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Dutch Gov. Wants To Tax Online Media To Fund Print

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the reverse-robin-hood dept.

The Media 187

Godefricus writes "Outrage ensued among Dutch techie and media websites, after a government report advised that the dwindling print media industry should be financially supported by the online industry (Google translation; Dutch original here). The idea is to help the old media fund 'innovative initiatives.' The suggested implementation of the plan is by taxing a percentage of each ISP subscription, and give the money to the papers. The report, which was solicited by the Dutch parliament and written by a committee of its members, specifically states that 'news and the gathering of news stories is not free, and the public must be made aware of that.' The report is not conclusive, but from here it's just one step toward a legislative proposal. Both industries are largely privately owned in The Netherlands, and the current government is center-left wing. Who needs an RIAA if you can build one into your government? And hey, why invest in the future if you can invest in the past?"

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187 comments

Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (4, Informative)

SigILL (6475) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445119)

The responsible minister already said "no" [villamedia.nl] (Dutch language article and I'm too lazy to translate; learn Dutch you slackers :)).

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (2, Informative)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445247)

"Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times"

Actually, I'm shocked. News on Slashdot that is less then 24 hrs old.
What went wrong?

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (1)

elloGov (1217998) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445313)

Nederlands is lelijk hoor.

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (4, Funny)

SigILL (6475) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445365)

Nederlands is lelijk hoor. [Dutch is ugly]

Come one, you gotta like a language in which "angstschreeuw" and "slechtstschrijvend" are perfectly valid words. It's like Perl (only less regular)! :)

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (3, Informative)

Traa (158207) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445817)

Come one, you gotta like a language in which "angstschreeuw" and "slechtstschrijvend" are perfectly valid words. It's like Perl (only less regular)! :)

angstscreeuw = fear scream (one word in Dutch) = 8 consonants in a row
slechtstscrijvend = worst written (one word in Dutch) = 9 consonants in a row

some more fun examples from the Dutch language:
koeieuier = Cow's udder = 7 vowels in a row
Jazzzinger = Jazz Singer = 3 z's in a row

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28445889)

What are the eight consonants? And what are the 9? I'll give you that there are seven and eight, and that that's ugly enough, but check your counting.

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28446101)

What are the eight consonants? And what are the 9? I'll give you that there are seven and eight, and that that's ugly enough, but check your counting.

angstschreeuw (including the H the parent forgot, 'screeuw' is not a word in Dutch, 'schreeuw' means scream) has 8 consonants (although 'ng' and 'ch' are pronounced as one)
slechtstschrijvend (including the H the parent forgot, 'scrijvend' is not a word in Dutch, 'schrijvend' means writing) has 9 consontant (although 'ch' is pronounced as one)

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (2, Interesting)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446167)

that's because it's spelled "angstschreeuw"
and "slechtstschrijvend", but the "h"seems to have dropped out of both words in his post.

koeienuier?
Jazzzanger or jazzzangeres, maar jazzzinger? it just doen't klink right;).

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (1)

Stephan202 (1003355) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446237)

You forgot the hs in "angstschreeuw" and "slechtstschrijvend". Also, "slechtstschrijvend" translates to worst writing (not written). Lastly, the correct word is "Jazzzanger" (with an a instead of an i).

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (3, Informative)

xonen (774419) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446407)

"koeieuier"

According to new (1996) spelling this is supposed to be 'koeienuier'.

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28447595)

ZeeÃn.

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28447655)

Uh, zeeën

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (4, Funny)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445317)

Could be worse.
The news papers will only report about this tomorrow.

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28445825)

Dammit, where are my mod points when I need them!

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28446511)

Daily Show Special Report [nola.com]

Jason Jones: Tell me a joke.
New York Times manager: No, that's your job.
JJ: You wanna hear one from me? Okay. What's black and white and red all over?
NYT: A newspaper.
JJ: No, your balance sheet.

I can see conservatives proposing this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28446603)

I'm sure US conservatives would love to tax the online "libr00l media" to give "fiscal conservative" handouts to their masters in the print and broadcast media.

Tax the cars to support the buggywhip manufacturers- it's the conservative way!

Re:Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times (0, Troll)

rve (4436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28447117)

No, no no, you don't understand at all how politics in Eurostan work.

If a committee proposes something, this means "The government wants it, it is law, reach for your guns!"

Lobbyists (4, Informative)

MathFox (686808) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445127)

Actually it is a report from the newspaper lobby and the responsible minister has already spoken out against the proposal.

Re:Lobbyists (3, Informative)

Godefricus (1575165) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446023)

No it is not. It is a report from a formal and powerful committee from within the parliament (Commissie Brinkman.) The minister did make an informal comment - thankfully - against this proposal shortly after receiving the report, but we have yet to await his final decisions -- and that of his civil servants et al. This could well be a matter of months.

Buggy Whip Subsidies (0, Redundant)

JonBuck (112195) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445139)

This makes about as much sense as the government taxing automobiles to keep buggy whip manufacturers alive.

Why link it to online? (3, Interesting)

Fuseboy (414663) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445149)

Taxing ISPs specifically, seems ass-backwards. If you're going to subsidize an outdated industry (which, hey, is done all over the place) why not fund it out of tax revenue generally, rather than putting a brake specifically on the internet? How about a new tax on cigarettes? :-)

Re:Why link it to online? (3, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446055)

Taxing ISPs specifically, seems ass-backwards.

