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France To Tax the Internet To Pay For Music

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-accordians-are-cheap dept.

The Internet 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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Recoup the lobby dollars (5, Insightful)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

I AM DEAF (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111766)

They are dumb!

Re:Recoup the lobby dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111996)

This is funny, I was just saying to something a couple hours ago about France being the Macintosh of Countries.
Sounds like this could be played off if you gave it a friendly name like the OUItunes tax or something inevitable like that.
Cue Eurosocialism.mp3...

Oh good (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110842)

This means that people will not be prosecuted or punished for downloading their music at no cost, right?

Re:Oh good (5, Insightful)

ecorona (953223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111026)

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.

Re:Oh good (5, Interesting)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111044)

The tax isn't to compensate the music industry for downloads, it's to compensate the french government (seriously) for taxes the music industry isn't paying.

What? (3)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111562)

Why would the french ISP's pay taxes on behalf of the music industry?

Re:What? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111700)

Because the music industry wouldn't pay a penny. They are the "freeloaders" they accuse their clients of being.

Note: You pay the tax even if you are deaf, and never listen to music. Or if you use the Internet and don't even use speakers with your computer and never download any music. This is a corrupt democracy's view of an ideal world.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111858)

They are saying the music industry is not making the money they should, therefore they are not paying the tax they should, and it is all cause of the internet.

Re:Oh good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111590)

Wow! That's even worse!

How is it that music, and protecting that interest alone, has become the most important issue when it comes to the Internet? Are politicians, and the public, so spineless that they can't see the charade?

I suppose at some point, the energy industry will want a tax for their own on ISP's and subscribers.

Re:Oh good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111058)

Bought any blank CDs lately?
They're taxed too.

Re:Oh good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111484)

I haven't seen a CD since last century. Get with the times. You can boot from USB so what possible reason is there for CDs to still exist?

Re:Oh good (1)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111580)

I've long wondered why when I buy a new computer game it doesn't come with a USB stick. Especially if DRM is going the direction on checking a server out on the net, what's to stop them from just putting the whole file system on a stick? I think a collection of 8GB USB drives that all have unique game art on them would be kind of cool, too.

Re:Oh good (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112226)

you get hit by the same tax for flash drives, black hard drives, blank dvd's, music players. a few cents to fractions of a cent per mb.

Re:Oh good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111568)

"Bought any blank CDs lately?"

Is that something like a cheque? From the nineties?

Re:Oh good (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111070)

of course not
its to cover "fair use" and other things
and if it doesnt work the law will be rewritten til it fits (and that's not sarcasm, just the way it is)

Re:Oh good (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111314)

Yes, and the French will finally be good for something more than just a really cool jet and romance. Paying for everyone's music downloads! Thanks France! I wonder if we could route all our purchases through their country, and they could pay the US state internet tax, also. (shifts eyes side to side) Hehhehe

Re:Oh good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38112242)

You would assume a tax gives blanket immunity to any litigation, but the music and film industries have in the last number of years wanted their cake, and want to eat it too, and then they also want your cake, and they want to eat it, then they want you to provide more cake, and they want the government to mandate cake to them. The reserve the right to sic lawyers on you to extract cake from you, and take the cake that you use to earn your living, the cake you use to pay for your house, the cake you use to do anything else, and then they want to have your very existence tied around producing more cake for them. Their greed knows no bounds, they paid for corrupt US politicians, then pressed those same politicians to spread their poison worldwide.

So downloads of music are free in France then? (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110844)

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

Re:So downloads of music are free in France then? (4, Informative)

hey_popey (1285712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111012)

Fat chance: in France there's already have a tax on HDDs, memory cards and all types of blank media to pay for our right to a "private copy" of the music people purchased, but this does not authorize them to downloadâ¦

Re:So downloads of music are free in France then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111304)

I sympathize with the sentiment, but I don't think theft justifies piracy. That just leads us further down this self destructive hole.

A serious, honest question... (1)

Dogbertius (1333565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112136)

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

Since Canadians pay a levy on all CDs and DVDs to compensate for the piracy of music and videos, does this mean the average citizen cannot be fined $200/song since we are already being taxed on piracy? The wiki articles is unclear on this. Thanks!

Correction. (4, Informative)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110854)

It is not a tax to see public channels it's a license fee to own and use a TV receiver.

This also exists in other European countries like Sweden.

