Warner Music Latest To Jump On The Music Tax Bandwagon

from the please,-gov't,-save-our-business-model! dept

Remember earlier this month how there was a story about a guy going around pitching a required tax on ISPs for music sharing as a good idea? Well the main guy who was pushing that proposal has now been hired by Warner Brothers to make it a reality. While the idea is gaining some momentum, it doesn't change the extremely questionable nature of this proposal. It's a proposal based on the laziness of industry execs, who want others to go out and collect money for them, which they'll then get to "distribute" (by which we mean not actually distribute) to musicians.

The fact is that there is simply no reason for this proposal to go ahead. It treats everyone as a criminal first. In the article, one supporter of the plan even admits this:
"At this point, 96 percent of the population is guilty of some sort of infringement, whether they're streaming or downloading or sharing. What we have here is the widespread use of technology that declares all of the population to be illegal."
While that 96% number is made up and pure bunk, it's a bizarre world in which someone claims that nearly everyone is breaking the law and therefore we should punish everyone, rather than get rid of the law. Considering that more and more musicians are showing that there are perfectly good business models that don't require treating everyone as a criminal, can someone explain why this "music tax" should be put in place? And can they then explain what will happen when every other industry wants its own "you're a criminal" tax included on internet connectivity?

Filed Under: copyright, jim griffin, music, subscriptions
Companies: warner music group

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  1. icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), 29 Mar 2008 @ 6:12am

    If it even quacks like a tax, it is a tax!

    Calling it voluntary when it is compulsory, doesn't magically stop it being compulsory.

    Calling it a license when it is an unavoidable tax, doesn't magically stop it being a tax.

    If you have an Internet connection and the ISP provides an OPTIONAL $5 licence to permit unlimited copying/mixing of music among licence holders, then this is a license. If it isn't optional, if it's compulsory, no matter whether you want to copy/mix music or not, then it's a tax.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayLouder is an example of an ISP that effectively gives its users the option of voluntarily paying a license fee. If this voluntary collective licensing idea is so attractive then more ISPs will become like PlayLouder, but punters will retain the choice between a licensed ISP or an unlicensed ISP. When you make it compulsory for ISPs to be like PlayLouder and thus make it compulsory for their users to bear the costs of the license fee, then it's a tax.

    If a tax is such a great idea then call it a tax, but let's not use weasel words and call it a voluntary license when it's nothing of the sort.

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