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Re: [d@DCC] Fwd: Say no to an Internet tax
From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_ c11.ca>
On Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 12:41 AM, krishna e bera <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > I think i'm willing to pay an ISP bandwidth tax similar to the blank > media tax, but *only if* it makes me immune to copyright infringement > (aka sharing) lawsuits and prosecutions. (Legal enforcement of DRM > should be removed regardless.) Obviously, not all bandwidth is > copyright infringement just as not all blank media are used for that, > but some oft-quoted figures said bittorrent is ~40% of internet usage. > Tax policy can never be explained in a soundbite. I'll toss some points on why an internet tax to subsidise copyright holders is bad economic policy, but suspect I'll have to create a longer form one later. The comparison with the blank media levy is appropriate, as it is bad economic policy for the same reason. As in that case it is being proposed by creators who are the part of the economy that will be hardest hit by this harmful economic policy: yes, I'm saying the people asking for this policy will be greatly harmed by it, and this is a large part of why I oppose the policy. Tax policy has a number of purposes: * To gain revenue for the government to carry out the workings of government and pay for government services. * Through tax reductions, tax expenditures (exemptions, deductions, credits) and other subsidies (grants, etc) encourage behaviour that is seen as beneficial to society. * Through tax increases, and reductions of subsidies (tax expenditures, grants, etc) discourage behaviour that is seen as harmful to society. For Canadian creativity the policy should be focused on the dual (some claim duel, but I disagree) purpose of copyright law, which I believe is articulated well in article 27 of the UN UDHR Article 27. (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author. That is, participation in culture which includes access to the creativity of others to enjoy and build upon, and for creators to receive moral and material (ie: money) rewards. Media/distribution taxes harm all aspects of this policy: * It does not provide incentives to distributors to make content more easily available to audiences. This is why I believe that services such as Netflix should be encouraged through tax policy while mechanism to restrict access such as encrypted media or exclusive licensing should be discouraged through tax policy. (Netflix should be subsidised not taxed, and encrypted media should be taxed not subsidised) * It does not reward the authors whose works are being enjoyed, and is subject to abusive statistics which most often subsidise the wrong entities on the backs of those whose works are actually being enjoyed and built upon. * It encourages less accurately surveyed access methods which reduces the validity of the statistics used for distribution. With a tax in place fewer people will subscribe to Netflix and instead use things like the Exodus plug-in for Kodi on set-top boxes. This is true regardless of whether it is accompanied by a change to copyright law: if people feel they are already paying to access unauthorised sources then more will do so because the moral aspect is gone, regardless of any change in the legality. One of the advantages of a move away from legacy broadcast to streaming (and equivalents for other types of creativity) is that distributors have accurate statistics as to what is being accessed. This will further encourage more creativity that audiences want, which should be a goal of cultural and tax policy. Again, a blanket tax on the Internet and media runs counter to these goals. I will put more thought into a future article, but you get the idea. This policy will reduce revenue to creators and discourage the creation of more works that audiences want. I find it amusing that you used a 40% BitTorrent statistic, which is an example of the bogus statistics I'm speaking of. * BitTorrent is a distribution mechanism, and like blank CDs has a percentage that is authorised and a percentage unauthorised. You posted it as if all was unauthorised, like the claim that some labels made that all blank CD usage was infringing -- ignoring the fact that software and other things (including music) where legally distributed that way. * Your statistic is widely outdated, and changed in ways that are quite informative. It turns out that lawful streaming services like Netflix displace unauthorised use of BitTorrent for media distribution. The more easily content that is available from lawful services, the less infringement. I didn't see the number but I can guarantee that there was a jump in unauthorised streaming when Netflix started blocking VPN's for Canadians. Region restrictions provide incentives for infringement, and thus should be discouraged in government policy. If copyright infringement is something we as a society think is bad (And all governments claim they believe this) then we should be using tax policy to discourage rather than encourage it. An Internet tax would encourage harmful behaviour (whether legal or not), while we should be implementing policies such as subsidies and other favourable policies (such as mandating that North America be a single region for any regional restrictions, such that any Netflix content available to US citizens are equally available to Canadians) to services which replace infringement. Policies which encourage infringement (IE: exclusive "broadcast" windows where content is available on broadcast/BDUs but not streaming) should be discouraged (taxed and/or reductions in deductions/subsidies). Feel free to tell me what is wrong with the above trade-off... > I believe your conclusion was wrong because you only thought of it as a short-term trade-off for audiences. You didn't put any longer-term analysis into the cultural and economic impacts such as considering the massive harmful impact it would have to Canadian creative sectors and thus the reduction of the quality/quantity of new works available to audiences. -- Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/> Please help us tell the Canadian Parliament to protect our property rights as owners of Information Technology. Sign the petition! http://l.c11.ca/ict/ "The government, lobbied by legacy copyright holders and hardware manufacturers, can pry my camcorder, computer, home theatre, or portable media player from my cold dead hands!" http://c11.ca/own _______________________________________________ Discuss mailing list Discuss@list.digital-copyright.ca http://list.digital-copyright.ca/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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