Lobby group supports Labours Internet tax

Stuff reports:

A “digital content levy” being evaluated by could bail out the news media industry as well as supporting local programming, says the Coalition for Better Broadcasting.

The charitable trust was established last year by people associated with a campaign to save TV

NZ7 and obtain better funding Radio New Zealand, and said it would soon be calling for members.

Chief executive , a freelance television director, said it would support the idea of a levy on telcos “as a viable way to fund public service media in New Zealand, as levies already do in Europe”

Why stop at public service media (generally code for left wing shows that fight neoliberalism). Why not also tax Internet users to fund the music industry? And also tax Internet users to fund the bookstores? And also tax Internet users to fund organic farming.

Thomas said telcos charged customers “quite a lot” for access to the internet and online content. “Yet the people who make the content receive none of that direct payment. It’s unfair that while telcos do very nicely, the content creators, including news organisations like Fairfax [publishers of Stuff], struggle to develop a viable business model.

Let’s look at the logic of Mr Thomas. First of all ISPs charge for access to the Internet, not specific content. They provide access, not content. Content providers choose to voluntarily make their content available online – some charge for it, some do not.  It is their choice.

I may go into town to go shopping. If I pay a taxi to take me into town so I can access the shops, Mr Thomas seems to think the taxi firm should have to pay the shops for the privilege of delivering customers to them.

If I take a bus to a public library, the bus company should pay the library for me accessing their free content.

“Paywalls are rare and even more rarely successful. A levy could be a great way to close the loop and solve several problems at once,” Thomas said.

Forcing people to pay for content they don’t want, and don’t want to pay for. Yeah, that’s a great idea.

Once again, no one is forced to put content on the Internet. I’d love it if I made more money out of Kiwiblog, considering the 1000+ hours a year I put into it. But I don’t think people should be taxed for accessing the Internet and forced to hand that money over to me because I am a content creator.

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