Re:Correction. (5, Informative)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110914)

Indeed, this is not a tax.

Such a levy on accessing TV and radio exists in most Western European countries and it pays for the national broadcasters.
Something that's supported by a majority of the population in the bigger countries like the UK and Germany.

When you don't have a TV or radio you don't pay.

But this French proposal sounds differently, you pay regardless, even when you don't listen to music over the net.
Clearly le Président de la République is shacked up with an artist.

Re:Correction. (2)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111074)

It's actually a bit similar...
As long as you have a TV, you pay for the national channels, even if you do not watch them.
As long as you have internet access, the ISP will pay to help national music production, even if you do not listen to music on the internet (or to French music at all).

Re:Correction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111134)

That's horrifying.

Re:Correction. (5, Insightful)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:Correction. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111596)

We do have National Public Radio (NPR) that has multiple fund raising drives throughout the year. Many of the politicians are trying to get rid of it. They consider it a bastion of liberalism when it is in fact likely the most balanced news source available. I'm sure they consider their piss more valuable to society.

Re:Correction. (2)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111768)

That's horrifying.

And yet, this horrific setup is what brings us the BBC and the like, you know, commercially and politically independent television.

You can't be that naive. The Beeb is pretty much the in-house press organ for the Labour Party in the UK. There is no such thing as completely independent, non-partisan, non-biased media. Everyone has an ideology. Everyone picks a side. And that's fine, as long the media outlets in question are open about their biases. That doesn't mean that they can't do good journalism. The Guardian, the American Big Three, NPR, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, The Telegraph... all have a point of view, and all can do both good and bad journalism. But someone like The Guardian is much more honest and trustworthy than someone like the BBC, because you know up front where they stand. The rank and file at the Beeb are pretty much interchangeable in political views with anyone at the Guardian... the Beeb just doesn't admit that.

And it's easy to be "commercially independent" when the public is forced to pay your bills if they have a television, even if they just use their TV to watch DVD's and never watch your network.

Re:Correction. (2)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112420)

And it's easy to be "commercially independent" when the public is forced to pay your bills if they have a television, even if they just use their TV to watch DVD's and never watch your network.

Actually, the licence is to receive television broadcasts, not to watch DVDs or even possess a TV set. So no, you don't need a licence if you only watch DVDs. Watching live internet streams of stations that are also broadcast conventionally *does* need a licence though, even if you're not using an actual TV set to do it.

Re:Correction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38112028)

Of course, in the US you only get the commercial bullshit crap,

Nope. We get everything. We produce everything from Rush Limbaugh to Mumia Abu Jamal, and in major markets you can hear all of it. When I told my conservative friend I listened to KPFA from Berkeley, he thought it was corrupting me since I don't drink the Republican kool-aid on a lot of things. Then I countered with the fact that I listened to Limbaugh and Hannity sometimes too. The key word here is *listen* as oppose to *absorb and believe*.

As far as the level of culture is concerned, there is also plenty of that too. You can find symphony, ballet, etc. if you look. Most of us aren't looking; but it's there.

The USA is too just too friggin big to be monolithic.

Re:Correction. (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111274)

When you don't have a TV or radio you don't pay.

So all I'd have to do is refer to my 47" LG 47LW5600 as a "monitor", hook it up to my computer, and I'd be golden?

Re:Correction. (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111302)

Yes, although technology has advanced the critical element is having a detector as part of a receiver, rip out the tuner and you are golden.

Of course there are legal differences between nations.

Re:Correction. (1)

lordmetroid (708723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111586)

No, at least in Sweden, it is not a fee for owning a TV or a Radio, any machine with a channel-selector is sufficient for levying the fee, hence if you own anything like for example a TV-card for the Computer, a Receivers or a VCRs, you will have to pay the fee.

Re:Correction. (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111532)

It is too a tax. It's a tax on owning a TV / having the TV connected to the broadcast network. If you don't own a TV, you don't pay it, but it's still a tax - just like how you don't have to pay fuel taxes if you don't have a car (but it's still a tax). I really don't get the religious zealotry among Brits denying their TV tax.

The French tax is a tax based on having a computer hooked up to the internet, even if you never download music - 100% identical to how if you have a TV you are taxed to pay for the BBC, even if you never watch the BBC.

Re:Correction. (1)

JackDW (904211) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112292)

What is the big deal with calling the TV licence a tax?

