Feeds

back to article Double whammy: The music tax based on deep packet inspection

"The innocent man must be punished!" - Mark Corrigan "If you start treating everybody like criminals, then pretty soon everybody starts acting like a criminal," says PRS economist Will Page, referring to the Spanish digital music experience. Spain is the best warning yet of what happens when you slap a clumsy music tax on …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

FAIL

If they impose a tax / levy...

..then I will start downloading material "illegaly". After all I've paid for it.

So I will go from someone who buys music, to someone that "steals" music.

Yup, great plan.

19
0
FAIL

Exactly

Indeed. Why pay twice? I'm not currently a freetard, but this would certainly convince me that I'd paid enough times already.

2
0
Gold badge
FAIL

Just like Spain

Yes, as said, Spain has the Canon tax. You pay it on anything that may even slightly be used to infringe copyright. For example, the CDs, DVDs and memory cards that I have to buy for my photography as a copyright creator, but also my camera equipment, and even PC speakers!

People here say "Well I've already paid to copy it, so I will..."

2
0
Silver badge

Page is Correct

If I end up paying towards an ISP levy to cover filesharing then you can bet I'll join the party and benefit from some of what I'm paying for.

It's a bit like the threat to tax people on work-provided car park spaces in a misguided attempt to discourage people from driving to work - if I'm paying for it then I'm going to get the maximum benefit from the space and drive to work every day, rather than use the bike if it's a nice day.

12
0
Silver badge

Moola 2 musos

I think a lot of freetards would take a more sympathetic stance towards paying for the stuff they downloaded if there was an assurance that what they did pay went to the musiciands who had created / played that stuff, rather than to the large corporations.

So if someone downloaded a track and then got an email from the band along the lines of

"Dear Mr. Freetard, we noticed that you downloaded one of our albums yesterday. We hope you like it. Normally we'd make about £1 if that CD was sold in the shops. So, tell you what, rather than have our record label haranguing you for 20 grand to pay their lawyers, why don't you PayPal us a quid and we'll call it a day?"

If the entire music industry could be brought down to that level, 2 good things would happen: the musicians would get more money, paid directly to them and lots of record company employees and their lawyers would have to get real jobs.

Now obviously, someone would have to pay the costs of recording the album in the first place - and that would need some organisation. However, for all the music that is deleted or unavailable to buy there is nothing but a win all round. Maybe some of the revenue from online "real-price" sales of that could be used to bankroll the next generation until they become profitable in their own right?

13
1
Bronze badge

An extra little detail

Many contracts between bands and record publishers require the band to pay for making the recording. Big money, and big costs, for the musicians. There was a time when that might have seemed a good idea: some groups in the late Sixties were very inefficient in their use of expensive recording studio time.But it means that your idea makes a lot more sense.

Though there's still the problem of getting publicity, so that a recording sells.

0
0
Silver badge
Stop

Er, you do know what "publisher" means, right?

"Many contracts between bands and record publishers require the band to pay for making the recording. Big money, and big costs, for the musicians."

Yes. Because a publisher exists to *sell* the work. They're not *supposed* to be The Royal Bank of Sony: they'd much rather bands came to them with *completed* works.

These up-front advances on royalties are exactly the same thing as advances paid to novelists. They're basically a *gamble*—taken by the publishing company, record label, whatever—that the content creator will *make a profit* from sales and gain that advanced money *back*. And then some. It doesn't always work. In fact, it works very rarely. All the flops are effectively subsidised by the occasional hits.

If you asked any businessman in another market to look at this model, they'd think you were stark, staring mad.

The *correct* solution is to *kill off the advances* and let publishers revert to their original, long-ago business model of simply taking a completed work and getting it into the shops, be they online or bricks-and-mortar.

If the artists think they're that bloody awesome, they can pay for their own damned studio equipment and living expenses until they "make it big".

Seriously.

Enough with this "poor, starving artist" bollocks too. If you're good enough, there *will* be people willing to help you. Just learn to make contacts and be frugal. You can record a perfectly saleable album with just a microphone, a guitar, a laptop, and a quiet place to work.

