Netherlands Considers Internet Tax To Fund Newspapers That Can't Compete

from the well-there's-a-bad-idea dept

A bunch of folks have been sending in various versions of this translated article from Holland, noting a proposal that’s been brought forth to tax internet connections in order to give the money to industries that are having trouble competing, such as newspapers. It’s not at all clear that this proposal has any chance of going anywhere, and there appears to be significant opposition — but it’s really amazing that anyone would think this is a good idea in the first place. Did people suggest an automobile tax to give to the horse carriage makers a century ago?

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Comments on “Netherlands Considers Internet Tax To Fund Newspapers That Can't Compete”

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Josh says:

Re: Check facts first

Has reading comprehension failed that miserably? At the end of the second sentence, Mike clearly states that there has been “significant opposition” towards the bill. Now, to be fair, he doesn’t say who the opposition is, but he does tell us that there has been some very real opposition to the bill.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Check facts first

Responsible minister already spoke against the plan. But checking facts is for newspaper I guess.

1. We’re not journalists, never claimed to be. The story was interesting in that it was even proposed, so I wrote about the proposal and made clear it was a proposal.

2. I said there was significant opposition and it was unclear if the proposal had any chance of getting anywhere.

3. When I post stuff like this it’s because I expect folks in the comments to add to it with more details, which you did. Doing so obnoxiously with insults is kinda pointless, isn’t it? Why not just expand on it and tell us what happened?

Anonymous Coward says:

This is another one of Mike’s “link to it in the future” posts. He will use terms like “stupid taxes to support buggy whip newspapers failed” or “governments artificially try to save buggy whip makers”.

Accuracy isn’t important when you are trying to build a house of cards – just that the cards all look pretty.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re:

Instead of a ridiculous attack on Mike, why don’t you tell us what is wrong with what he said. This proposal is completely ridiculous. It is a business’s job to compete. They don’t get to start leeching taxpayer money because they can’t get a handle on new technology themselves.

That said, I would not be surprised if someone did suggest funding carriage makers. In fact, I would be more surprised if no one did. We are not talking about a passed law here, we are talking about a proposal. Ridiculous proposals come in from individual members of Congress all the time. They usually don’t go anywhere, and are thus forgotten within a few months. Such proposals could easily have existed back in the early 1900s, and we probably wouldn’t know about it without a TON of research. I don’t really think things have changed as much you think they have, Mike. Politicians have always feared progress and are generally much more comfortable with the status quo.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Instead of a ridiculous attack on Mike, why don’t you tell us what is wrong with what he said. This proposal is completely ridiculous. It is a business’s job to compete. They don’t get to start leeching taxpayer money because they can’t get a handle on new technology themselves.”

Quite simply because the plan was stopped long before it started.

If you took the time to read every private member’s style bill that came up in every parliament or house of representitives in the world, you would find plenty to be outraged about. Just because someone elected PROPOSES something doesn’t mean that it is the government’s intention or that it has a snowballs chance in hell to pass.

It does however make for a great headline and great future links for Mike.

Anonymous Coward says:

Freaking trolls everywhere. It hurts my god damn head. YES he didn’t check the damn facts! You know why? He’s not a freaking newspaper! This is a BLOG! We come here to see pretty much RAW thoughts skip off Mike Masnick’s head onto his typing machine!

No! Shut the hell up right now! Just cause this is a highly popular blog doesn’t mean he should be held up to higher standards than some emo kid in Wyoming talking about how he’s thinking of taking up smoking on his Blogger page!

I can’t even get all that mad about Mike’s obsession with buggy whips because you of jerks!

Mordreas (profile) says:

further reporting

here I found an article that looks at the bill, it is indeed true that both plasterk minister of media, and the two leading parties CDA and PVDA have expressed there resent for the proposal. also it makes the analogie if the bicilce companies would have trouble would they bar the car industrie to bail the out? and lastly it suggests that there are simply to good nieuws sites in the netherlands that the traditional papaers have fallenbehind because these sites are both proffesional and free.

the most troubeling in the articcle is that the proposal was done by a goverment allexted commision that seems to believe we have to show peopple that news is not free. and that we must show people that making news costs money totally rejecting the idea that alot of sites are making money putting the news outfor free.

the problem I have with this argument is that if it’s true then there should be no problem if it is really that expensive that you can’t do it without getting paid then they just have to wait till all those companies that give it away for free go out of buisness because how will they survuve if there model is flawed?

VMD says:

gov bailout of an industry.. sounds familiar.

Bailing out failing business models is never a good idea. It is a waste of tax money to support bad businesses even if doing so makes one look like one is doing his or hers job. It’s good that someone somewhere understands that and is fighting against that idea.

Interesting analogy: IMHO, US government bailing out US automobile industry was, likewise, a bad idea. The sheer volume of US economy is not a valid excuse. US national security is being jeopardized more now by stuffing all that money in the failing businesses. US economic stability would be better off if the start-ups that bank on green tech and renewable energy got the capital injection instead. The bailout expense has increasesd US national deficit and no one will ever see that money again except the families and friends of the top executives of the failed companies and the government officials that signed the bailout check. What message is US sending to other countries? I am not surprised that enterprising politicians and their friends in the newspapers are learning how to make money the easy way.

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