If there was a "road fund licence", and you had to pay it in order to take your car on a public road, would you get really annoyed if people started calling it a "road tax"? If people called the little paper licence discs "tax discs"? If even the DVLA started calling it "road tax"?

The licence fee is plainly a tax. The BBC has a government-granted monopoly and is funded by tax levied via the licence fee.

This is not to say that such taxes are a bad thing. Tax money also pays for museums, art galleries and theatres. These are things that most people would not pay for if given a choice, but which are nevertheless recognised as important, culturally speaking. The BBC fits into this category. So, next time you are listening to Radio 1, or watching Strictly Come Dancing, just remember that it's culture, it's good for you, it's important, and it couldn't possibly exist in any form without the licence tax.

Re:Correction. (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111034)

If it's mandated, it's a tax. It a lot of countries you don't have an option not to pay.

Re:Correction. (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111174)

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.

tax to french music? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38110864)

I'm not sure how much of the internet infrastructure was really stood up by France...... if anything, they should be paying a tax to the US government & US Academia for developing the internet and most of the core technologies.

French music (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38110866)

Does France have any popular musicians? Does anyone outside of France listen to them?

Re:French music (2)

bman08 (239376) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110900)

Johnny Halliday stands to make a tidy penny here.

Re:French music (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110906)

Do you listen to music in other languages? No? Then get out from under your rock. There is more to music than the American Top 40 on Saturday mornings.

--
BMO

Re:French music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38110970)

Yeah, but regardless of your cultural or personal tastes in music, French music is pretty awful.

Re:French music (1, Funny)

planimal (2454610) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110986)

sure, but no one cares about that third world garbage

Re:French music (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111238)

America isn't considered "third world," so that top 40 stuff is just garbage.

Re:French music (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111308)

Touché :)

Re:French music (3, Informative)

Zorque (894011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110964)

Ever heard of a little group called Daft Punk? They're only platinum sellers, so I can see how you might have missed them.

(See also Phoenix, David Guetta, Alcest, etc.)

Re:French music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111184)

"No" would have sufficed.

Re:French music (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111198)

While the example does provide support for the existence of French music, it is arguably the case that the more prominent and lucrative French artists one can name, the less well justified some sort of special taxation mechanism to nurture and protect the delicate artists is... The arguments for such things usually involve, at least in part, the idea that local culture must be subsidized in the face of hegemonic-and-profitable foreign trash.

Re:French music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111624)

Air, Daft Punk, M83, Tahiti 80, Rinocerose, Telepopmusik, Discobitch, Mano Negra, Jean Michel Jarre, Yann Tiersen, etc...

Re:French music (2)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111048)

Does France have any popular musicians? Does anyone outside of France listen to them?

Yes and yes, obviously.

I listen to relatively unpopular music, and if it's not obvious I'm often unaware of the nationality of bands. But I have a few tracks by Daft Punk, one by Justice, an album by Vitalic, and I know they're all French. (That's relatively popular, as far as I'm concerned. Anyone heard of Die Form? They're French.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:French_musical_groups [wikipedia.org]

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to a gig/afterparty. Bands seem to be American, British and German.

Re:French music (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111172)

The real question is: will anyone but the most popular musicians see a penny of this?

Who can tell... (2)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110870)

There's absolutely no useful information in the article. How big is the tax? Who exactly are they taxing? How are they calculating the tax rate?

I have no problem with a very small tax for having an internet connection which pays for the arts. Someone has to pay for the arts, might as well be people who consume it via the internet. In my mind I'd rather have artists getting a small stipend from the government, when the alternative is sucking at the teat of the corporations.

Re:Who can tell... (3, Informative)

JPLR (1404551) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111008)

There is no such tax at all at the moment. President Sarkozy told to the press that this kind of tax could exist in the future. This means the government has to propose a law which it hadn't, that the parliament vote for it (there are at least two turns between the two houses if every PM agrees which is highly unlikely, and otherwise many turns until an agreement is reached) and finally that the government fund the law which means the chance that such a law would be implemented in very low.

Re:Who can tell... (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111014)

And who decides which artists get that tax revenue?

Re:Who can tell... (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111106)

I'd rather have an institution comprised of artists which determines which artists should receive a living stipend, rather than just having it be "whatever sells the best".

Re:Who can tell... (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111428)

Sounds like a recipe for really shitty art.

