Copyright

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
belgium, internet access, piracy tax

Companies:
sabam



Court Rejects Argument That The Music Industry Deserves 'Pirate Tax' On Every Internet Connection

from the not-how-it-works dept

The legacy recording industry continues to seek any possible way to force people to pay, now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money to the old gatekeepers. After years of seeking increasing "you must be a criminal" levies on hard drives, blank CDs and other media, there has been a more recent focus on just trying to get broadband access providers to add a "piracy tax" to all internet connections. Over in Belgium, the collection society SABAM has been leading this charge. Back in 2011, it suddenly started demanding 3.4% of all internet connection fees from ISPs in Belgium. When the broadband providers refused to just pay up, SABAM sued in 2013. And it's not going particularly well. The court has now rejected SABAM's claims, noting (correctly) that internet access providers are mere conduits and shouldn't have to pay for the actions of their users.

This is the right decision, though there's a decent chance that SABAM will appeal. Either way, this shows the incredible entitlement felt by some in the industry. They feel that if people no longer want to pay them, that everyone should be forced to pay. That's really quite incredible when you think about it. In most businesses, if customers are no longer interested in buying what you're selling at the price you're offering, you have to learn to adapt. But the legacy recording industry still seems to think the problem is with the public, rather than with its own business model.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:50am

    This is particularly hypocritical if you consider the shills keep talking about how pirates seem to be entitled to everything for free....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:40am

      Re:

      speaking of shills, is Dave, Bob, and asshole lobbyist from DC still around? I've noticed their coordinated effort to label people 'freetards' failed after the fall of the PIPA and its spawns, and now they've switched tactics.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      pixelpusher220 (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:00am

      Re:

      Just reword the 'tax' legislation to make it a 'license' instead. i.e., Piracy no longer exists because everybody has now licensed every song they download...for one flat fee :)

      Sit back and watch the RIAA freak out.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:38am

        Re: Re:

        I would be all for that if I knew the money was going to the artists. I mean, a small tax so everybody can share for free while giving some juice to the artists. But we know the money doesn't go to the artists and when some miserable penny does reach them it's only for the big stars.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Anonymous Howard (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 4:03am

          Re: Re: Re:

          These "we collect from everyone, and somehow will magically know how to divvy the money fairly" kind of collection societies fail miserably for a good reason. Namely: no accountability, no incentive to be fair, no reason not to be corrupt as hell, no sense of fairness and justice.

          I'd happily pay a tax for media if there were a workable solution, but there is not, and I doubt ever will be.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Reality bites, 18 Mar 2015 @ 5:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: They will give the exec's huge bonus's as usual

            The artists will get nothing like always.

            Greedy corporate parasites are always predictable.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:03am

    'We'll turn you into a pirate whether you want to be one or not!'

    Right now, thanks to the toxic reputation the major labels and movie companies have gained, I refuse to give them money if it can at all be avoided. Now, this is not to say I pirate, no, I do what they claim to want if someone doesn't want to pay them: Do without.

    I completely ignore the rubbish they toss out, and instead give my time, money and attention to those that actually deserve it, those creators and companies who see me as an actual person, not a barely restrained criminal who's only use is handing over money, and who needs to be treated as though the only thing keeping me from stealing or downloading everything they have are laws and their ever watchful eye.

    However, force me to pay those that I despise and boycott, whether I want to or not? At that point, I'm already paying, why would I not start downloading to my heart's content? Why not act the part of a criminal, if I'm to be treated like one?

    Yet again, the entitlement industry, which tries to pass itself off as the 'entertainment' industry, has shown that there is no greater creator of piracy than their actions and their belief that the world revolves around them, and needs to adapt to their needs and desires, rather than the other way around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:44am

      Re: 'We'll turn you into a pirate whether you want to be one or not!'

      Andy Dufresne: "The funny thing is - on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook."

      - The Shawshank Redemption

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:06am

    "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

    Right off, Masnick states the crucial first problem: someone has to pay for content to be produced. Advertising won't support content unless it's seen, and many here say they want advertising stripped out.

    So tell me: How is anyone entitled to enjoy content without paying for it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:07am

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      Yawn.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:13am

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      So tell me: How is anyone entitled to enjoy content without paying for it?

      Because some people give away their content for free.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:18am

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      That still doesn't mean that they can force me to pay through an ISP-levy. Is there any other industry that includes the right to have the government police and tax everybody (including non users) as a business model?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:19am

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      Why should I, a person who doesn't pirate anything, be forced to pay the content industries?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:27am

        Re: Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

        I should add, if I am forced to pay for content I don't get, I will go get that content. So if they are willing to sell an unlimited supply of books, movies and music for 3.4% of my internet connection fee, then I guess I will be the one that is better off.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      RD, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:21am

