[LINK] France to tax I.T. devices to raise copyright levy
Tue, 16 Jan 2001 17:02:18 +1000
The problem with levy and statutory licensing systems is that copyright
owners feel like they're losing control (probably because they are in fact
losing control). It also reduces their ability to charge differential
pricing depending on the kind of content (eg "premium" content would be
charged for at a higher rate than other content). Finally, it tends to
focus copyright ownership back on creators rather than distributors
(because it highlights the fact that distributors might actually be
superfluous in the supply chain, so why should they get the right to
None of these seem like 'bad' problems to me. :-)
Copyright consumers don't tend to like the systems because they perceive
that they're paying for something that they're not receiving/paying for
someone else to "break the law".
This is part of a wider issue. people don't like tax. they seem to love
the idea they can opt out of society: don't like nuclear? fine! just don't
pay 10% of the electiric bill. Don't like wine? great! if I don't buy it
I don't pay the wine equalization tax!
I don't see any hypothicated tax getting round this problem, and I don't
see why we should, as society in the large, run away from this method of
taxation on that basis.
And frankly, after a while, I doubt if most people care or notice set
against other costs of production or activity.
Manufacturers of the media/equipment don't like it because it means they
have an extra administrative overhead (for the collection of the levy) for
which they receive no benefit.
Lesser evils do sometimes get borne. For instance, I'm sure the Tire
manufacturers and fitters would prefer the carowners to have to pay the
tire levy by rates and not at time of fit or purchase. Tant pis!
In short, levies/statutory licensing systems don't usually get much support
from the broader community.
But they do exist, and they can be seen to work, dispite the misgivings.
George Michaelson | DSTC Pty Ltd
Email: email@example.com | University of Qld 4072
Phone: +61 7 3365 4310 | Australia
Fax: +61 7 3365 4311 | http://www.dstc.edu.au