Well, they want to blame someone, and the ISP's are probably as much 'internet' as you get.

why not fund it out of tax revenue generally

Because then it becomes part of the general budget and people start asking why we're spending that much on subsidies. Common strategy in the IP industries; if politicians actually had to justify the costs they'd be downsized in a heartbeat. Of course, calling it 'media production fee' and slapping it on the broadband, or calling it 'copyright' and letting private interests decide the rate doesn't really change the essence or the cost to the economy.

Still, when it comes to the news business, few seem to be willing to face the actual problem; news is vastly overproduced. There is simply so much material to read every day that nobody can read anywhere near even a fraction of very narrow fields of interest. The fact that it costs money to produce news simply isn't the problem; todays more concentrated world has made the readers time the scarce product, a problem that no subsidies will solve.

Dutch Govt to tax cars to feed horses too? (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445197)

What other newer technologies support older ones I have to wonder? I won't say that print media is "out" because I think it is still a very important thing to maintain. After all, once a newspaper commits to print, it can't effectively be changed. It was said and published, for better or for worse, whatever it was it will always be. With digital, there is a risk that few people take into account -- archives and editing. Anything stored digitally can be altered, often without a trace. History of events can be changed to suit whatever interests are pushing their agenda. The best you can do with print is burn it and hope that no one questions why it's missing.

But to tax one medium to support another? There is something wrong with that.

Re:Dutch Govt to tax cars to feed horses too? (2, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445403)

After all, once a newspaper commits to print, it can't effectively be changed. It was said and published, for better or for worse, whatever it was it will always be.

Yep, after all, "Dewey Defeats Truman" will always be!

And hey, not like there's ever been forgeries of ancient documents. Got access to a printing press? Whip up your own version of history, and leave it some place safe to age, and hundreds of years from now, you'll mindfuck some archaeologists!

Re:Dutch Govt to tax cars to feed horses too? (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445405)

Anything stored digitally can be altered, often without a trace. Ever heard of the Wayback machine [archive.org] ? If information is made available for free, and massively redundant copies are made of it, then revisionism is very easy to detect by doing diffs against the copies. You can only run a Ministry of Truth [wikipedia.org] if you control ALL the copies of the information.

Re:Dutch Govt to tax cars to feed horses too? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445807)

Exactly, and the ministry of truth can only work with print media (or uncrackable DRM) because within the next ~30 years it wold be reasonable to assume that an average hard drive could archive about half of the static content on the web.

Re:Dutch Govt to tax cars to feed horses too? (2, Funny)

portnux (630256) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445719)

What a cool idea! Maybe before that they can tax sneaker companies to support their wooden shoe industry though!

Re:Dutch Govt to tax cars to feed horses too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28445929)

It fits in one way. There'll be horses long after every car currently on the road is gone and books printed today will out live every computer working today. It's not that one is inherently better it's that they both have there place. Computers suck for long term storage where as paper books can last a thousand years and parchment much longer. Books and papers will continue to serve a purpose for the foreseeable future. Next time the power goes out you'll see the limitations on computers and digital media. I had a blackout a year ago and I wound up reading a book by candle light. I played a movie on my notebook first but the battery was dead shortly after the movie finished and the blackout lasted 8 hours. The book came in really handy. The law was a bad idea but it doesn't lessen books and newspaper's value. One day people will laugh at the old digital days and how archaic it all was but I'll bet there are still books around while they are laughing.

Re:Dutch Govt to tax cars to feed horses too? (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446443)

I think we already saved thousands if not millions of trees since on-line media came about. Give yourself a nice tap in the back if you didn't print this. We don't have paper-less offices but offices with a lot less paper. I think this is just inevitable industry displacement.

Explosion in the irony factory... (5, Funny)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445201)

The report, which was solicited by the Dutch parliament and written by a committee of its members, specifically states that 'news and the gathering of news stories is not free, and the public must be made aware of that.'

It's a shame those newspapers don't have any means of getting this kind of information out to the public.

Re:Explosion in the irony factory... (4, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445703)

It's a shame those newspapers don't have any means of getting this kind of information out to the public.

Well that's kind of the point, nobody's reading them.

Re:Explosion in the irony factory... (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445759)

Not really true. It's just that the vast majority who are reading anything from them, are reading it online.

The trickle of ad revenue from the online sites (assuming the story doesn't get picked up by the AP) doesn't cover the costs of a massive brick and mortar printing and distribution operation.

Re:Explosion in the irony factory... (2, Funny)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445935)

Also, that "Whoosh" sound you heard was neither superman nor an airplane.

Re:Explosion in the irony factory... (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446705)

News *is* free, the gathering and dissemination of news may or may not be.

Random thoughts:

Conventional news sources ought to reflect on the recent coverage of Iran, which came to us almost exclusively by YouTube and Twitter. In fact, you would have been better off reading twitter's #iranelection topic than watching TV this past week. CNN was late to the game with their coverage. FOX News provided coverage that mainly involved talking heads and the same YouTube clips you could find easily on your own, but out of all networks (and I cringe when I say this) they provided the most extensive coverage of the protests this weekend. MSNBC re-ran docudramas all weekend.

I don't read computing news from printed magazines any more, yet there are a lot of computing-news websites that seem to do alright as web-based mediums. Some made a successful transition to the online world, others faltered. Some still run print editions for those who prefer them. Print, and "old media" in general shouldn't get a free pass. If I was going to have to pay taxes on my internet access (which is ridiculous) I'd rather they supplemented the web-based media I do use anyway. Maybe we'd see less ads that way. (Okay, probably not).

Web based "community"-organized news isn't ready to entirely supplant consolidated professional journalism, but the technologies and communities are evolving, and print-based publishers better realize that their value is in their content and not in their medium.

