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The Internet Government Music Technology

France To Tax the Internet To Pay For Music 209

bs0d3 writes "A new tax in France is aimed at ISPs. The new government tax on ISPs is to help pay for the CNM (Centre National de la Musique). Already in France there is a tax on TV, to pay for public access channels. It's similar to the tax in the United kingdom which pays for the BBC. This ISP tax will be the musical equivalent to that. President Sarkozy comments, 'Globalization is now, and the giants of the internet earn lot of money on the French market. Good for them, but they do not pay a penny in tax to France.' This all began after the music industry accused French ISPs of making billions of dollars on their backs. Now the music industry must also get their hands in their pockets."
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France To Tax the Internet To Pay For Music

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  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:27PM (#38110838)
    Sounds like a corporation's wet dream, tax the peasants for private profits. Then they can use this money to try and convince other governments to do the same.
  • Oh good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:28PM (#38110842)
    This means that people will not be prosecuted or punished for downloading their music at no cost, right?
  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:28PM (#38110844)

    After all, you've paid for it via your ISP, right?

  • by melikamp ( 631205 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:53PM (#38111020) Homepage Journal

    if the intertubes are being taxed to pay for the production of french culture or something, ISP subscribers can download it without legal worry, right?

    One should hope. While some people laugh at France's [1] conviction that art should be sponsored by the government, to me it does look like a more ethical alternative to copyright. Provided, of course, that there is no such thing as "non-commercial infringement". I would much rather pay a flat art tax and not be censored on the Internet than endure any more copyright legislation.

    [1] Russia's too. Some countries are just like that.

  • Re:Oh good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ecorona ( 953223 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:54PM (#38111026) Homepage
    I'm pretty sure the music industry gets to tax us for private profits and prosecute us despite the tax. They're businesses and they will do whatever it takes to maximize profit. Right or wrong is not a variable in their equation.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:00PM (#38111054)

    Levying taxes is like plucking a live goose for feathers: you want to get a maximum number of feathers, with the least amount of fuss. There is no point in taxing poor folks . . . they have no money. If you tax everyone directly, you end up with a lot of fussy geese on your streets, like in Greece.

    Everyone knows that the Internet is awash in gazillions of money. So tax the ISPs. The geese don't see the tax directly, but the ISP passes the costs on to them indirectly.

    Everyone likes to see a tax on other folks than themselves. They hear "Rich Internet Companies" are paying the tax, and feel that the ISPs are just paying their fair share.

    Except for a few folks on Slashdot . . .

  • Re:Correction. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:13PM (#38111174) Journal
    I can't speak for the specifics of each country's implementation(and, in practice, many of them probably do a bit of both, with some sort of targeted levy and some level of generic funding for the arts or culture or what have you); but there seem to be three distinct flavors:

    1. Some sort of funding out of general tax receipts, as with the National Endowment for the Arts or NPR in the US. The overall level is set by something resembling representative democracy; but there is neither the assertion nor the intention that there is any particular relationship between the stuff being taxed and the stuff being funded, the stuff being funded is just seen to be something by which the public good is served(accurately or not, I'm not hugely interested in arguing on that specific point).

    2. Some sort of funding out of a specific category of tax, as with special taxes(in addition to generic sales/VAT) on digital storage media in a number of countries. This category does assert a connection between the thing taxed and the thing funded; but it is marked by the relatively indescriminate nature of the tax: digital storage levies essentially assume that all storage media are used for piracy, for instance.

    3. Some sort of funding tied relatively closely to use of(within the limits of gauging that) the thing being funded, as with taxes on motor fuels to fund roads, or taxes on broadcast TV receivers to fund the BBC. This category also asserts a connection between the thing taxed and the thing funded but, unlike #2, makes some(usually imperfect) effort to be accurate: The BBC's fee doesn't cover monitors without TV tuners, motor fuel taxes frequently distinguish between roadway vehicles and agricultural or aviation uses, that sort of thing.
  • Re:Correction. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by migla ( 1099771 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:54PM (#38111470)

    >That's horrifying.

    And yet, this horrific setup is what brings us the BBC and the like, you know, commercially and politically independent television. They don't have to try to appease the advertisers by appealing to the lowest common denominator, instead they can focus on making quality journalism and quality art/entertainment.

    If you have half a brain and even if you're blind, you should be able to see a clear difference if you watch one of the commercial channels and compare it to the publicly paid for channels here in Sweden. The former is bullshit crap. The latter is quality television.

    Of course, in the US you only get the commercial bullshit crap, so how would you know how much better it could be?

    Actually, HBO over there seems to produce some descent quality television. Their model is kind of similar, in that they don't program for the advertisers, but the BBC and the rest are even more free to do their art. It works beautifully. I'm sorry you've never gotten to experience it.

  • Re:Oh good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @09:56PM (#38112698)
    The problem with this scheme (which has been brought up every time a similar idea has been floated in the U.S.), is that it punishes the innocent for the deeds of the non-innocent. It would be rather like taxing American citizens in order to prop up banks that fail or have been robbed.

    Oh... wait. FDIC. TARP. Right. What could I have been thinking?
  • Re:Who can tell... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @09:59PM (#38112706)

    That depends on whether you prefer commercial crap or commercially independent art.


    "Commercial crap" - stuff people like enough to willingly pay for.
    "Commercially independent art" - stuff no-one likes enough to willingly pay for.

    The UK used to have a system where the government would fund movies, but only movies that weren't 'commercial'. The end result was that money was taken from people who didn't want to watch those movies to fund them and then people seemed surprised when they flopped because.... well, duh... no-one wanted to watch them.

  • by Gerzel ( 240421 ) <brollyferret@gEI ... minus physicist> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:08PM (#38112754) Journal

    Aye. Though if this goes through and I were French I'd demand there be no more prosecuting bittorrents, or filesharers in France. Sharing music over the web in France logically should be free now as all French internet users have paid for it.

  • by BlueParrot ( 965239 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:59PM (#38113142)

    It has a snowball's chance in hell of happening this way, but in principle this could be implemented well.

    You'd put a small tax on telecommunications and use it to support artists and musicians. That way you wouldn't need the copyright garbage, music and art would be financed through taxes, and it could be freely distributed across the entire world.

    Of course, in reality corruption will see it end up lining the pockets of a handful of people, the oppressive copyright laws would remain, and the government will use the funding as a means to bully "content providers" into doing their bidding.

  • by belg4mit ( 152620 ) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @10:03AM (#38115966) Homepage

    Where do you pay an explicit "school tax?" It's usually taken out of property taxes and other general funding streams.
    Regardless, educated masses (even only semi-educated ones) are a public good, and you are paying for the benefits
    you reap or, if you wish, you are paying back the cost of your education.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @12:46PM (#38116976) Homepage Journal

    It's good to know that the money stolen from smokers has been successfully used to brainwash the masses. Yeah, cigarettes can cause cancer. It's been proven that soaking rats in a nicotine bath for weeks and months causes them to get cancer. But, I don't bathe in it, or wear nicotine soaked gauze patches all day, every day. Yeah, I probably have a much higher chance of getting cancer than you do. But, then, my dad died of cancer - and he never smoked in his life. Go figure, huh? But, you'll never believe that you've been brainwashed by the politically correct club.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!