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
    Mike (profile), 29 Mar 2008 @ 10:34am

    Re: I am the guy you quoted above (96%...)... more

    1) It is bizarre to call it PUNISHMENT when this idea will actually allow people to get 'feels-like-free music' because the ISPs, telcos, operators, search engines or social networks can actually be licensed to provide it.

    Forcing people to pay at least $5/month when there are plenty of business models to support real-free, not "feels-like-free" seems like punishment to me.

    You may not see this quite yet but I think the flat rate will roll out in 2 stages: a) users (or their ISPs) can pay the $5 per month to get the all-you-can-eat unprotected music service b) the networks i.e. music service providers will bundle the charge and develop smart and unobtrusive 'advertising2.0' models around the music to make it de-facto free for the users.

    You forgot stage c) the movie industry wants it cut, and so another $5 gets add. and stage d) the newspaper industry wants its cut so another $5 gets added and stage e) the knitting industry (knitting patterns are traded freely online) so another $5 gets added. and stage f) auto mechanics wants its cut (they're complaining about diy auto repair info) so another $5 gets added...

    You also totally leave out the mess that this causes in terms of figuring out who gets paid.

    This is a model to prop up a dead and dying set of businesses, let's be frank.

    If that reminds you of radio I wouldn't be surprised

    Are you seriously suggesting that radio is the model we should emulate here?


    b) research has shown that almost 100% of active internet users in western countries are indeed using their net connections to listen to or download music that is not deemed 'licensed' (as currently defined) - because these licenses don't exist (see: widgets, on-demand streams, sharing applications etc etc)


    Again, I'm curious as to how having 100% of the population (and I note, no citation) doing something that you consider to be illegal doesn't mean that maybe the law is wrong, not the people?


    Finally, Mike, I do wish you would get off this TAX thing - it's just a cheap label to use when you don't have time for proper research and real journalism.


    If you could explain why it's not a tax, I'd appreciate it. Because no matter how I look at it, it acts very much like a tax.

    Again, there are perfectly good business models that don't require compulsory licenses. Why muck up the entire system and create a huge bureaucratic nightmare?

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