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      Wrong. Or do you think creative content was never created prior to the formation of the music and movie industries? People WILL create. This is simple fact that even you should acknowledge, but you are so far up the asses of your Big Media Copyright bosses that you refuse to ever admit it. It is proven by all of human history. MAKING MONEY or earning a living from art is a more recent phenomena. Being paid for your creative efforts is NOT A RIGHT. IF, and I say IF, you create something, then it is upon YOU to give people a reason to give you money for it. It is NOT their responsibility to do so just because you *chose* this as a career path. We aren't here to subsidize your bad career choices if you fail to incentivize people to pay you for your work. You don't like that arrangement? Then get a regular job like the rest of humanity. If making money from your creative art/movies/music endeavors is you primary motivation, then you have already failed. Don't put the onus on the rest of us to bankroll your experiments. Make good shit, not shit, and you will find an audience.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:37am

      Give people a reason to pay and they will.

      https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

      Point me to the quote that says people are entitled to enjoy content without paying for it. Go on, I'm sure you'll be able to find it easily enough if it's such a core part of your argument.

      With 'taxes' like this, you're paying money whether you want the content or not, or want to give money to the parasites pushing it or not.

      If I eat at Restaurant A, because Restaurant B is staffed by people I can't stand due to how they act towards their customers, Restaurant B does not deserve a cut of the proceeds because someone else might have walked out without paying the bill at Restaurant B.

      Similarly, if I don't care to give my time, money and attention to a given label or studio, they do not deserve the 'right' to shake me down and force me to give them money, whether I want to or not, because someone else might have the poor taste to download their crap.

      As for how content can be produced, and where the funding comes from, services like Kickstarter and Patreon make it abundantly clear that if you offer a product/service that people want, and act in such a manner that people actually like, or at a minimum can tolerate you, people have no problem throwing money at you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 1:39am

        Re: Give people a reason to pay and they will.

        "If I eat at Restaurant A, because Restaurant B is staffed by people I can't stand due to how they act towards their customers"

        The analogy's more like: lots of people have tired of how they're being treated by most of the restaurants in the area, finding the menus limited, overpriced, and being pissed on (both literally and figuratively) by the staff. Lots of people have therefore decided to stop eating out, and have started cooking at home and buying better ingredients. Restaurant A recognises the problems, and drops its prices while upping the quality but maintaining profitability. Other restaurants have appeared offering more niche menus but of a higher quality, and are raking it in despite not necessarily being cheaper.

        Restaurant B responded by firing half its wait staff, reducing its menu and increasing the urine input. Then whines that it deserves a cut of the home grocery market because it's losing money.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:43am

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      "Advertising won't support content unless it's seen .."

      And seriously, who wants to watch content that increasingly is feature gay couples? That is not something that I would want to pay actual real money to support.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:52pm

        Re: Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

        I would like that because it offers a chance to do shit that's not just yet another goddamn batman movie

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:02pm

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      They can either create content at their expense - or not. I personally don't give a shit, and owe no one a living just because they felt they "created something."

      If you straight out want welfare, then please have the balls to call it just that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:35pm

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      Right off, Masnick states the crucial first problem: someone has to pay for content to be produced.

      Right off, you forget someone needs to produce content that's worth paying for. They're not. I don't want what they're selling, yet I pay a blank media levy to pay for my non-sins anyway. Some of my favourite music I've owned in LP record form and cassette tape and CD, and now I have it on a computer disk. I paid for the former. The media levy pays for the latter.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ed Allen, 17 Mar 2015 @ 1:07pm

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      http://sitasingstheblues.com/
      There is the question of how I'll get money from all this. My personal experience confirms audiences are
      generous and want to support artists. Surely there's a way for this to happen without centrally controlling
      every transaction.

      The old business model of coercion and extortion is failing. New models are emerging,
      and I'm happy to be part of that. But we're still making this up as we go along.

      You are free to make money with the free content of Sita Sings the Blues, and you are free to
      share money with me

      People have been making money in Free Software for years; it's time for Free Culture to follow.
      I look forward to your innovations.

      And of course, Wikipedia is just a shared delusion.

      Get back under the bridge where you belong.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 1:33am

        Re: Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

        If he's a regular AC, his response to that would be something along the lines of "I watched Sita and didn't personally care for it, therefore no new business model is valid". Seriously, one of these guys actually went through a phase of personally attacking both Nina Paley and anyone who cited Sita Sings The Blues as a relevant example.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 1:43pm

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      > So tell me: How is anyone entitled to enjoy content without paying for it?

      Let's not talk about the paying for it. Let's talk about enjoying it.

      Can you name me one single thing that your paymsters produce that I would be remotely interested in listening to? (Whether I had to pay for it, and how much, is irrelevant. You can assume that if I don't want to hear it, I'm certainly not going to listen to it, nor be forced to pay for it as you seem to want.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 6:02pm

        Re: Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

        Sorry, but the RIAA members still own a ton of great music. This agrument doesn't hold water.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:18pm

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      "So tell me: How is anyone entitled to enjoy content without paying for it?"

      I'm not sure what you're talking about. I'm absolutely willing to pay for it, and I do.

      So tell me: How is the music industry so entitled that it feels it can demand payment from people who aren't even using their product?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:26pm

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      Who said anyone was not paying?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:34pm

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      > So tell me: How is anyone entitled to enjoy content without paying for it?

