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Blogger Tells Microsoft to Put Up or Shut Up on Ta

newscloud The Royalty Tax Definition Thru 2010 (5 comments)

And, actually - according to the law through 2010... the tax on royalties applied to worldwide revenue... RCW 82.04.2907 - Tax on royalties from granting intangible rights (1) Upon every person engaging within this state in the business of receiving income from royalties or charges in the nature of royalties for the granting of intangible rights, such as copyrights, licenses, patents, or franchise fees, the amount of tax with respect to such business shall be equal to the gross income from royalties or charges in the nature of royalties from the business multiplied by the rate of 0.484 percent. Microsoft got around it by claiming to record the sales in Reno, Nevada, not in Washington State.

more than 2 years ago
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Proposing a Model For Locally Imposed Net Neutrality

newscloud Section 7 – Exploration of the City of Seatt (153 comments)

Section 7 – Exploration of the City of Seattle as a Direct Broadband Provider - If broadband internet access service providers providing service to residents of the City of Seattle violate this ordinance in ways which evidence a pattern and practice on behalf of those providers to interfere with the rights secured by this ordinance, the City Council of the City of Seattle shall explore the potential for the City of Seattle to become a direct broadband internet access service provider to the residents of the City of Seattle.

more than 2 years ago
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Proposing a Model For Locally Imposed Net Neutrality

newscloud Re:There is no 'right to Internet access' (153 comments)

The United Nations has proposed to make Internet access a human right. This push was made when it called for universal access to basic communication and information services at the UN Administrative Committee on Coordination. In 2003, during the World Summit on the Information Society, another claim for this was made. In some countries such as Estonia,[3] France,[4] Finland,[5], the United Kingdom Greece[6] and Spain,[7] Internet access has already been made a human right. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_Internet_access

more than 2 years ago
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Proposing a Model For Locally Imposed Net Neutrality

newscloud Re:Learn about state preemption (153 comments)

Maybe but in Pennsylvania, drilling companies have backed away: "Major gas exploration companies such as Chesapeake and Cabot are reducing their drilling significantly — and others like Talisman Energy have shifted some of that drilling to places like Texas where taxes are close to nil and where there is little opposition to the drilling unlike western Pennsylvania where environmentalists have come out strongly against the drilling and the city of Pittsburgh has passed an all-out ban." http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/01/24/drilling-companies-reduce-investment-in-pennsylvania/

more than 2 years ago
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Proposing a Model For Locally Imposed Net Neutrality

newscloud Re:Learn about state preemption (153 comments)

This came up in a thread with Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing, CELDF's Thomas Linzey replied "There are many things that currently prevent us from engaging in this new type of activism - one is preemption (both at the federal and state level); Dillon's Rule (the flip side of preemption which treats municipalities as children compared to the state "parent"), and corporate "rights" (that activism such as this violates corporate constitutionally embedded rights, including bill of rights and 14th amendment protections, as well as commerce clause "rights" under the constitution). Our organizing designs municipal laws to frontally challenge each of those impediments." Ultimately it comes down to who should decide in communities? Should corporate lobbyists influencing congress set the law and should we abide by these laws? Or, should we challenge them?

more than 2 years ago
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Proposing a Model For Locally Imposed Net Neutrality

newscloud Re:Could work (153 comments)

This kind of ordinance makes sense once you realize how colonized by corporate lobbying our federal govt has become. If it weren't for legalized "corruption" inherent in Congress, we might not need more local law.

more than 2 years ago
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Proposing a Model For Locally Imposed Net Neutrality

newscloud Re:The Rights of Nature (153 comments)

Under the Clean Water Act, you only have legal standing to file a suit if you own property along a river or water system that's been damaged. You can only sue to recover monies equivalent to your loss e.g. you can no longer eat fish from the river. Monies recovered go to the Federal government, not to your local ecosystem for cleanup. With Rights for Nature, anyone shall have the authority to sue with an action in equity brought in a court of appropriate jurisdiction. See section 5b of the net neutrality ordinance.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Evading Tax on Washington State IT Sales

newscloud Minor correction needed (1 comments)

"providing it cover to evade" should read ", a subsidiary the company uses as a cover to evade"

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Tax Dodge At Issue In Washington State

newscloud Details about Washington State Royalty Tax Law (681 comments)

Since a lot of commenters on my blog misunderstand Wa. State Tax Law, I've posted text of the statue there under Notes for commenters at the bottom. http://blog.reifman.org/2009/09/road-balanced-budget-leads-to-microsoft.html * The law does not distinguish between license sales intrastate, interstate or international * By transferring it's software to Reno for sale from Nevada, Microsoft is accomplishing a "sleight of hand" which probably would not pass muster in Washington State court. I also addressed a lot of common arguments people make against Microsoft paying its taxes here - back in 2008: Top Reader Excuses for Microsoft's Tax Avoidance (Idealog) http://www.idealog.us/2008/02/top-reader-excu.html