Bad idea. (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445295)

Beginning Disclaimer: I work for a print newspaper.

This sounds like about the worst idea I've ever heard. We've been living on the gravy train for decades, and as a consequence, we piss away money like it's water. Now things have gotten tight, and we're cutting and cutting deep, and a lot of outlets may go under, but so be it.

This whole "the print media industry needs government help!" crap is making me nuts. First off, there are very few independent papers left, so you're really talking about bailing out another industry with overpaid CEOs who can't make a decent business decision to save their lives. The same people who really really thought the solution to their industrys internet problem was to give away their product for free. Right. Second, the news media has only one real legitmate function: to inform you about the actions the government is taking in your name. Having the government bail them out is a little bit problematic for that reason.

The industry is changing. It's evolving. It will become something else. Trying to persist the current model is bound to fail, and propping them up with public cash does nothing but compromise their mission and prevent them from figuring out how to accurately make their transition. Jesus, just look at GM if you want to know what public money does to a private company.

Re:Bad idea. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445437)

Well, this is a tad bit different. Over all I do agree with you that this sort of intervention isn't a good idea. At best it's discouraging papers and other sources that are trying to remedy those sorts of problems.

But, by the same token living in a one paper town isn't good. It's the little things like a while back there was an article on a city employee that was seeking the names of those that were taking advantage of the cities GLBT meetings and get togethers. A fairly reasonable request, but the paper opted to gloss over the part where he's a white separatist with barely a mention. That's kind of glaring omission is far more likely to happen if there aren't other viable outlets looking for the best story possible.

I'm not personally sure that losing one or two of the big three would represent a similar threat to the democratic process.

Re:Bad idea. (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445613)

In half the 2 paper towns these days, both papers are owned by the same goddamn company!

I think multiple competing news sources are a good thing, but I also think, in this country, that the ability to sort and judge good information from bad information is a skill that we are intentionally not teaching our children. On top of that, we are rewarding news sources (Faux News, I'm looking at you) for providing biased and substandard coverage.

That being the case, I'd really prefer to see one decent source rather than a half dozen crap sources.

Re:Bad idea. (1)

Starlon (1492461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445803)

You won't find that. One would prefer one perfect candidate over 12 different candidates with different views on politics, but you won't find that. Diversity isn't all that bad of a thing.

Re:Bad idea. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446215)

Shrug. Right now it's hard to believe that the non-print revenue is going to stabilize at a level that will support even one decent sized paper. If you want more than one, people are going to have to keep paying some form of subscription fee.

Re:Bad idea. (1)

Cross-Threaded (893172) | more than 4 years ago | (#28447273)

This is the real beauty of the Internet based news model.

Unless you are unfortunate enough not to have access to the Internet, you have turned a town with potentially biased news sources into a town with hundreds/thousands/millions of news sources.

Granted, many of these sources are biased, and you have to employ your critical thinking skills to separate the wheat from the chaff, but, you have an incredible amount of exposure to the real world that you would have never found in the one/two/twelve-paper town, and you will have a much better idea of what is really happening, instead of taking whatever view is presented to you.

I'm really kind of glad that the traditional newspaper model looks to be on the way out.

Re:Bad idea. (1)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446227)

Newspapers are mostly bad news anyway. They have, other than maybe the movie listings and classifieds, absolutely no value to me at all.

Heck, even the movies and classifieds are more and more irrelevant due to the Internet.

I even stopped watching TV almost 10 years ago now, don't miss it at all. Back when I had cable, basic cable, 70 channels at the time, I was constantly complaining that there was "nothing on".

I get all my news, when and what I choose, via the internet and local radio. TV and newspapers are totally without value to me nowadays.

Re:Bad idea. (1)

f0dder (570496) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445883)

Loved GM's idea of spending millions during the NBA playoffs & finals for an ad campaign telling people how they've changed, learned their lessons, and will be a more responsible company. WTF??

Re:Bad idea. (3, Insightful)

chebucto (992517) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445905)

Newspapers living on the gravy train? Pissing away money? That's news to me; I know some journalists and they get paid at the low end of the professional wage spectrum.

Few independent newspapers left? Overpaid CEOs? This is probably accurate, but it doesn't follow that a newspaper bailout is just about the industry; the individual papers remain, and still serve a purpose, whether or not they're part of a empire at the moment.

Oh, and the CEOs didn't come up with the idea that free content was the solution; they were forced into that. Most newspapers started out charging for their content, and many still do - if not for their current stuff, at least for their archives. The NYT's decision to make all current content free was itself news only a year or two ago.

The only legitimate purpose of a paper is to keep watch on the government? That's absurd.

The industry may be changing, evolving, or even growing a sixth finger, but it doesn't follow that the ads-classifides-susbcriber-box business model will fail. I don't know anyone who _prefers_ to read from an LCD over dead-tree. More than that, news simply does not have to be up-to-the-minute; 99% of the stuff in a paper is fine when its 12 hours old, and some things - like columns - are better after bit of reflection.

Re:Bad idea. (3, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446133)

When we started looking for cost cutting measures, we discovered we'd been paying 250,000 a year for phones at a distribution center we'd closed 5 years prior. Nobody'd noticed, because that was pocket change. That's a whole buncha reporters they could have been paying, and that sort of waste was endemic just a few decades ago.

And forced? I don't think so. They ignored the internet, and tried to charge regular subscription prices for online content, and took it in the ass. Then they went too far the other way. They're still lunging around without a real direction, outsourcing ads cutting their own throats by putting up projects that take months to produce, online before the print product is even on the stands.

