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
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2008 @ 6:23pm

    Dumb analogies

    As the above poster said, this article is terribly written and contains bad analogies. How is Google News in any way illegal? They link directly to the sites of articles and contain no advertising on their own site. How is AAA any way related to Google Maps/Earth? Google bought the GIS companies that ran surveys and digitized features. Google did not take AAA maps and put them on the Internet. Do mechanics own the intellectual rights to knowing how to fix a car? Stop confusing a company outcompeting your product to the lose of revenue to piracy and illegal distribution of illegal property. The music tax is a really stupid idea especially since you would be charging every user for a crime they did not commit, but don't go around making a completely ridiculous argument.

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