Re:Who can tell... (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111628)

>Sounds like a recipe for really shitty art.

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

I'm not sure about some committee deciding who's a good artist, though. It would probably be better to give every human a basic income, so that the ones passionate about their art could do it instead of getting McJobs.

Then you could have some committee too, but it wouldn't have as big of an impact.

And more mainstream commercial artists would of course get extra money from gigs and whatnot. Authors might have a harder time to get more pay from their work... If they couldn't get enough readings and paid talks and donations, they'd make the same as that guy who bangs the dishwasher with his genitalia all day as his art.

Re:Who can tell... (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111116)

A tax usually goes to the state.

Re:Who can tell... (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111954)

And who decides which artists get that tax revenue?

From TFA: "The Union des producteurs phonographiques francais independants (UPFI) praised the decision." ...so we already know where they think the money should be going.

My opinion: hands off the Internet. What percentage of recent (1945-2011) music has fallen into the Public Domain? Well? 0.00%. None. Nothing. So, for music to be legally used on the Internet, this has to be licensed. Since all the "collection agencies" are supposed to pass foreign artists' royalties over to their respective countries, we can assume that any French-owned royalties end up with the respective French agencies. That is where mr. Sarkozy should knock on a door and hold up his hand. This is the guy that gave us the three-strikes law. Now this guy wants to introduce some special ISP-tax... are there any French slashdotters? If so, please answer me: who in hell votes for this guy? Senile old grannies?

Re:Who can tell... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111028)

Well there is this thing called TVA (en_GB VAT, en_US Sales Tax, en_CA GST) which is 19.6% on top of the fee you pay to your ISP. So the claim that ISPs don't pay any tax to the French is false.

Re:Who can tell... (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111136)

it's the consumers that pay the TVA. the ISPs are mandated to levy it (you pay them and they transfer it to the gov). That said any corp pays taxes (Fr: taxes & impôts ) under different forms -whether enough or not that's an other debate-. So yeah, what he's saying is bullshit.

Re:Who can tell... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111060)

I think a more interesting question is, where is the tax going?

I mean, TV fee in UK is pretty obvious - it's what funds BBC. One can argue on whether it is a good return for the money or not, or whether it is ethical to fund it that way regardless of how good it is, but at least there's a clear something that people who pay the tax get in return. What do they get here?

Re:Who can tell... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111228)

It's the European equivalent of the National Endowment for the Arts.

European tradition is that ruling bodies sponsor arts. It goes back at least to the 16th century where royalty would become patrons of composers orchestras scientists you name it.

This is a way to pay for such things. It has nothing to do with commercial music.

Re:Who can tell... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111292)

That sounds more reasonable. The mention of "music industry" in the summary is what made me think of this more like those "piracy taxes" on blank media, where the money collected goes to private third parties.

Hold on (1)

Alworx (885008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110890)

...I don't get it.

"Giants of the Internet" don't pay taxes in France.

Ergo we tax ISPs (French companies, who already pay at least VAT, I'm sure) and give that money to the French RIAA!?

Re:Hold on (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112206)

Sounds like the tax is pocketed by the french government.

You might buy $50 in music from iTunes, but instead you download it.

Tax on that $50 is $5 so french government takes its sales tax on pirated items.

RIAA can sue you if they want a share. Kind of like taxing a radar detector I guess for lost speeding tickets.

Can I have a tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38110896)

I propose a tax to support the lifestyles of all anonymous cowards. Everyone on the internet has the possibility of posting as an anonymous coward, and therefore a tax needs to be in place supporting those of us who do.

Not part of the tax system (1)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110920)

The BBC Licence fee is wholly separate from the UK tax system. It is used to fund the BBC only and does not enter into the governments coffers

Re:Not part of the tax system (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111006)

but to me it looks like a tax, walks like a tax and quacks like a tax. Perhaps someone can articulate to me why it's not a tax.

Re:Not part of the tax system (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111342)

Because it's not a tax. It's a licence. Would you consider a gun licence a "gun tax"?

Re:Not part of the tax system (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111490)

because it's a windows licence fee....

A tax goes to the "general coffer" and is used as the government dems fit
A licence goes to "something specific" even if it is state mandated

A non state mandated licence the almost everybody is forced to pay is a monopolistic theft, it's illegal, unless the monopol is real cosy with the government

Re:Not part of the tax system (1)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111614)

Except the BBC is not a monopoly.

