Lobby group supports Labours Internet tax

March 7th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

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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23 Responses to “Lobby group supports Labours Internet tax”

  1. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    It will come under a Labour/Green government I am sure. The sooner TV news dies the better – it is too late, too tabloid-like and too biased.

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  2. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Mr Myles Thomas is a moron, a socialist moron. Period.
    It shouldn’t be difficult to find his association with the thieving Labour Party.

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  3. chris (609 comments) says:

    And just how would they choose who gets the money? There are thousands of people in New Zealand who create content for the NZ audience (I’m one of them). I don’t want a hand out. Big Media (I’ll use a leftism here with Big) surely shouldn’t get a “bail out”. Websites should succeed or fail on their own merits and their ability to attract an audience and advertisers/paid subscriptions.

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  4. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    Websites should succeed or fail on their own merits and their ability to attract an audience and advertisers/paid subscriptions.

    It will be the virtual gulag for you and your capitalist reactionary views.

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  5. Sector 7g (241 comments) says:

    Let’s just tax those politicians who believe in solving every “problem” with new taxes, 80% of their income.

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  6. louie (94 comments) says:

    The left seem desperate to get TV7 back and expand Radio NZ. Both were/are homes of the left wing. In any event the money that would be raised is intended for the left one way or another.

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  7. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Another bloody lobby group wanting to suck off the public teat.

    TV is dead anyway – they’re too late. I’m a heavy internet user and haven’t watched TV for *years*.

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  8. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if National implements an internet tax after the election anyway.

    It’s certainly becoming a nanny state govt as much as Labour.

    Both govts are keysnian socialist . J Key is an avowed keysnian therefore socialist he masks by calling himself middle of the road.

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  9. greenjacket (449 comments) says:

    I really hope that Labour adopt taxing internet use to fund “public service media” as a policy. It will make for a great election debate – Labour/Greens policy of taxing everyone’s internet usage in order to fund State media, versus National arguing for internet freedom. I wonder which will prove more popular with the voters?

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  10. Dave_1924 (108 comments) says:

    Save us all. Access Providers provide access as you say – its not as cheap as people think to build a 99.999% available network, monitor and manage and service it 24/7. It costs money and employees people

    Content attracts audience because its good, controversial, funny etc and lives & dies by that. People will pay for it if they care about it. They don’t need a side committee of the Labour Movement/Party or the Greens telling what they should be buying.

    The sooner this election comes, the Left are defeated the better. I’m thoroughly sick of them inventing new levies and taxes to suit their friends

    I predict with only small tongue in cheek, that Labour will break apart again as the Left wing activists who recolonized Labour to get Cunliffe made leader, leave and form a New Alliance. Where they will promptly wither and die again in internecine dogma wars, again….

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  11. Spam (598 comments) says:

    Let’s face it – if the content levy is to be paid to the people making the content, it will be a great boon for those struggling porn actresses and actors.

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  12. Henry64 (83 comments) says:

    Read my lips “No new taxes”.

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  13. Huevon (213 comments) says:

    Dananaananana! Taxman!

    News spread amongst Leftists throughout the city that the internet was the last remaining human activity untaxed by the state. Panic ensued. Who could possibly come to save the day?

    …Meanwhile, deep inside the Labour Caucus Chamber…..

    Claire Curran: “I have a cunning plan. We must have a digital services levy. Think about the public broadcasting! Why don’t you just think about it! I saw this documentary once. They have it in Europe! In the right wing hell hole of New Zealand we are decades behind.”

    Maryan Street: “Holy Aborted Fetus, Taxman! What a wonderful idea!”

    Cunners: “Oarh ye’ah bro. Fookin A. Youse fellas are fookin legends tuhuhuhu”

    Trevor Mallard: “What about the details? In my 50 years in Parliament, I’ve learnt one thing. It’s about the details!”

    Grant Robertson: “Christopher, let’s go to my office and we’ll hammer it out”.

    Chris Hipkins: “Oh, wizard! Yes please, let’s! But are you super super sure Darren won’t feel left out?”

    And with that, our intrepid heroes depart. How will this story end? Will our avaricious adventurers save the precious tax money?

    ….Tune in next week to find out….Same tax space, same tax channel….

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  14. corrigenda (142 comments) says:

    Load of old bollocks. How would they decide who pays what in the way of taxes. Just another take, take, take tax they are wanting to impose on the poor overtaxed citizen.

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  15. davidp (3,571 comments) says:

    The internet is a modern growing business. Broadcasting is a legacy business. For Labour it is only natural that users of a modern business should be taxed to pay the vested interests benefiting from the legacy business.