      Bridge trolls are not required. There are no natural rights when it comes to this sort of thing. That's why such rights have always had an expiration date.

      Even most modern content is far past the point it should have expired into the public domain.

      Beyond that, plenty of people are willing to pay for ad free content. The most successful TV channel today uses that model and always has.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 5:42pm

      Re:

      Seriously, give up the useless message subjects. Anyone can tell it's you even without the spastic /italics/, taglines and algorithms. You're a fucking attention whore.

      out_of_the_blue just hates it when due process is enforced.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 1:26am

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      "Advertising won't support content unless it's seen, and many here say they want advertising stripped out."

      Are you really so lacking in imagination that ads or forcing people to pay upfront even if they DON'T use the content provided are the only ways in which to go?

      "So tell me: How is anyone entitled to enjoy content without paying for it?"

      I'll flip this around to the subject of the actual article - how is anyone entitled to MY money to produce content I don't want? I don't enjoy the crap dished out by the major label, why should I pay for it? my money already goes to music I enjoy, thanks.

      So tell me, where is anyone saying that nobody will? We'll ignore the fact that a great number of things are produced every day without someone paying upfront. You just have to justify this strawman before we go into the many, many real ways in which the answer has already been discussed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 19 Mar 2015 @ 3:51am

      Re: "now that many people see no reason to continue to fork over money"

      So tell me: How is anyone entitled to enjoy content without paying for it?

      That's the wrong question, AC. The correct one is, "What's the most effective business model for funding content creation and paying the creators well enough to keep it coming?"

      But since your question was a straw man, you're not really interested in the answers, are you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:22am

    Canada recordable media tariff was coupled with the legalization of copying music for personal use. In effect we got involuntary "music as a service." Copying wasn't unethical, because you were paying for that right whether you used it or not. Paying a *second* time became a stupid thing to do.

    But that was just music. It didn't apply to video or software.

    Does SABAM's 3.4% go to just music? If so, how much more will be demanded for the TV and movie industry? For photographers? News stories and science articles? Companies that claim copyright on negative reviews?

    Will SABAM concede that if ISP customers are paying money to the music and video industries to cover copying, then they now have the right - nothing unethical about it - to do that copying?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:49am

    In the event that there was a nation wide pirate tax/license for all copyrighted content, this would mean that the payment for content would be completely decoupled from its consumption or popularity. Some entertainment company would be receiving money from taxpayers without any kind of proof that it was their content that was being consumed.

    In such a world, the only fair thing to do would be to split that fee among all content creators. So, I for one would build me a bot that automatically generated randomized video and uploads it to a youtube channel.
    Then, I should get a cut of that tax pie because clearly, the reason my bot generated videos are getting so few views is because some one comes along, downloads my videos once, then shares them on the uBitTorrentBays and all the pirates watch my copyrighted material for free losing me billions of dollars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:03pm

    We already collect taxes and give it to artists. That what the National Endowment for the Arts is for. If people want more of that, I'm all for it. Let the artists apply for grants and keep the for-profit corporations out of it.

    After all, why can't a rock musician get paid the same way a symphony musician does?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Blackfiredragon13 (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:16pm

    In soviet Russia...

    You pay recording industry.
    What? Too overused? Screw it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    connermac725 (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:21pm

    Sweet Can I add my own

    so if i create something and put it online and people use it without asking can I get part of that piracy tax

    Brilliant!!
    sign me up lol

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 5:20pm

    reminds me of that nestle ceo who believes that people should have to pay him just to get access to drinking water.

    That 1 of the basic needs for our survival is not a right but a priviledge to be bought from the wealthy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CanadianByChoice (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 6:32pm

    Why should I be forced to pay?

    I don't buy music.
    I don't download music.
    (I can't HEAR music.)
    I have a 70+db hearing loss; by legal standards, I'm deaf.
    Why should I be forced to support people that choose a profession that has zero value to me?
    (Note to Tech-Dirt: I was really interested in your podcasts. Unfortunately, I can't hear those either.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Reality bites, 18 Mar 2015 @ 5:43am

    Communists punish all for the sins of the few.

    Time to label the music industry for what it is, broken tyrannical communism.

    Simply refuse to purchase anything not coming directly from the artist themselves.

    Time to starve the communists out of the music business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 19 Mar 2015 @ 5:50am

      Re: Communists punish all for the sins of the few.

      The trouble with using the word "communist" is that it assumes this is a leftist problem. It's not, it's coming from the capitalist right. The word you want is "authoritarianism."

      Besides, it's not for the artists. Rightsholders and creators of copyrighted material are often different people.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 8:04am

    Two wrongs

    These pirate taxes are immoral. Worse, they are committing the same offense that they are purported to be a reaction to. This is the music industry saying "people are stealing from us, so we need to make it good by stealing from everybody."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Knight Fell, 18 Mar 2015 @ 8:46am

    TL;DR

    Legacy industry tries to force Internet to subsidize them because they didn't change with the market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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