Re:Not part of the tax system (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111072)

And the tax on tea in the American colonies wasn't really a tax, it was just to make sure that the East India Company kept its fair share share of the tea market.

Re:Not part of the tax system (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111284)

And the tax on tea in the American colonies wasn't really a tax, it was just to make sure that the East India Company kept its fair share share of the tea market.

How'd that turn out for them, anyway?

Ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38110924)

Then I would feel it was my obligation to download as many mp3s as possible.

Am I missing something... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110942)

Is it truly the case that ISPs and such, with all their hardware, facilities, staff, and sales in France, somehow manage to avoid paying roughly the same taxes that other businesses operating there do? Or is our favorite undersized gallic weasel just lying...

Also, 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?

Re:Am I missing something... (3, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111020)

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:Am I missing something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111050)

France where a law was passsed that 25% of songs played had to be in the french language and wound up with one of Céline Dion's being played 9913 times in the year of introduction. The President of a country where the euro is made up of 100 cent should conside the law of unintended consequences.

Re:Am I missing something... (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111400)

While some people laugh at France's [1] conviction that art should be sponsored by the government,

There are two different things here. First, that ISPs are being taxed, and second, that the money is being put into funding music. I believe that taxing the Internet causes much more harm to the economy than the money that can be gained.

to me it does look like a more ethical alternative to copyright.

I fail to see how copyright is unethical. Sure, lifetime+70 years is as unethical as it can get, but that's problem with the implementation, not with the idea of copyright. I do think that reasonable copyright laws would be much better than no copyright at all. The problem with people paying flat tax and art being sponsored 100% by the government is that art would become independent of the people's demands.

I would much rather pay a flat art tax and not be censored on the Internet than endure any more copyright legislation.

So how is that working out for you with HADOPI and three strike laws?

Re:Am I missing something... (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111636)

I believe that taxing the Internet causes much more harm to the economy than the money that can be gained.

Why do you believe that? What I am saying, taxing the Internet does not even begin to compare with censoring the Internet. I would much rather have the former. IMHO, it is strictly better than Copyright. Copyright is a way to reward publishers, distributors, and artists (in that order) for their work. The money is being obtained at the distribution stage. There is some consistency to taxing the raw Internet access (while abolishing non-commercial copyright): they would still be getting money out of the distribution stage, sans the intellectual monopoly. Here's a more specific [stallman.org] proposal of the same nature.

I fail to see how copyright is unethical. Sure, lifetime+70 years is as unethical as it can get,

Yes, that's enough to vindicate my statement, isn't it? But beyond the obscene length of the copyright, there is also the matter of domain. Is it ethical to allow to copyright research pertaining to a life-saving drug? Or a piece of software that can save billions of dollars for a developing country? As soon as you leave the domain of pure entertainment, ugly ethical questions come up, especially with regards to non-commercial infringement. I agree with you on this narrow ground though: something like a 5-year copyright on works of pure art is perfectly fine. And a 5-year copyright on anything is suboptimal, but could be a decent compromise.

Re:Am I missing something... (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111910)

Why do you believe that?

Because the IT sector is a huge driver of economy, and infrastructure should be supported not taxed.

Here's a more specific proposal of the same nature.

This doesn't provide a solution to distribute the money. Querying 100000 people would cost more than the whole "art budget".

Yes, that's enough to vindicate my statement, isn't it? But beyond the obscene length of the copyright, there is also the matter of domain. Is it ethical to allow to copyright research pertaining to a life-saving drug? Or a piece of software that can save billions of dollars for a developing country?

Is having food unethical because there are starving people in the world? These moral questions are not specific to copyright. Allowing only "non-commercial infringement" would not solve the problem, as at one point or another every commercial licencer has to sell to consumers to get paid. At the end of the day, the consumers are the last in the chain for every work, as they are the only ones providing money for the industry.

Re:Am I missing something... (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112120)

The problem with people paying flat tax and art being sponsored 100% by the government is that art would become independent of the people's demands.

The problem with the converse proposition is that art will be what ppl want --to buy--, forcing artist to create to please a clientele. Everybody end up copying everybody just to be rich. Art in al of this? dead and buried
Art isn't just a merchandise you can exchange in a market. PPL who want to create, will create regardless of demand and offe. B/c simply they feel the need to create something. Anything else just follows from that and secondary to the artist.

