More Details On Isle of Man's Music Tax Idea: One Euro Per Year
from the better-and-better dept
We wrote earlier about comments made by a politician from the small island of the Isle of Man, suggesting that the government there implement a music tax on its broadband subscribers. The Register’s done some more digging, and spoken to the island’s e-commerce minister, who suggests the implementation of a one euro per year music tax (thanks to TD reader Ben Robinson for pointing it out in the comments), with an opt-out available to those who don’t want to pay. While that sounds great for consumers, it’s almost a laughable amount. As another commenter on our earlier post pointed out, one euro per year probably won’t even cover the cost of the bureaucracy to collect and redistribute the tax. The minister told El Reg, “If you take a Euro a year from millions, then that’s a lot of revenue.” Perhaps, but it pales in comparison to the billions the music industry currently earns. For instance, the UK has some 16.5 million broadband subscriptions — charging each one of them a pound or euro per year would pale in comparison to the one billion pounds the record industry in that country currently generates. Also, while it’s nice that the minister recognizes that people shouldn’t be forced to pay the tax if they don’t want to, why must it be an opt-out system, rather than an opt-in one?
Let’s take that a step further: why should the government get involved at all? If the record labels are interested in developing some sort of blanket licensing system, let them do it, and figure out how to collect and redistribute the fees. Of course, they’ve shown little interest in voluntary systems, preferring to go directly to ISPs or to universities. Currently governments, ISPs and universities don’t force people to buy CDs; they shouldn’t start forcing them to pay for music downloads either.