Warner Music Group asks ISPs to enforce music tax?

By Justin Mann on March 28, 2008, 5:48 PM
In a move that is sure to spark controversy, the Warner Music Group has called for all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to begin taxing their customers in an effort to compensate the music industry and artists for losses caused by piracy. Warner has reportedly come up with a plan that basically taxes users onto their customers bills, in return for immunity or any sort of legal obligation if one of their users is pirating music. The customer, for their $5 "contribution", would get unlimited access to music on the web. We consider the proposition to be obscene.

Warner claims this kind of taxing scheme would generate "$20 billion annually". Of course, at the expense of the consumer, many of whom may want nothing to do with getting music for free or even getting it online at all. Considering that many ISPs compete fiercely on pricing, with many broadband connections starting at under $30, putting what is in relative terms a monumental tax onto a monthly bill solely for music is just ridiculous.

A "music industry veteran", Jim Griffin, believes that ISPs will embrace the plan, and cites support from certain industry players, including the EFF. However, the EFF's stance was an opt-in approach that was voluntary, not a forced tax. Somehow I don't see ISPs embracing a forced tax anytime soon.

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