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  13.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:16am

    actually this is partly wrong

    they aren't buying cdrs because they are more expensive then dvdrs which hold 7 times the space
    aka i can buy dvdrs at 50% the cost of cdrs
    WHICH btw do not have the Canadian levy.

    and do not laugh the canadian example ahs been a SCAM the CRIA that collects it is stealing that money and hasnt been paying anyone up here since the late 80's

    THEY HAVE BEN USING THIS CASH TO PAY FOR YOUR LAWSUITS IN THE USA. They should get this collecting taken away form them and it is in fact part of a 6 billion dollar lawsuit.

     

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  14.  
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    Tor (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:18am

    Re: Media tax?

    Well, officially the levy is intended only to compensate for the exemption in the Swedish copyright law that makes it legal to make a limited number of copies of a copyrighted work for private use (including giving it to a close friend). A bit ammusingly it's also intended to compensate for your right to make copies that will only be used by yourself (eg. making a copy of a CD for use in the car in order to not risc scratching the original).

    Anyway, whatever perspective one applies the fact still remains that the precision in terms of both input (what media to which it should apply) and output (who should receive the money?) is terribly bad. To me it would have made more sense if the politicians would have taken this money from the overall pool of tax money and call it a subsidy to the cultural sector with governmental control over the distribution. That's very close to what we have now anyway.

    Btw. there was a funny ironic blog post commenting the story (run through Google Translate - "krukavgiften" means "pot levy")

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:20am

    I use my cell phone mostly as a storage devices for piracy, anyway...

     

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  16.  
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    kyle clements (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:20am

    idea

    I'm not entirely against levies.

    If they want to eliminate the social incentive to purchase media legitimately to avoid the feeling of guilt for ripping off an artist, that's fine with me.

    When I know the artist already got paid because I bought a piece of levied blank media, that only motivates me to download more to make sure that I get my money's worth out of it. They assume I'm guilty, so I'm going to do it. And there will be no guilty feelings.

    The moral argument that, "artists should get paid for their work" is dead because of levies. Artists are getting paid.

    Has anyone thought about an optional levy on ISP's?
    Why not introduce something like an optional $5/month levied service that protects your privacy absolutely (no records are kept), and protects you from any potential infringement lawsuits? Are their major flaws with that idea?

     

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  17.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re:

    She's smoking that Samuel Clemens brand pipe tobacco. :P

     

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  18.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:30am

    Re:

    Actually its probably against EU law anyway so it will be struck down as soon as someone challenges it or what ever they do in the EU.

    Another link - COPYRIGHT : ADVOCATE-GENERAL LIMITS APPLICATION OF PRIVATE COPYING LEVY

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Seriously

    Their name is Copyswede? That's just horrible...

     

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  20.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:34am

    Re: idea

    "The moral argument that, "artists should get paid for their work" is dead because of levies. Artists are getting paid."

    Actually its the collection societies that are getting paid. They use creative accounting to move the profits to lobby for ever increasing levies. But I do get where you are coming from

     

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  21.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Re: idea

    Has anyone thought about an optional levy on ISP's?
    Yes, music and newspaper beggars have been asking for this type of thing

    I kind of like the privacy insurance concept, but then again, not so much. It's almost like having to pay an honesty fee for those who are not mass-infringers. On the flip side signing up for the service could be a flag for industry snoops to do deep inspection on the periphery of the ISP's network.

     

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  22.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: idea

    Sorry bad link. Techdirt did a writeup on Bono having a hard on for this concept.

     

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  23.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nice lead up to ...

    Do we believe the rumors of the death of the recording industry were greatly exaggerated?

     

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  24.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:50am

    Cars are next...

    My Roommate has a Charger with an internal HD to save music to. You copy it right off any MP3 player or CD. So now..cars will have a "pirate tax".


    I am gonna go copywrite that idea so I can make money off the big media people...

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:55am

    Houses?

    How about a levy on houses? In addition to living space, people can use them for "storage".

     

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  26.  
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    DSchmeling (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 11:29am

    Re: idea

    Actually I think the ISP levy has been brought up before by a few groups. I think provided they didn't throttle my traffic based on my willingness to pay for it, and provided that my speed stayed the same I'd seriously consider an $X/month plan on top of my current plan. Within reason of course.

     

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  27.  
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    TAMbot, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 11:34am

    I for one completely agree with this tax. How else are these starving artists supposed to get paid from the pirates who enjoy their music aside from our successful lawsuits. With the activist judges who are lowering our payouts, the courts have failed us miserably. It is time we used our government as a tool for us, the private music industry, for once.
    Any media that our devices are used on should be taxed the price of at least 2 full dvds and 3 cds a month as this would be the fairest way to ensure that the artists represented by the RIAA and the ASCAP are compensated. Since they have the artist's interests at heart they are logically the best ones for the job.
    Kudos on this Copyswede adn may it be only the first step towards justice!

     

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  28.  
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    tom, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    No one is buying blank cds...

    because ipods and phones, and notebooks and mp3 players don't have cd drives. This, i can't help thinking, could perhaps be a rather big reason why physical media sales are falling - nothing to do with pirates.

     

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  29.  
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    ChronoFish (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Why wait for a purchase - just add to income tax

    Let's assume for a moment that the average taxpayer will use technology at some level. Let's assume that the same person enjoys 12 movies and 6 new CD's a year. This average increase as expendable income increases. It also increase as the number of teens and early post-teens live in the household.

    Clearly enjoying entertainment and using technology is a dangerous mix. Those who know how to copy music and movies will do it at some point.

    Obviously, through no fault of their own, the music industry is in serious trouble. The solution is obvious - we need global levies that are technology agnostic (because it's always changing), and tied to household income.