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Tax Dodge Again at Issue in Washington S

newscloud Using old tax rate, MSFT would owe $2.08B (2 comments)

If the Washington State Legislature hadn't bowed to industry lobbyists and cut the tax rate by more than 2/3, Microsoft would owe $2.08 billion.

more than 4 years ago
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Facebook's Beacon: Creepy When It Happens To You

newscloud Facebook published it to my profile anyway (1 comments)

Even though I thought I told Facebook to remove the transaction, it published it to my profile anyway. The user interface is deliberately misleading.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Only Way to Stop Phonebook Deliveries in Seattle is to Give Up Your Privacy

newscloud newscloud writes  |  about a year ago

newscloud writes "Seattle will soon shut down its popular phonebook opt-out website as a result of a costly settlement with Yellow Pages publishers. Going forward, the only way to stop unwanted phonebook deliveries will be to visit the industry's opt out site and provide them with your personal information. They will share it with their clients, most of whom are direct marketing agencies, who in turn commit not to use it improperly. The Federal Court of Appeals ruled in October that The Yellow Pages represent protected free speech of corporations (including Canada's Yellow Media Inc.); defending and settling the lawsuit cost Seattle taxpayers $781,503. The city said the program's popularity led to a reduction of 2 million pounds of paper waste annually."
Link to Original Source
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Seattle Posts Model Ordinance for Net Neutrality

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 2 years ago

newscloud writes "Envision Seattle has posted a model legal ordinance (pdf) for communities wishing to enshrine status quo net neutrality as law. The ordinance is co-authored by the legal group that helped Pittsburgh's city council ban fracking and corporate personhood last November. The concept of local municipalities defying FCC authority is troubling to some but the group counters that FCC authority actually violates certain rights that we hold as people, and the right to govern our own communities as an element of the right to community and local self-government. If we have a 'right to internet access' or a 'right to communicate' via these pathways, there are certain actions that can be taken by government which infringe on those rights. In our view, it's up to us to create these rights frameworks, and then enforce them at higher levels."
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Twelve Gmail Ideas to Revolutionize Email (Again)

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 2 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "Is it just me or is the user interface and our approach to working with email mostly unchanged in the past 20 years? We have Gist that scouts my inbox to keep me updated on news about my contacts, but that's not really useful unless I'm in sales. Here are twelve ideas for taking gmail to the next level and trying to change the way we live and work with email. Some of my personal favorites include smart navigation (#2), biodegradable messages (#6), plan my meetings (#4) and give me back my evenings and weekends (#9)."
Link to Original Source
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Gates' Dad's Initiative Would Tax Microsoft's Rich

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 3 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "On Wednesday, 84 year old William Gates Sr., Bill Gates' father, announced a ballot initiative in Washington State to establish an income tax on high earners which would raise $1 billion for education and public health. Ironically, if the initiative passes (initial polls show 66% approval), Microsoft's employees earning more than $200,000 annually will be picking up the tab for the company's aggressive lobbying and tax tactics. Earlier this month, led by Rep. Ross Hunter, a 17 year former Microsoft manager, and assisted by last minute threats by Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, the Legislature gave Microsoft a $100 million annual tax cut and an estimated $1.25 billion amnesty on its 13 year Nevada tax dodge. To balance the state's $2.8 billion deficit, it cut $120 million from K-12 education and $73 million from university budgets. It also raised the general tax rate 20% on businesses and created new '7-11' taxes on the Average Joe on beer, soda and candy. Asked if his son was on board with the tax initiative, Gates Sr. said, improbably, they hadn't discussed it. 'I don't know what my son is going to do."
Link to Original Source
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Gates' Father's Initiative at Odds with Microsoft

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 3 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "On Wednesday, 84 year old William Gates Sr., Bill Gates' father, announced a ballot initiative in Washington State to establish an income tax on high earners which would raise $1 billion for education and public health. Ironically, if the initiative passes (initial polls show 66% approval), Microsoft's employees earning more than $200,000 annually will be picking up the tab for the company's aggressive lobbying and tax tactics. Earlier this month, led by Rep. Ross Hunter, a 17 year former Microsoft manager, and assisted by last minute threats by Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, the Legislature gave Microsoft a $100 million annual tax cut and an estimated $1.25 billion amnesty on its 13 year Nevada tax dodge. To balance the state's $2.8 billion deficit, it cut $120 million from K-12 education and $73 million from university budgets. It also raised the general tax rate 20% on businesses and created new '7-11' taxes on the Average Joe on beer, soda and candy. Asked if his son was on board with the tax initiative, Gates Sr. said they hadn't discussed it. 'I don't know what my son is going to do."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft Threats to Legislature Seal Huge Tax Cut

