A "Taxing" Proposition for Music Downloaders?

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).

According 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."
Still, 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."
The 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.
Tags:  music, Download, Tax, DOW, OS, pro, taxi