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Should a tax be levied to pay for music downloads?
Tuesday 21 September 2004 19:20:00 by Andrew Ferguson

BBC News Online has an interesting idea from Andrew Orlowski on how illegal downloads of music can be stopped. The proposal is to allow music downloads freely on broadband connections, but to levy a tax on all broadband connections that would then be used to pay the artists.

Andrew Orlowski raised this as an idea at the Interactive In The City conference that is currently being held in Manchester. He goes on to suggest that Digital Rights Management will never halt illegal copying and downloading, plus the problem of controlling P2P swapping of music grows ever more complex. Shortly the proliferation of home wireless networks may also mean neighbours are sharing material without ever using a central server or even an ISP network.

This is fortunately just an idea, taxing a broadband connection for music downloads is perhaps just a step away from further taxes for video downloads, and maybe one day a license to run a connection at all. One can foresee many problems with a blanket tax, should business connections pay it? What about people who do not download music? One big issue we can see is how does the music industry split the revenue between artists, will it just end up lining the pockets of the few already wealthy artists, with new and upcoming bands seeing nothing. Or worse just end up adding to the profit margins of record labels rather than going to artists.

It would be interesting to see what others think on this topic, feel free to visit our General Chatter section on the BBS to discuss this, and other broadband related topics.

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