Blogs Against Kleptocracy – Nonsense Taxes

The RIAA isn’t having much luck these days suing music owners in order to pad the music industry’s bottom line. In fact, they’re gonna get dragged into court in a counter-suit where their questionable tactics are going to be submitted to the discovery process. (Oh how delicious it would be to be in that conference room!)

But the ever inventive industry has now got another proposal for getting their hand in your pocket…even if you’re not part of the 1 in 10 who pirates music from online sources. Yes, the culture vultures are flogging the idea that a tax should be levied on all broadband connections—$5.00 per user, per month—to compensate…[ahem]…the artists for lost revenue due to pirating.

Got that? $60/year (perhaps multiplied by every member in your household) multiplied by all 45 million broadband connections in the US—a whopping $2.7 Billion! Now isn’t that a tidy sum to compensate an industry that 1) can’t figure out how to make money and 2) can’t even claim to loose more than $150M per year due to pirating?

But the real danger isn’t just in the RIAA’s ludicrous proposal. Imagine what will happen if other industries realize that they can just invent taxes that compensate them for lost business?

Big Auto will push for bikers, walkers—literally anybody who refuses to drive and especially those who refuse to own cars—to pay a ‘transport tax’ to compensate them for cars they can’t sell.

Big Coal will lobby for a ‘green tax’ that compensates them for revenue lost due to consumers switching to green power generation, buying energy efficient appliances, and turning off lights. Reduce your electricity consumption by 20%, and BANG! the tax kicks in.

The Incarceration Industrial Complex will get to ‘penalize’ states that back away from draconian sentencing laws in favor of rehabilitation and parole.

After all, nobody should have to adapt their business model to changing times, attitudes, or technologies. Should they?

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15 thoughts on “Blogs Against Kleptocracy – Nonsense Taxes”

  1. One of the stupidest of many stupid proposals from the RIAA. I don’t know how much money they get to “lobby” for the music industry, but it is too much. They are beyond ridiculous. This might be dumber than when they said that ripping a CD you purchased into your ipod is piracy.

  2. Dave… And moreover, they’re busy bilking the artists out of what they’re owed. F*ckin’ parasites. I once calculated the amount I would owe ripping my own CDs and it was in the hundred’s of millions.

    …imagine what the oil companies and airlines have in store for us.

    Frogette… I shudder to think. The airlines will start charging us for checking extra bags…and for not checking extra bags!

  3. We just had an appeal court judgment here that has raided the public music performance (copyright) by 1400% Now some musicians are saying this is great, they will get paid for there efforts. But the payments are made directly to the recording companies, not the artists.
    It will encourage more live venues but will reduce radio and other promotional exposure. Mind you the potential of live venues anywhere near a single residential place.
    It all seems short sighted to me, and will only fill the recording company pockets for a short time.

  4. Hello, Kvatch.
    This is ridiculous on so many levels.
    I’m thinking that the movie industry tried something similar with a “value-added” proposal for VHS tapes. Failed.

    What’s so particularly objectionable about this proposal is the concept that government intervention in the form of taxation is an acceptable method for reclamation of revenues for industry. While the argument could be made that this is a legitimate case for gov’t intervention, this definitely goes beyond any reasonable view of legitimate purposes of taxation.

    Imagine, for instance, if you were required to pay the banks a surcharge on the purchase of a new vehicle, for the reason that some automobiles are used as getaway cars in bank robberies.

    And you’re right about the record companies screwing the artists out of every dime they can get.
    The one that really gets me is “breakage fees.” At one time, it was a legitimate expense, due to the industrial process of manufacturing vinyl LPs. That’s where the name comes from.
    Now, all record club sales are regarded as breakage, so they’re unpaid. Any contract will name a certain percentage as breakage, usually around 5 to 8%.

    Providing video production rather than tour financing is another area where the record companies make out like a bandit. In effect, they get paid twice while the reduce the chances that the band will be able to make a decent living, making them more dependent on the record companies.

    I’ve seen a lot of scams with publishing rights too. Look at any CD you own that was released by Atlantic, and see if Cotillion Publishing is listed as the music publisher. I can show you where it says that on The Yes Album. Cotillion is a subsidiary of Atlantic.

    Effectively, those contracts are written so that a band will only receive about half of their rightful pay from the record company. What’s worse, it’s legal.

  5. PT… I thought that somebody said, “Blogs Against Kleptocracy” and wrote a post… ;-) But seriously, this whole issue of government intervention to prop up dying (or suicidal) industries is a sore point. As you point out, in the case of the music industry, it’s particularly egregious as it robs the artists while robbing the public.

    Hey…though that’s a pretty catch title though, don’t you think? Hmmm…

    Cartledge… See the above comment. The artists continue to get screwed, and we join them.

  6. Frogette, imagine what everyone has in store. Ugh. Let me know when they have a stupidity tax, then maybe corporates and Congress can be out of a job.

  7. kvatch
    Probably long overdue but I just added you to me favorites so I can keep tabs and link in the future if apropriate.
    Bush’s forever war is just beginning. Attacking Iraq was just the reason to get in the middle east again to attack Iran. Very soon!
    The idiot said the 4000 dead laid the foundation for peace for many generations to come. Friggen underhanded two faced liar.
    They were lied too! They unwittingly set the stage for war for many generations to come. Then there’s his future debt they will have to pay. I am very peeved as for now I only have 2 sons in this lie. one flying support right now and one in EOD heading back to his wars.

  8. Randal… Imagine how much fun taxing Congress would be? Want to find the highest percentage of millionaires per capita? Just look at the Senate!

    Jim… Thank you sir. It’s much appreciated.

    At the risk of turning this back to the topic at hand. One sad facet of the American Kleptocracy is Bush’s ‘Forever War’. What better way to rob one’s future generations in order to pad the bottom line of the defense industry?

  9. Buck… Damn…you’re right. I totally forgot about that USPS–the email tax ‘urban legend’ that crops up periodically. How about FedEx taxing us for using the USPS? The USPS taxing us for using FedEx…

  10. I wish there was a way to tax Ma Nature for this danged extended winter we’re having in the Great Lakes region.

    Oh, I know! Make her give us extra days in the 90s come this summer!

    Thanks Kvatch!

  11. I’ll pay the $5 per month if they use the money to provide free health care for every American.

    What a lame idea. I’m sure the senior citizens who primarily use the internet to keep in touch with their children and grandchildren will be happy to hear about this. This lame idea penalizes people who don’t even listen to music, yet alone download pirated copies of songs.

  12. Michael… Yeah, we had a cold winter as well, but nothing like what you’re experiencing, I’m sure. I’ll get right on it.

    I’ll pay the $5 per month if they use the money to provide free health care for every American.

    Kathy… We can dream. But to address you’re second point: The RIAA and the music industry in general have always been about “taxing” people who don’t even consume their product. Taxes on computer media, royalty payments for “on-air” broadcasts, all about gettin’ your pocket.

  13. My apologies… I know the thread is now dated, but I wanted to add one more thing.

    This whole RIAA fight has really irked me. I think we can all agree getting something for nothing is wrong, of course. But, when the hell has someone’s talent, no matter what it be, qualified as a guarantee for wealth?

    What I’m saying is, just because someone has a beautiful voice, and uses it to sing a beautiful song, why is it expected that millions of dollars will land in their pockets?

    Aren’t we supposed to rely on market forces? Where the hell in our Constitution, the Bible, or wherever the hell, is it written that huge wealth for some is a promise… a guarantee?

    Please feel free to use the same argument for those in pro sports.

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