Why A Music Download Tax Is A Bad Idea

from the unintended-consequences dept

In the last few weeks, a lot of folks have been submitting the story about the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) proposing a $5/month "tax" on ISP connections, which could then be used to reimburse songwriters and musicians for downloading. I've resisted writing about it, because it's been discussed at length in the past when it's been suggested. The one difference here is that a group of musicians is actually supporting it. However, Michael Geist does an excellent job explaining why it's not a very good idea. Beyond pissing off those who don't feel they should subsidize the rest of the industry, it's not at all clear it's necessary. There are plenty of other business models that the music industry can use to support musicians and songwriters that don't require a special tax. However, the biggest reason, as Geist points out, is the second you do this, plenty of other industries will come out of the woodwork demanding a special fee get applied to internet connections as well. Newspapers that think Google and Craigslist are "stealing" from them will demand a special "news tax." And then think of all those other industries who claim they're being impacted by the internet. You'll have a special auto-mechanic's tax, to pay for mechanics who are upset about the DIY info found online. The "knitting tax" for all the free knitting patterns online. I understand that AAA may be upset about Google maps. Travel agents want that "travel tax" to pay for all that business that Expedia has cost them. Where does it stop?

Filed Under: canada, downloads, isp tax


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  1. identicon
    Rose M. Welch, 26 Feb 2008 @ 2:21pm

    I propose a tax...

    ...on all jewelry sales everywhere because sometimes jewelry is stolen, sold to jewelers, and resold to the public, and that hurts the victims of the thefts.

    Not.

    There are very clear laws that concern theft. It starts with the victim filing a civil suit against the thief, and is handled in that court thereafter. I am so, so tired of these music companies trying to buck the system and make the public pay for thier legal fees in the way of taxes and shitty guidelines and so on.

    I buy all kinds of music on-line at Amazon.com, because it's sheap, it's easy, and it's DRM-free. However, I find myself unable to buy all the music I want because lots of companies won't sell it without that shitful DRM. So in those cases I buy or borrow a used CD, which nets the company zero in revenue, and I make copies until my hearts content.

    It's a lose-lose situation for those companies, esp. those who are trying to create laws that force the public to stick with thier outdated business models, when the public is very obviously past that.

    Amazon.com got over one hundred bucks from e last month... But I havn't purchased a new CD in years, and I will never step foot in an over-priced CD store again in this lifetime. How about y'all?

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