They try to sell these "online editions" which are basically pdf versions of the paper, and much less useful than the website itself. What a joke.

Classifieds? Classifieds are gone. The revenue is down to 10% of what it used to be, and it's never coming back. Free online classifieds are superior to 15 columns of unsearchable text so small you need a fricking magnifying glass.

No one gives a damn if the crappy newspaper comics page is going to go out of business. No one cares if the extremely scanty gig guide or the cooking/gardening crap that's all available online is gone. Editorial content, somewhat, but that's on the fringe of the regular news content.

Frankly, you sound like you're about 60, and more power to you, you're our core demographic. But trust me when I tell you, that we can't survive if we can't get some subscribers under 30, and they're rare as rare.

Re:Bad idea. (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446549)

Classifieds? Classifieds are gone. The revenue is down to 10% of what it used to be, and it's never coming back. Free online classifieds are superior to 15 columns of unsearchable text so small you need a fricking magnifying glass.

I think your overall point is valid. However, the Nickel Ads and similar free classifieds-only newspapers still do ripping business. The local Nickel Ads outfit has four offices in Portland and distributes a dozen editions. Something is propping them up. My guess is that there is still a large segment of the populace that doesn't look online for classifieds, consisting mostly of tradition-bound older people and nondigital poor. Put those together and that's a sizeable nimber of people.

However, the former category is obviously shrinking and the latter category is not going to spend 75 cents for access to a newspaper when they can instead get something like the Nickel Ads for free. And of course, today's digital poor are tomorrows "I just searched through Craigslist on my phone" shoppers.

Re:Bad idea. (2, Interesting)

demachina (71715) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446803)

"This whole "the print media industry needs government help!" crap is making me nuts."

Well I would tend to agree subsidizing the mostly corporatized newspaper empires is a little nuts.

On the other hand I would REALLY like for someone to figure out a way for journalism to be a viable career, and to insure there are substantial numbers of professional investigative journalists digging up stories in the world precisely because it make people sweat who don't wan those stories dug up. They should absolutely all stopping killing trees to print their news, put it all online, and make sure there is a good way to make it available to commuters, but they also need to get paid and right putting it on line for free mostly means they don't make anything because Google is the only one making money on online ads it seems.

I love online news sites, I appreciate what they do, but I like everyone else am too cheap to pay them if I can get their stuff for free. If I can't get their stuff for free I wont go to their site. Google in particular is the one making huge amount of money exploiting all their news gathering and should be figuring out a way to share some of their wealth to keep deserving professional journalists employed, and ideally lettting all the hacks and newspaper execs starve.

It is true there have been massive failures on the part of professional journalists, like Judith Miller and her propaganda campaign for the Bush administration on WMD's used to perpetrate the war in Iraq. Oh hell.... professional journalists failed en masse during the first six years of the Bush regime. But I blame that mostly on 9/11 and an American public that got seduced in to picking flag waving over truth and the press pandered to what the people wanted. Same thing happened after Pearl Harbor and "Remeber the Maine" in 1898.

Its also true the current corporate empires that own most media outlets and employ most professional journalist are scum, like most greedy executives, and are causing many of the problems as you suggest.

But.... I also don't want to see a world where what passes for journalism degenerates in to a bunch of bloggers sitting around regurgitating the crap they found surfing the web, mixed with a heavy dose of opinion and rumor.......... kind of like I'm doing here. I would actually like to see a restoration of investigative journalists who go out and actually dig up the truth, make people uncomfortable who deserve to be uncomfortable, and put it on the web instead of on dead tress.

They should get paid for it, and if they are good at it get paid well.

Re:Bad idea. (1)

Cross-Threaded (893172) | more than 4 years ago | (#28447459)

On the other hand I would REALLY like for someone to figure out a way for journalism to be a viable career, and to insure there are substantial numbers of professional investigative journalists digging up stories in the world precisely because it make people sweat who don't wan those stories dug up.

Okay, I nominate YOU to accomplish this. (By the way, TREES are one of the few natural resources that DO grow back.)

I would love to make sure Good Journalism is rewarded, too. The question is how?

The answers lie somewhere on the Internet. What good journalists will be motivated to start news blogs? Who will find them valuable enough to subscribe to them? If no one wants to subscribe, should they pursue advertising? How will they deal with gifted amateurs who don't feel the need to charge?

Subsidizing the newspaper empires is completely nuts! If they can't evolve with the rest of the world, they are doomed.

They should get paid for it, and if they are good at it get paid well.

As I typed indignantly to a content creator earlier today, "You don't deserve to get paid for the stuff you create. You deserve to get paid for the things you create that people find valuable enough to pay you for it." If the newspapers/journalists can't understand this idea, then they need to find alternate means of earning a living.

Re:Bad idea. (3, Informative)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#28447531)

On the other hand I would REALLY like for someone to figure out a way for journalism to be a viable career...

Ok, blowing all my mods to address this one.

In the company I work for, we use trained journalists, and we use them for one purpose - and it's not writing internal newsletters. We use them because they know how to write. We have a constant need for people to write about stuff we sell and do in order to inform our potential customers. That text needs to be engaging, with correct syntax, punctuation and spelling. Do you know how rare it is in even a large technology company to find people who know how to construct a paragraph correctly, to say nothing of making it readable?

Mind you, they need to know a little about technology. Not a huge amount, but enough to ask sensible questions in an interview.

You might end up being called a "market analyst" rather than a "reporter", but work is definitely there, and it's the same sort of investigative reporting you were trained for. But the pay is probably better and interviews are easier to come by. It may not be the discovery of Watergate, but there's hope for you that isn't spelled Wendy's.