Re:Am I missing something... (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112352)

In my opinion, art is a form of communication, and "l'art pour l'art" is as pointless as talking to yourself. A real artist does factor its audience in the piece, and I would argue that an audience is as important in a creation of a piece of art as the artists themselves.

Re:Am I missing something... (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111510)

the issue is not with the ISP, but with "content providers" who make trucload of cash in one country and pay taxes (or mostly avoid to pay taxes in another)...

Google makes probably 40 to 60% of it's income in Europe, and pays almost nothing.
Same for most large content providers...

Doesn't mean that this tax/licence is a good idea, but at least it has some rationale.

You tax where the money is . . . (3, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:You tax where the money is . . . (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111090)

in fact they wanted to tax Google because Google makes WAY more money than any ISP EVER made

but Google is very powerful, and the government is always controlled by the most powerful.

so the tax will go instead on the ISPs.

note that both ways are wrong, of course

Re:You tax where the money is . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111404)

Too add to your point about the nature of who is effected by taxation, I'd also like to point out that even if the cost magically stopped at the ISPs and they could somehow absorb it with some magical source of wealth external to customers, this would still not benefit most citizens. Taxation is a mechanism of the state, so those who thrive best in such an atmosphere are those who can bribe government for privilege to avoid any extortion. The productivity turns away from serving consumers and instead becomes unproductive by serving the state. Thus taxation has a tendency to select for companies that focus more on political pull, rather than efficiency, innovation, and productivity. Tax them, and the ones that know the tax loopholes better, know who to ask for utility monopoly protection, know how to get on the right subcommittee for public 'investment' subsidies, they will come out ahead against the ones that focus their efforts on offering better services to consumers.

France produces Music? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111096)

France produces Music?

Re:France produces Music? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111196)

If you can hear an accordion - it's not music!

Re:France produces Music? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111674)

Maybe Nicolas Sarkozy is trying to gain favours to help his wife get back into the music industry...

Why not tax music sales? (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111120)

Why tax the ISPs to pay for music?
Why not tax music sales to pay for music? Would make more sense.
Or why not tax the recording industry to finance the internet?

Re:Why not tax music sales? (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111200)

Given that a large fraction of traffic on the Internet is music and movie torrents, shouldn't the government be taxing the media companies to subsidise the ISPs?

Tax-free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111168)

they do not pay a penny in tax to France

Somehow I find it strange to believe that there's not a Value Added Tax or Sales Tax on bills that French ISPs send to their customers in France. People are prepared to pay these bills if there is actually something to do on the Internet, not just read the French Government website.

Starting with the first Berne Convention and Victor Hugo, it's actually the French that are to blame for all this Life+50years business! The French alone. Back then (1886), the French were what the USA is now: the big bully on the school yard. It's not hard to believe with HADOPI 1+2/three-strikes etc. that they are at it again. Sarkozy firmly in Big Content's pocket... particularly Vivendi.

Vivendi S.A. Subsidiaries:
Canal+ Group
Universal Music Group
Activision Blizzard (60%)

Makes sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111252)

... iff you assume that ISPs can somehow pass on the cost of the tax to, oh, google or something.

And lo and behold, they can. But we don't want that; we call it "net neutrality".

Like in the USoA, like everywhere else: The peeps in government are completely clueless to this "technology" thing. Yes, I implied that Sarko is spectacularly clueless. We already know he's a politician so that's neither news nor libel. But it does mean that he's that painfully stupid or perhaps that he doesn't really like net neutrality after all? Or both. You decide.

silly taxes (1)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111554)

The problem with all these hidden taxes is the government infrastructure it takes to run it. A few simple straight forward taxes that everyone pays their fair share is really all we need.

You could argue some small taxes are necessary to cover specific purposes that are not used by the general population; for example aircraft fuel tax pays for airport upkeep and the FAA. Too bad here in the US they want to turn that simple tax into lots of little taxes, creating a whole new tax bureaucracy in the process.

When will the ISP's cut off (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111622)

the governments? You can use the TOS and say you were interferring with operation of the network and business, so we cut you off.

Or all ISP's shut down the networks for a day. See the chaos the world fall into.

Occupy France (because it's easy) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38112398)

France: We surrender RIAA!!! Its what we do!!!

Fuck'n pushovers. They deserve to be occupied by the RIAA.

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