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 3 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "As the Washington State Legislature wound down its special session to close a $2.8 billion fiscal deficit, Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith successfully used a carefully timed press conference making veiled threats about tax rates as a concern regarding future job expansion in Washington State. Led by Finance Chair Rep. Ross Hunter, a 17 year former Microsoft manager, the Legislature gave Microsoft two huge gifts: a $100 million annual tax cut and an estimated $1.25 billion in amnesty on its 13 year Nevada tax dodge. To make ends meet, the Legislature cut $120 million from K-12 education and $73 million from university budgets. It also raised the general tax rate on businesses from 1.5% to 1.8% and created new '7-11' taxes on the Average Joe on beer, soda and candy. The benefits of 4,700 at-risk unemployed people with disabilities will expire in the coming year. No word on how cash-strapped Washington plans to address Smith's concerns about its educational system and transportation infrastructure. On Wednesday, Gates' father, Bill Sr. announced a citizen initiative to replace the business tax with an income tax on high earners (>$200,000/yr). Asked if his son was on board with the tax initiative, Gates Sr. said, improbably, they hadn't discussed it. 'I don't know what my son is going to do.' Governor Gregoire said this isn't over: once the budget is signed into law, 'there will be real cuts, there will be real people losing jobs.' Yesterday, Microsoft reported record quarterly revenue. It now has $39.6 billion in cash and short term investments."
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"Enemies Fountain" May Kill Microsoft Bridge Deal

newscloud newscloud writes  |  about 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "A wide-ranging agreement between Microsoft and Washington State to rebuild the 47 year old Evergreen Floating Point Bridge and settle its Nevada tax debt may be killed as a result of citizen complaints about the new Seattle Center International Fountain design which would feature "drowning effigies of Microsoft’s enemies including Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, open source innovator Linus Torvalds, former Borland software CEO Phillippe Kahn, President of the European Union Herman Van Rompuy, Professor Lawrence Lessig, and former U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson." However, word that the company will allow scuba diving on Sundays may resolve the standoff."
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Microsoft Settles Nevada Tax Dodge w/ Wash. State

newscloud newscloud writes  |  about 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "Microsoft has settled its thirteen year, billion dollar Nevada tax dodge, by agreeing to contribute funds to rebuild the 520 floating bridge and renovating the Seattle Center, home of the 1960 World's Fair. 520 is the longest floating bridge in the world but nearly 40 years old and in need of replacement. Critics say Microsoft's privatization of the commons at Seattle Center is just another sweetheart deal for the state's most profitable company. The deal could yet be killed if the controversial fountain design is not approved by the city's landmarks preservation board."
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Microsoft Evading Tax on Washington State IT Sales

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "Seattle's new mayor took the oath of office Monday and switched from his beloved Mac to a city-issued Windows PC. Seattle's IT Director Bill Schrier says it's great for the city to use the software of one of our great local companies. However, it turns out that while Microsoft's software is built in Washington, 85 Washington cities and state agencies purchase its software through a contract with Microsoft Licensing GP of Nevada, a subsidiary the company uses to evade $1.24 billion in state wholesale taxes. Ironically, Washington State's agreement with Dell to deliver Microsoft's licenses explicitly requires the Texas-based PC manufacturer to pay a related tax on its sales. Facing a $2.6 billion deficit, Washington's legislature is debating ending tax exemptions on candy and chewing gum which might reduce the deficit by $28 million next year."
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Microsoft Evading Tax on Washington State IT Sales

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "Seattle's new mayor took the oath of office Monday and assumedly switched from his beloved Mac for a city-issued PC running Microsoft Windows. Seattle's IT Director says it's great for the city to use the software of one of our great local companies. However, it turns out that while Microsoft's software is built in Washington, at least 85 Washington cities and state agencies purchase its software from Microsoft Licensing GP of Nevada providing it cover to evade $1.24 billion in royalty taxes. Humorously, Washington State's agreement with Dell to deliver Microsoft's licenses explicitly requires the Texas-based PC manufacturer to pay a related tax on its sales. Facing a $2.6 billion deficit, Washington's legislature is debating ending tax exemptions on candy and chewing gum which might reduce the deficit by $28 million next year."
Link to Original Source
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Cyber-Czar's Own Website Still Under Construction

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "Apparently the corporate website for Howard A. Schmidt, the new Cyber Security Czar, remains badly under construction. While the Washington Post reports "Schmidt's resume reflects experience in the private sector, law enforcement and government," his website would not get him in the door for an interview in most private sector IT firms. The site is powered by 1&1's Website Builder but is unfinished. While many of us own domains that we don't run completed sites on, this appears to be the home page for his R&H Security Consulting LLC. Schmidt's appointment was reported on Slashdot earlier today. He was previously hired by the Bush Administration as an advisor on cyber security issues."
Link to Original Source
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Cyber-Security Czar's Website Under Construction