Re:Bad idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28446925)

Yes, and it isn't even the same class of companies they're taxing. It isn't so much horse-'n-buggy vs car, it's like you're asking Pentium retailers to prop up the 286 manufacturers. And then there is the thing that they didn't so much get obsoleted like horse-'n-buggy manufacturers, but they largely obsoleted themselves. I used to read newspapers (I've switched papers several times) but frankly the Dutch newspapers had it coming. If you're looking for neutral, investigative yet socially engaged journalism you'd better skip the papers; I think it's safe to say that if you've just read a Dutch newspaper, you actually know less than you did before. And if they are outcompeted by digital media, that just means that they should have gone into that market themselves and subsidising them just rewards bad decision making. Fortunately, the minister allegedly thought the idea was stupid and told the commission: "Ga toch fietsen."

Re:Bad idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28447113)

We can call it the Dead Tree tax.

Newspapers. Blogs. Forgetting something? (4, Funny)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445377)

Yet again, the Dutch government entirely ignores the welfare of town criers. This is an insult to town criers everywhere! I demand that the dutch government fund the struggling town crier industry by taxing newspaper sales.

The news ain't free, you know.

Stupid (2, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445459)

Did people have to pay car tax to fund horses and carts when cars become mainstream?

Things change, old media dies. We don't listen to music on reel to reel tape recorders anymore, are people trying to preserve such things? nope.

Not the format, the content (1)

hessian (467078) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445755)

Before newspapers in their modern form, anyone with a printing press just wrote some opinions and sent them out to the world -- like a blog.

With modern newspapers, we have more accountability than ever before. They vary from amazing (WSJ, NYT, The Guardian, Ha'aretz) to awful, but you can get some very insightful news analysis if you know where to look.

On blogs, not so much, outside of technology and popular culture topics.

The format -- words on a printed page -- isn't as important as the organizations behind them. Newspapers are a newer type of communication than blogs, even if blogs use a newer medium of transmission.

Re:Stupid (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445763)

No, they had to have people walking in front with red flags, which defeated the purpose of having a car in the first place.

Re:Stupid (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445949)

Bad analogy, because the death of reel to reel wasn't the death of (for example) symphonic music. It was just a transition from one format to another.

The problem with the possible death of the print media industry, is that they're the only ones who do real, in-depth, reliable, reporting these days...They're the only ones who can afford to, because it's fricking expensive to do it right. So far, it's too expensive to support with online ad revenue as well, hence the problem.

TV doesn't give a damn: they can fill the same amount of time by giving air time for some fringe moron to sit and spout his own uninformed opinions. And they hardly ever own up to errors of fact in their broadcasts. Can't rely on them for anything but pretty pictures.

Bloggers don't have any real money, and they are completely compromised by a 100% dependence on ad revenue. Newspapers have always cared about ad revenue, but subscriber revenue and numbers were important enough to allow larger papers to effectively ignore the complaints of their advertisers...What were they going to do? Print pamphlets?

Some people think the loss of that in depth reporting is a bad thing. It's going to be worst in local markets: when was the last time you saw your local TV station cover a city council meeting? If someone is zoning the land across the street from your house for heavy industry, you'd probably like to know, but chances are you won't find out about it without newspaper coverage.

Re:Stupid (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28446159)

Did people have to pay car tax to fund horses and carts when cars become mainstream?

Did cars drive on the back of horses? These analogies that keep being made about "did people have to pay tax when $current_tech obseleted $old_tech" don't have any sway here, unless $current_tech USED $old_tech (without paying for the privilege). Which is what we see in online media.

Scabby news aggregator sites (:-P) don't do an ounce of real journalism (apart from the odd book review) but take income away from the very newspapers (etc) that they aggregate.

For fuck's sake! (0, Troll)

delphi125 (544730) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445487)

Internet in the Netherlands is already taxed with 19% BTW (VAT, not quite sales tax), let alone all the other taxes - Water is taxed about 6 times if you count 'em all (at least the rate is 6% after drinking water, what a fucking great silver lining that is).

I can understand the concept of having certain taxes being related to usage - no road tax unless you own a car etc. - but in the Netherlands you pay anything up to 50%+ income tax (which has been pre-taxed by employer's tax), and THEN everything you want after that is taxed extra already.

If - as a nation - you have fucking (50%+) high income tax, then fucking budget it to cover basic needs, like sewers and roads. If you have fucking (19%) high sales tax (more for cigarettes), then fucking use it to cover whatever is being taxed.

I can even live with the idea that old media and new media are part of the same thing, and thus some of the sales taxes on the lot of them might be spent disproportionately on ailing media. But the real problem for the "quality" print media is that every station in the major cities has free print media, which readers can consume during a commute and typically leave on the seats of buses and trams everywhere.

metronieuws.nl and spitsnieuws.nl are getting sufficient print readers to encourage advertisers to read.

Fuck the Dutch and their fucking tax attitudes, though.

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28445639)

[...] fucking [...] fucking [...] fucking [...] fucking [...] fucking [...] fuck [...]

I found your comment very interesting.

Re:For fuck's sake! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28445819)

... fucking ... fucking ... fucking ... fucking ... fucking ... Fuck ... fucking ...

Judging from your judicous use of the word 'fuck' in relation to the Dutch tax system, I assume you were a) annoyed to learn that Dutch prostitutes charge VAT too upon visiting the red light district in Amsterdam and b) were pissed of you couldn't deduct said visit as a business expense from your tax returns.

