HuffPo Columnist: I Infringe, So All Broadband Users Must Pay A New Piracy Tax
from the here-we-go-again dept
We’ve talked time and time again about the pipe dream on some fronts (mostly the entertainment industry) that you should tax broadband connections to give them the money they so justly deserve as victims of new business realities they repeatedly refused to acknowledge. It’s effectively a “you must be a criminal tax,” and despite being an immensely bad idea, it has obviously seen passage in numerous countries in the form of German levies on things like solid state drives and Canada’s tax on blank media. Fortunately here in the States, efforts to push these taxes on broadband users or universities run into strong opposition.
Most people understand that letting the entertainment industry tax everybody for the behavior of a few people simply makes no coherent sense. Except apparently for “musician and freelance writer” Chris Peak, who in at attempt at humor over at the Huffington Post proudly proclaims that he thinks it would be a nifty idea if all broadband subscribers had to pay a monthly fine for the behaviors of other people. Peak begins by proudly admitting he pirates, tossing around some of the usual arguments buried under said attempted humor (it’s “stealing!” and “bands and musicians have essentially given up on selling music!”), and reaches the point where he asks all broadband subscribers to pay more money for no good reason:
“The fix? There is a fix. And it could work. Tax me. Tax for me the amount of bandwidth I use. Tax me each month, then earmark the tax for the film and music industry. Collect whatever percentage off of that tax you want. Enter into an anti-piracy agreement with both the RIAA and MPAA, and distribute the tax as fairly as possible. It would be a difficult task to allocate the tax to the effected artists and software developers, but there are widely available lists, updated daily and weekly, of the most pirated albums, programs, and movies.”
Because it’s not like once those taxes are imposed they’ll endlessly shoot skyward, completely detached from any real-world financial realities, right? If only we had real-world examples of that to show Peak how awful this idea is. Fortunately, ISPs and the entertainment industry are both known for transparency and accurate math, so it’s not like they’ll try to expand and abuse such a levy at every conceivable opportunity, right? It’s also not like entertainment industry middlemen have a long history of taking this kind of money and ensuring they get the lion’s share of it, right? Peak’s idea is fool proof!
The author then cries a little bit about his inability to adapt to a new business paradigm he pretty clearly doesn’t understand:
“I anticipate in the very near future my own music being completely stolen from me, pirated, and offered for free for trade between my fans. Fans are great. I wish I had more (for self-esteem issues). But that music that you kind of stole from me… I spent years writing, years recording, and years begging and borrowing and spending my life’s savings on, hoping that I would find enough fans to buy my music. Because I kind of do this for a living and need to support myself. Get it?”
Got it. Surely the best possible way of building your admittedly-small fan base will be to call them thieves and impose an entitlement fee on top of every broadband connection in the nation, while demonstrating you have limited skills at adaptation. Stardom awaits!