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "Apparently the corporate website for the new Cyber Security Czar, Howard A. Schmidt (reported earlier today on Slashdot) remains under construction. While the Washington Post reports "Schmidt's resume reflects experience in the private sector, law enforcement and government," his website would not get him in the door for an interview in most private sector IT firms. He apparently used 1&1's Website Builder but never finished the job. While many of us own domains that we don't run completed sites on, this appears to be the home page for his R&H Security Consulting LLC. Schmidt was previously hired by the Bush Administration as an advisor on cyber security issues."
Link to Original Source
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Is This American Life Overspending on Podcast?

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "This American Life host Ira Glass is asking donors to help cover its $130,000 annual expense for podcasting bandwidth. What technical solutions do Slashdot readers recommend for popular public radio shows to reduce their online distribution costs? I installed open source Miro and downloaded the latest TAL episode in two minutes. How hard would it be to deliver a custom version of Miro that auto-subscribes to the show? Should donors be asked to pour good money into bad technical solutions or is there a better way?"
Link to Original Source
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This American Life Podcast Bandwidth Costs $130k

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "I was surprised to hear Ira Glass ask for donations to cover This American Life's $130,000 annual expenses in podcasting bandwidth. Firstly, I thought Apple paid for the bandwidth costs of iTunes podcasts. Then, I wondered why popular shows like this would shy from using BitTorrent for distributing its podcast. In less than two minutes, I installed Miro and began listening to This Life's latest, #1 Party School. Why doesn't the show create a custom version of Miro that auto-subscribes to the show on installation? Should donors pour good money after bad costly technical solutions — or am I missing something? Has telco propaganda successfully poisoned innovation on BitTorrent?"
Link to Original Source
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Seattle is a PC, but its Mayor-Elect is a Mac

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "Located just outside Seattle, Microsoft casts a long shadow over local government. After the city's outgoing Mayor held a large party to celebrate the completion of its six month long migration to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, officials were surprised when the incoming Mayor-elect's "staffers saw the Blackberries and PCs being provided for them, [and] asked the city for Macs and iPhones instead." The city plans to allow for iPhones but the new mayor has since agreed to switch to Windows to save costs. IT Director Bill Schrier says, 'something that I think city government should encourage is use of the local company and the local products'. Ironically, these contracts are likely inked with Microsoft Licensing GP of Nevada, the subsidiary Microsoft uses to evade Washington State's software licensing tax. Revenue from this tax would otherwise provide for state-funded, in-city services such as schools, health care, et al."
Link to Original Source
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Mayor-Elect McGinn is a Mac, Seattle a PC

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "After celebrating the completion of a six month citywide migration from legacy messaging software to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, the city's incoming mayor elect Mike McGinn asked the IT department for Macs and iPhones instead. The city plans to allow for iPhones but the new mayor has since agreed to switch to Windows to save costs. The city's IT director Bill Schrier says, 'something that I think city government should encourage is use of the local company and the local products'. It's ironic since these long term licensing deals are likely inked with Microsoft Licensing GP of Nevada, thereby giving Microsoft an excuse to evade the state's royalty tax that would otherwise contribute to city services."
Link to Original Source
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Broadband Rights & The Killer App of 1900

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "Tech writer Glenn Fleishman compares the arguments against affordable, high speed, broadband Internet access in each home to arguments made against providing for common access to electricity in 1900 e.g. "...electric light is not a necessity for every member of the community. It Is not the business of any one to see that I use electricity, or gas, or oil in my house, or even that I use any form of artificial light at all." Says Fleishman, "Electricity should go to people who had money, not hooked up willy-nilly to everyone...Like electricity, the notion of whether broadband is an inherent right and necessity of every citizen is up for grabs in the US. Sweden and Finland have already answered the question: It’s a birthright" In the meantime, DIY: cut your cable bill."
Link to Original Source
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Amanda Congdon Rules on Microsoft's Tax Evasion

newscloud newscloud writes  |  more than 4 years ago

newscloud (1037538) writes "Former Rocketboom host, Amanda Congdon throws down the gavel in Sometimes Daily's Internet Justice hearing on Microsoft's $1.24 billion Washington State tax scheme. So far, only Fake Steve Ballmer has responded to requests to open the company's local tax records. 3,088 Washington taxpayers paid the tax last year that Microsoft dodges (suckers!). Separately, Washington's governor proposed to cut services and raise taxes (on residents) to close the state's $2.6 billion deficit. Earlier, Slashdot reported on Microsoft's use of Washington courts to defend it's Nevada subsidiary. p.s. Could someone please buy Amanda a gavel? She's ruling with a meat tenderizer."
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