Re:For fuck's sake! (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445917)

Fuck the Dutch and their fucking tax attitudes, though. You could always move. Me might even let you into the states, provided you clean up your language!

off-topic: 'road tax' in NL (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446069)

Just to note: as of 2018 - supposedly - there will no longer be a 'a road use tax' (note that this is actually a fixed tax cost for any car owner, regardless of whether they drive it or not, and the height depends on the type of car, age, etc. as well as which province you live in), nor an additional tax on purchasing a car (currently: 40% on a passenger car/van, reduced by 1346 (minor details aside)), good for ~3.2B/year for the state - similar to the 'road use tax'.

Instead, people will be paying by the kilometer, which they plan on tracking via GPS and whatnot.. cue the 'potential for abuse' cries - I know, right?
But because this will go straight to the state, and no longer to the provinces in part, the provinces will have to find new sources of getting moneys.. which essentially means raising taxes for eeeeeeeeeeeeeverybody; regardless of whether or not they even have a car.

Of course our gas is also heavily 'taxed' - which will remain. Dur.

Taxes are indeed incredibly high in NL and although we do get quite a bit in return, I can't help but feel that too much of it is utterly wasted on prestige projects, lining pockets, military 'defense', etc. Sadly, it seems it's only going to get worse for the foreseeable future.

How about a tax on the word "fuck" . . . ? (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446263)

I Water is taxed about 6 times if you count 'em all (at least the rate is 6% after drinking water, what a fucking great silver lining that is).

Well, fuck me over flying fucking backwards. The fucking Netherlands has fucking taxes on fucking water? I fucking thought that if the fucking country didn't have all those fucking brilliant fucking dikes, then the whole fucking country would be under fucking water, and they would be fucking totally fucking fucked over, with no fucking clue what to do with all the fucking water.

Except fucking tax it.

But what the fuck do I know?

And fuck, that fucking story about that fucking Dutch boy, who saved the fucking country, by sticking his fucking finger in the fucking dike to stop the fucking leak?

Well, the little fucking bastard was just fucking trying to finger fuck the fucking dike.

Please mention me in your prayers, before you go to sleep tonight . . . I don't want to go to work tomorrow, and start talking like my rant, above.

Re:For fuck's sake! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28446319)

Being Dutch, I felt like chipping in these two bits:

Fuck the Dutch and their fucking tax attitudes, though.

- Tax attitude: everyone tries to deduct as much as they can.

- Fuck the Dutch: that's why we have the red light district [redlightdistrict.com] . Come fuck us as much as you want. You will have to pay for the privilege, though.

(disclaimer: i have no clue what's behind that link. It's probably NSFW though ;)

Re:For fuck's sake! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28446913)

Have you ever been to The Netherlands? It's peaceful, beautiful, educated, and cultured. Their standard of living is higher than ours.

  Maybe their tax rate is a lot closer to 'right' than ours.

Summer School Homework (2, Interesting)

DirtyCanuck (1529753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445533)

Excerpt from a work in progress assignment for my summer university course:

Early conjecture on the future of Newspapers and print media foretold of a future of embraced digital publications. Early literature on this movement includes Digitizing the News (Boczkowski, 2005) which begins by tracing early consumer non-print publishing initiatives to the rise of the internet in the mid 1990s. The books examination shifts to reviews of various online content provided by newspapers in the second half of the 1990s, which varies from direct reproduction of printed newspapers to interactive web based content that complimented the printed news. The book then progresses into examining three specific accounts of newspaper adaptation of the internet. The first example is a Technology section of the New York Times which started as an experiment to test new grounds for online media. The second example is the Virtual Voyager project of the HoustonCronicles.com (Boczkowski, 2005) of which reporters pioneered the evolution of multimedia journalism. The third example provided is the Community connection initiative of New Jersey Online (Boczkowski, 2005) which chronicles the birth of user generated content. This literature came out at around the same time as The Vanishing News Paper by Philip Meyer, which makes various assumptions of the state of Newspapers in the mid 2000â(TM)s and the way they are headed. The book begins with reprisal of early work Meyer did on newspapers being âoein the influence businessâ (Meyer, 2005) rather then the news and information business. His 2nd chapter focuses on the business model of âoeHow Newspapers Make Moneyâ (Meyer, 2005) which focuses on how newspapers are âoevictims of easy money.â (Meyer, 2005). In the 11th chapter, after outlining issues surrounding current models Meyer suggests that the death of Newspapers is near. In this chapter he essentially digs the grave for newspapers and predicts the death of newspapers if action is not taken. In Meyers final chapter he says âoeThe time has come to think about the things that we on the ground can do while traditional news media struggle for survival.â (Meyer, 2005) Giving various solutions to the current track that printed newspapers are on.
        These two books show early attitudes that are rather contrasting. While Boczkowski is conscious of the evolution of newspapers and migration to digital media he is still optimistic. His book is more of a glorification of progress rather than a cautionary tale. Meyerâ(TM)s on the other hand is very aware of the inevitability of newspapers if they do not undergo drastic change. These books thus give a capsule for attitudes in the mid 2000â(TM)s with regards to newspapers. One attitude was optimistic and the other a prerequisite of upcoming doom. Which book was more accurate? Only time would tell.