    Tax returns should include lines that calculate the household entertainment multiplier based on a minimum of the the average number music albums/cds/songs and movies that are purchased + some provision for those who earn more than average.

    This money will be paid to the entertainment industry who will then decide how to distribute the money - most likely paying back substantial debt that was never recouped for up and coming bands and movies and TV shows who owe money on production costs.

    This measure clearly ensures that the artist get what they deserve, while also preserving America's lead in global entertainment.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    better levy CAT5 cable too

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 4:44pm

    I think they're forgetting a levy on human memory. People have been proven to not only store song information in their memories, but some specimens have also been known to sing to themselves. They should demand a levy to account for all the private performances these blasted humans might have given themselves.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 6:32pm

    Why should I have to pay for someones crimes, If I buy a hard drive to store my work/data base in, I shouldn't have to pay anything extra for music I don't like, movies I wont see, or anything else that doesn't interest me. I think those sue happy companies can take there marbles and stick them where the sun don't shine. If the artists don't want there talents seen/heard without getting millions of dollars, then stop making it, others will take your place, and be happy to do it for a fraction of the cost. Maybe we should have a blackout month, stop buying there products for a month. Only get stuff from the starving artists of the world.

     

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  33.  
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    abc gum, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 7:06pm

    Why are there no more scribes ?
    I'm sure the guilds did their best to slow the inevitable.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 7:39pm

    Re: idea

    Why not introduce something like an optional $5/month levied service that protects your privacy absolutely (no records are kept), and protects you from any potential infringement lawsuits? Are their major flaws with that idea?

    So you mean that for only $5/month I could become an untraceable super spammer? No records kept to trace me at all? No, no major flaws with that. Sounds great to me!

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 10:23pm

    why did they create burners then? why did they create various storage devices?, for us to not use?. I dont agree with levies. Its the system thats broke. they should change with the times. (ex) i choose to spend money where i know the artist will get it, (ex) i go to the stadium and watch a concert, buy a couple t-shirts also, spend lots..Is it wrong to dl his/her cd for that concert? The music industry is almost as greedy as my isp

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 3:20am

    Lets call these "levies" for what they are, theft. It shouldn't be called anything else, it's nothing short of legalized theft. It's taking money from the consumer and giving it to those who did nothing to earn it.

     

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  37.  
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    Paul Keating, Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 5:23am

    Media Tax?

    Not being familiar with the concept, does the purpose of the tax require that the original media copied for private use have been itself obtained legally?

    For example, if I buy a song and copy it on a CD and give it to a friend, may the friend also copy that song onto a CD?

    If the legal argument can be made that the tax in effect replaces any damage for infringement, then I may be all in favor of a tax on storage devices as it eliminates any personal liability for anyone not duplicating for mass marketing resale.

     

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  38.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 5:47am

    Re: Media Tax?

    $5/month for music
    $5/month for movies
    $5/month for software
    $5/month for e-books
    $5/month for news
    $5/month for TV
    $5/month for photos...

    Oh, you mean just on the media, like I pay now to burn linux distros and back-ups of my PC? No thanks!

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 6:50am

    "....while telephones are being used for storage..."

    WHAT A FAWKING MORON!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  40.  
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    Realist, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 11:35am

    K fine

    K thats fine. Apply a levy to my devices and storage media. But don't get upset when I download something.. Since in fact I'm already paying for it with your levy.

     

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  41.  
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    John Howard, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:17pm

    I'll pay it.

    I will happily pay an extra $14 for a cell phone or hard drive, but only on one condition. These people have to shut up about piracy and stop suing people.

     

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  42.  
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    tommyfun, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 5:37pm

    power

    Just put the levy on everyones electricity bill and be done with it!!!

     

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  43.  
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    Blank T Shirt, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 10:34am

    What?

    It is the 1st time I heard about it and I am totally against. I am agree with you when you said than it is to a company to adapt their products with the market and not to do anything and, when it's too late, try to get money by competitors.

     

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  44.  
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    frenkstayl (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 12:30pm

    Thanks For the blog

    I think If the legal argument can be made that the tax in effect replaces any damage for infringement, then I may be all in favor of a tax on storage devices as it eliminates any personal liability for anyone not duplicating for mass marketing resale.Buy Mobile Phones

     

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  45.  
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    frenkstayl (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Thanks

    i think this is a great idea.Buy Mobile Phones

     

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  46.  
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    Verbatim AZO, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Thanks for the tip-I'm loving that doing this allows me to distinguish my comments from my visitors' comments!

    Micro SD Cards

     

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  47.  
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    Kyle, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

    Now, I think I may have missed something. But if the company is losing money then it just seems that they are getting a little "butt-hurt". They are wanting the government to tax other companies producing more advanced technology than their own because they are not adapting their products. It seems like the childish stance of "If I can't have it then I don't want anyone else to have it." Except in this case, it's companies and involving money. Even with the tax in place, they wouldn't receive money from it and may even be worse off.

    And if they are frustrated about people downloading things it almost seems like they don't know the basic interface of the interet. Every page brought up downloads the banners, pictures, colors, movement, etc. It is inevitable to stop downloading unless the internet was to be revamped. Which I would think would be so much harder than just getting over the fact people share media.

     

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  48.  
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    Josh, Dec 6th, 2011 @ 11:24pm

    This sounds silly, people are -always- going to lose money because of the fact that people share their media, just like Kyle said. So you tax my phone, does that mean I get to download whatever I want without anyone saying anything else? I sure hope so, seems like they are trying to almost punish the general public for something that the general public isn't doing as a whole. But hey, if it works, then like someone else up here said, don't get mad at me when I download my free downloads, since technically I'm paying for it now. It seems like this would be encouragement for more people to just go and download loads of shared media because now they have to pay for it, so to pay for downloading the media and not downloading the media, would not be logical.

     

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


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