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Predictions

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
canada, downloads, isp tax



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?

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  1. identicon
    krsd, 26 Feb 2008 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Dumb analogies pt. 2

    As I recall there is already a similar tax in the US for blank CD media. This being on the basis that people will use blank cd's to copy and pirate music. Myself I use blank CD's (or DVD's these days) for one of two things. To back up data, or to make copies of the CD's I have bought so that I won't scratch the originals or have them get melted in my car in the summer (which is common in AZ). Still regardless of what you use it for you pay the tax, and in most cases never know it.

    We have enough of these sorts of things, and need less.

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