The Contemporary Complexion
At this point it is very clear as to who was right and who was wrong with regards to previously reviewed literature. The sense of urgency illustrated by Madigan and Meyer could have never had so much relevance. With the demise of the economy we see an acceleration of the death of newspaper that nobody predicted. Currently we see some Journals contradicting previous assumptions. Such is the case with The Rebirth of News (Peters, 2009) written in the Spring of 2009 this article in the Economist completely changes its tone from the previously reviewed article. In 2006 the Economist said âoeA cause for concern, but not for panicâ (Martin, 2006) but only 2.5 years later we see mass panic. The latest article stating that âoeMost industries are suffering at present, but few are doing as badly as the news business.â (Peters, 2009) This revelation comes at a time when newspapers are dropping at almost a daily rate. The article goes on the suggest reasons for the demise, including loss of ad revenue and readership. The article however informative still does not address the problems outlined in previous books, such as corporate ideology and bad journalism. The economist article seems to be optimistic regarding the shift to digital and even suggests people would pay for online news, despite there being free avenues. The article ignorantly (purposely) claims that online resources are not as credible as big news âoeMany, it is true, are unreliable. Most are badly funded. Some are the rantings of deranged extremists.â (Peters, 2009)It however would appear from the facts, it is Journals such as the Economist itself that are both in denial and unreliable. The facts speak for themselves.
        Currently since the release of the latest Economist article on the subject many newspapers have gone under including: The Tucson Citizen, Rocky Mountain News, Baltimore Examiner, Kentucky Post, Cincinnati Post, King County Journal, Union City Register-Review, Halifax Daily News, Albuquerque Tribune, South Idaho Press and the San Juan Star. (Newspaper Death Watch, 2009) This comes at a time when Journals such as the INQUISITR are reporting monumental loss.

Any input welcome not due til end of July

Example of lousy internet news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28445539)

If printed media is replaced by web information of the quality shown in this thread opener then the tax can't be high enough.

Like someone wrote already:
>>Actually it is a report from the newspaper lobby and the responsible minister has already spoken out against the proposal.

It would be nice if the minister also had spoken against some existing tax oddities like Reprorecht, Buma, Stemra, etc. I spare you the details.

Dutch government just propsed another law... (2, Funny)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445557)

...this time all sales of CDs will go towards the 8-track tape industry and sales of DVDs and BDs will go to VHS and Laser Disc companies.

This is bullshit (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445573)

This is bullshit!

Or, for our Dutch friends, a Google translation:

Dit is onzin!

And then back to English:

This is nonsense!

And, just for fun, to Filipino:

ito ay kalokohan!

And back to English:

This is poppycock!

I think I've made my point.

Re:This is bullshit (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445829)

My favourite is "out of sight, out of mind" being mangled into "invisible idiot".

Re:This is bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28446411)

No, it was "invisible, insane." And most likely apocryphal. That story is at least twenty years old.

Re:This is bullshit (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445863)

Now that the google translate meme started, it can't stop.

man

Through http://tashian.com/multibabel/ [tashian.com] once with the Asian languages:

Person
Personnels
Personnel
Staff
Team of employees

Again without the Asian languages:

Equip with employees
Supply yourselves with employees
Refueling same you with the employees

It all goes down from there...

(finish that cycle and do it again)

Ignition of base one of the parity of the employees fills above

Such is the fall of man...

Question re: Dutch Govt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28445585)

Is this what the Dutch citizens want their government to do? Or is the Dutch govt the "master over the people" instead of the "servant of the people" like the way that far too many western Europe countries have become?

Why not create the newspaper equiv of the BBC? (1)

QuatermassX (808146) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445609)

Surely this is a way for government to clip the wings of a struggling section of the fourth estate? Governments - anyone in power - generally does not look all that kindly on aggressive newspapers that speak truth to power and hold governments to account. I'm sure someone thinks this an ideal way to neuter domestic media by hooking it on public subsidy.

Why not tax paper and create a print equivalent of the BBC? One could call it "Truth" or simply "News". Hmmm.

Re:Why not create the newspaper equiv of the BBC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28446561)

Why not tax paper and create a print equivalent of the BBC? One could call it "Truth" or simply "News". Hmmm.

We actually used to have that. It was called the "staatscourant", and it was privatized like everything else around here (telephony infrastructure, snailmail service, national railroad network, energy market).

It was fun while it lasted, though. The NS (railroads) at its lowest hit a punctuality rate of 72% (meaning 28% of all trains were more than 10 minutes late) due to mismanagement; the newspapers are going belly-up because they failed to innovate; the companies that operate our energy grid are being bought by international corporations; Internet via telephone line occurs a €10 per month "private tax" because KPN owns every last-mile connection in the country ("it's for maintenance").

Due to the recent credit crunch, two of our banks (abn amro and fortis) were nationalized; no doubt several newspapers will end up being bought by the government, like you suggest; the government is considering partially reverting the privatization of the energy market in order to keep grid maintenance under national control; the railroads are still private, but the NS is under tight supervision by the minister of transport

It's refreshing to see that despite the many shortcomings of many modern governments, that private organizations still are able to outdo the government in messing things up.

Re:Why not create the newspaper equiv of the BBC? (1)

leereyno (32197) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446995)

The problem you had was not private ownership of these things, but MONOPOLY ownership.

An oligarchy is an oligarchy whether it be comprised of the state or comprised of other entities.

Had there been real competition and low barriers to entry into these markets to promote the creation of start up firms, you would not be seeing any of this.

Cut to the chase (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28445701)

'news and the gathering of news stories is not free, and the public must be made aware of that.'

So set up a taxpayer-supported news service ala BBC and CBC.

I admit that won't be without contention, but it's a much better idea that taxing ISP use to support newspapers for pete's sakes. This committee isn't even trying to get at the central issue, they're just trying to prop up a media form the public is abandoning.

I'm glad the minister has rejected it. Now they can get on with discussing how Dutch reporting will need to be supported in our modern reality.

