All right, readers, we're sure some among you participate in the
downloading of somewhat dicey material (read: copyrighted). If you
could have a license to illegally download as much as you wanted - and
yes, we suppose, if you had a license, it would no longer be illegal - how
would you feel about it?
On the other hand, if you had to pay such a fee (tax?) even if you didn't download illegally, how would you feel about it?
Those are the questions on the table as rumors fly about such a possible fee in the U.K. The Independent
reports that today John Hutton, the Business Secretary, and Andy
Burnham, the Culture Secretary, will unveil proposals which include
ISPs sending letters to thousands of repeat offenders, and also the
"downloading tax." The tax would be £20 - £30 (or about $20 - $40).
to reports, the ISPs who have already agreed to these terms are: Virgin
Media, BT, Orange, Tiscali, Carphone Warehouse and BSkyB.
While the letter idea makes sense (since discussions over a so-called "Three Strikes, You're Out (of Broadband)" law have been ongoing for some time), the tax - that doesn't make much sense.
Peter Jenner, a longtime music industry figure - who has supported such a plan - said:
"If you get enough people paying a small enough amount of money you can turn around the wheels of the music industry."
while the rumors fly, it appears the music industry has a better feel
for what will and won't sell in terms of the public. While noting that
the letter campaign is indeed going to happen, British Phonographic
Industry (BPI) CEO Geoff Taylor said:
"A levy is not an
issue under discussion. It has not been discussed between us and
government and as far as we are aware it is not on the table. There
should be effective mechanisms in place (to deter file-sharing) and as
long as they are effective, we don't mind what they are."
good news: a tax is not on the table. The bad news: they were thinking
about it. Probability of something in the future? Not at all unlikely.