    Suggested policies for Labour:

    Tax internet airline fares and give the money to travel agents.

    Tax blogs and give the money to journalists.

    Tax mobile phones and give the money to the telegram industry.

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  16. duggledog (1,486 comments) says:

    ‘Freelance television director’

    = mostly unemployed.

    I don’t think these guys necessarily want to make hours of documentaries about how great socialism is or how terrible the income disparities are (why would you when Bryan Bruce colludes with TV3 by making then broadcasting ‘Mind The Gap’ three days out from the last election, and C Live’s continual stream of anti govt rhetoric does the job)

    What they want is to be able to make their programmes without being accountable for poor ratings. That’s why they were bitching and moaning about TVNZ7 going down the gurgler, they wanted you and me to pay for their unwatchable shitters. Like Maori TV content it’s a gravy train. Nobody watches that either.

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  17. dime (9,788 comments) says:

    What a fucking moron

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  18. Sofia (849 comments) says:

    The Film Commission, NZ On Screen and NZ On Air could all set up an online video library similar to YouTube or Vimeo, so that all New Zealand content has the opportunity to be found in one place with a charge like iTunes, so that you pay [Visa or whatever] $10, $20 and that is automatically reduced 50c for a feature download, 20 c for a documentary, 10c for a short download until a top-up is needed.

    Actually funding could be by the existing agencies but monitored to guage its success, or normal business sponsorship. Online investment schemes already are been trialed.

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  19. Fentex (913 comments) says:

    Content providers choose to voluntarily make their content available online – some charge for it, some do not. It is their choice.

    The logic of taxing Internet connectivity for disbursement to content creators is generally derived from a not-mistaken belief that much content online is there not by it’s creators choice but by others violating legal prohibitions on duplication.

    So an argument that what’s online is there because creators choose it to be fails.

    I don’t like the idea of taxing the net for abetting content creators as is often suggested, often by people who invoke the example of music societies charging for on air broadcast of music through statistical sampling. I think it would establish gate keepers, require prohibitive monitoring of traffic, involve by necessity favouritism (as actual traffic will quickly be encrypted and indecipherable) through proxy of celebrity, and as DPF alluded to very prompt claims for expansion by every content creator with digitizable content claiming a need.

    But I’ve often thought it’s likely to be an attractive, in political and P.R terms, option that someone is going to try someday through failure of imagination to predict it’s problems.

    The age of packaged media, hard to duplicate and distribute, is gone. It’s becoming a fantasy to think the media itself is a good to sell, though services that collate, guarantee quality, help locate and provide connections with online life will do well.

    Such as Spotify. Such streaming services are probably the future for most.

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  20. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    The Film Commission, NZ On Screen and NZ On Air could all set up an online video library similar to YouTube or Vimeo, so that all New Zealand content has the opportunity to be found in one place with a charge like iTunes, so that you pay [Visa or whatever] $10, $20 and that is automatically reduced 50c for a feature download, 20 c for a documentary, 10c for a short download until a top-up is needed.

    Are you kidding me? Nobody could ever agree to pay for such crappy hare-brained idea.

    By the way, NZ on Air is a white elephant that should’ve been dismantled long ago. A complete waste of taxpayer’s funds.

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  21. Duxton (610 comments) says:

    “…..a freelance television director….”

    I think that means a bludging leech.

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  22. Fentex (913 comments) says:

    The Film Commission, NZ On Screen and NZ On Air could all set up an online video library similar to YouTube or Vimeo, so that all New Zealand content has the opportunity to be found in one place with a charge like iTunes,

    An okay idea. No ones stopping them or the proponent of this idea from creating such competition to online services.

    I personally think ISP’s are missing a trick in their wish to be more than dumb pipes by not offering plans that include membership of locally mirrored libraries of content provided via their networks with no need to charge international traffic for delivering. Telecom, if I understand recent advertising correctly, seems to have clued up on the opportunity.

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  23. chris (609 comments) says:

    I think you’d see more of the partnering up with content providers if we had any in NZ. Quickflix doesn’t really count (overpriced with lack of included content the last time I looked) and Netflix, Vudu, Hulu etc are geo locked. You can get around the geo locking, but a legitimate ISP wouldn’t be able to *and* hook you up with them as part of their plan. (I think it’s Slingshot that have a “world mode” to help you unlock content, but it’s another step again to partner with e.g. Netflix.)

    The lack of content providers is also why Telecom seems to think it can enter this space. The problem is a) they have a tiny budget ($20m won’t go far) and b) the distribution rights are all tightly locked up so they won’t get a look see. Quickflix can’t even stream HBO content, when they’re effectively owned by HBO.

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