Re:Cut to the chase (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446025)

"So set up a taxpayer-supported news service ala BBC and CBC." Done: http://www.nos.nl/ [www.nos.nl] Paid for by taxes and commercials, we used to have something similar to the UKs TV license.

fro5t pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28445779)

would @you like to

I'm doing the same (1)

HerrBohm (1573893) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445783)

If this would succeed, would my chance, of saying that my core business fails because of the internet and that needs to give me money from the taxes to keep my company alive, be any good?

Coming next: milk tax! (1)

iwulinux (655433) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445793)

I should go complain that nobody wants to pay me to hand-deliver milk in glass bottles door-to-door anymore, and see if I can get them to tax milk and give me the proceeds!

Of course, this is functionally the same as the blank CD/DVD "anti-piracy" levy: government intervening to prop up an outdated, failing business model with tax money, rather than letting it die and allowing evolution to take its natural course.

Re:Coming next: milk tax! (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446627)

I should go complain that nobody wants to pay me to hand-deliver milk in glass bottles door-to-door anymore, and see if I can get them to tax milk and give me the proceeds!

Milk is already heavily taxed in the USA. We call it "price supports for dairy farmers".

Re:Coming next: milk tax! (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 4 years ago | (#28447165)

Coming from a dairy family, I can tell you that's not the case.

Prices are subsidized (not taxed) but the subsidies go to the processors, not the farmers producing.

Dairy farmers in the US right now are receiving 1970 prices with 2009 costs and inflation. Dairies are folding left and right, both large operations and small family farms because demand and prices have crashed. This is why beef has been relatively cheap (lots of herds going to slaughter). Milk demand is typically low during economic downturns (people buy less cheeses, butter, etc, especially in the restaurant market), but this downturn has hit dairies harder than any other.

I think they missed the point: (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28445893)

There is no valuable thing in those "news" anymore. Nobody wants them. They are by definition worth nothing to us. Only propaganda, stuff about Britney Spears showing her pussy, and other distractions from what is really going on. That is why the industry dies in the first place. For once, the free market works, and they want to stop it?

Well. I guess they still have enough friends and employees in government. But this will change soon too.

I don't want to pay twice (2, Insightful)

Rashdot (845549) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446059)

I'm already paying for my morning newspaper, why would I need to pay for it again via an ISP tax?

Uh, no. (3, Insightful)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446063)

Screw that.

If print media cannot survive on it's own, with it's own resources, etc. then too fricken bad.

It would be like, in the days of the first automobiles, taxing them to keep horse buggy manufacturers going. Actually, it's even worse than that.

Dutch Gov. Wants To Tax Online Media To Fund Print (2, Funny)

TW Burger (646637) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446077)

This is like taxing marriage to fund prostitution.

Re:Dutch Gov. Wants To Tax Online Media To Fund Pr (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446349)

That's the best god damned idea ever! If I don't see your name on the 2012 ballot I am writing you in.

/. is wrong here, but whats really scary... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28446293)

This isn't something from the Dutch government, but from a commision ("Commision Brinkman") who has given out an advice to the government. So in that aspect /. is not only behind the facts as others already wrote; they got it wrong too.

Second: The person behind this suggestion ("Eelco Brinkman") is one of the more powerful people in the Netherlands. If someone like that comes up with a brain dead idea like this then I call that a very scary development. The government rejected the idea, but not merely out of their own free will. Right now the Dutch governments popularity is near an all time low, and they're trying to do everything they can not to cause any up stirs. Until after the elections anyway.

Now our government has rejected the idea, and its my belief that the uproar caused by this insane plan was the major factor behind it. But what if the elections and the popularity weren't at rock bottom right now? They're clueless enough to push something like this through; especially when one of the results will be more income (taxes) for the government.

A very, very, scary thought IMO. And yes, I'm from Holland.

Gathering of news stories IS free (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#28446749)

citizen journalism is upon us. citizens are filming events LIVE and posting them LIVE as they happen. we dont have to accept what some agent of some paper picks as newsworthy in any given location anymore. we can choose to view and read our own news.

Meet the Dutch MSM, worse than our MSM (0, Troll)

leereyno (32197) | more than 4 years ago | (#28447007)

The Marxist Socialist Media (MSM) here in the states is finding it increasingly difficult to convince the public to pay to be lied to.

I guess the MSM in the netherlands is running into the same problem. In true leftist form, they propose that the government extort money from the people to pay for that which the public has disregarded as worthless.

Can't have the plebes going through life without propaganda to tell them what to think and who to hate now can we?

On a related note... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28447465)

Buggy whip manufacturers want their slice of the pie too!

Is this like ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#28447545)

... taxing DVDs to fund innovative uses of VHS video tape, or taxing laser printers to fund innovative uses of typewriters, or taxing microwave ovens to fund innovative uses of wood stoves, or taxing cars and trains to fund innovative uses of horses and donkeys?

If it can't sustain it's own, it's a failed business model (at least now it is, after it has run its course as an intermediate technology to bring us to where we are). It probably needs to die off and be quick about it.

If there is some specific benefit to keeping it beyond its ability to sustain itself by profit, then tax or charge those who benefit from it. If there is a social case for making sure the elderly who don't get online have a means to get their news, then supplement printing the news for them. Maybe it's good enough to let them fill out a form with a bunch of check boxes which someone can enter into a computer, which then prints stories they are interested in from online sources and deliver it to them.

Libtards Rejoice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28447837)

Taxes Are Good! Stimulus! Too big to fail!

Hahaahahahahahaha-- suckers.

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