Hell, people have recorded entire albums entirely on a computer. If you can't—or, more likely, won't—hold down a McJob long enough to pay for the equipment, which is far, far cheaper today than it once was, then you're doing it wrong.

Quit relying on credit. Let the publishers deal with the *publishing*, and do the rest yourself.

7
1
Stop

And in the real world...

Artists present record companies with demo's, or an amateur effort, and the record company decides it will make more money from a polished product and so hires a studio, proper sound engineers and all the other people that make an album sound good.

0
0
Alert

"Freetards bring home no more revenue

than a granny who only uses her connection for Hotmail".

Then that's because Andrew Heaney's pricing model is a pile of crap.

Charge by resource consumption, and excessive freetarding goes away (and/or your revenue from freetards goes up). And when your revenue goes up, you have more to invest in your infrastructure.

Flat rate unlimited internet access is madness. It simply doesn't work because Freetards and Grannies have different usage expectations.

And the more bandwidth you provide users? The more you realise flat rate pricing is an utterly broken, utterly unsustainable model.

I'm off to turn the tap off back home. Its been on for a week to fill my pool. Meanwhile, I usually leave ALL the lights on at home to avoid wear and tear on the switches. And the gas is left burning day AND night so I don't have to buy matches. And I pay 10p/day for this unlimited utility service.

9
9

If there are many "flat rates" in what sense are they flat ?

Just review the consumer and business connectivity products at a selection of ISPs, and you'll see that different speed/usage specifications are available for different customers at different prices. Chances are that Lil Granny can find an offering that costs less than the one which would suit Bill Moviebuff who wants and can get a much higher Gb/month cap without rate limiting. ISPs are increasingly rate limiting heavy users until they upgrade to a higher cap at a higher monthly fee.

3
0
Gold badge

Re: Pricing structure

Thanks for saving me the typing.

So, er, would one of the 5 (as I write this) morons who voted down this eminently sane post care to advance their Nobel prize-winning (for surely such a reversal of natural economic law would be worthy) theories of just how ISPs ought to be able to make money appear out of their arses rather than having to earn it by charging for a service?

3
4
Silver badge

@AC

Absolutely agree.

"Despite what TalkTalk's Andrew Heaney says, ISPs really, really hate freetards - they run up most of the transit costs, but despite their evident appetite for media consumption, these subscribers bring home no more revenue than a granny who only uses her connection for Hotmail. "

Well if ISPs didn't oversell backhaul so much it wouldn't matter would it. If I've paid for 30GB of bandwidth I shall damned well use it - we have a contractual agreement and I paid so I shall. Dont like that or chose to sell "unlimited" bandwidth connections? Tough shit.

If they bring home no more revenue then your business model is utterly stupid and you deserve to fall by the wayside.

1
0
Silver badge

The real villains in this

are the music industry parasites.

If you hijack a market space and make the customer pay 10 times the 'cost' of product you severely restrict its sales potential.

Most musicians get less than 10% of the sales price of their work - if they haven't been completely screwed over in the contract department already.

If you were to pay a similar markup for milk - how much would you buy at £20 a pint? How many dairy farmers would be left? Now consider how many musicians the music industry has really helped and not shafted big time

12
0
Thumb Up

Quite Right

The top two richest people in the worldwide "music rich list" can't play note between them - they're not creators, they are a coke-snorting, talentless waste of skin.

Pay creators all you want, but never pay a record company anything if you can avoid it.

4
0
FAIL

Milk.

"If you were to pay a similar markup for milk - how much would you buy at £20 a pint? How many dairy farmers would be left? Now consider how many musicians the music industry has really helped and not shafted big time"

Go and take a look at the state of UK dairy farming, and the way the big dairys treat farmers then re-think that...

2
0
Silver badge

Re Milk by AC

I live on an ex-Dairy Farm next to two dairy farmers. Both get screwed by big industry monopolising someone else's creativity/production.

If Milk was £20 a pint they'd be out of business a lot faster than they will be if things carry on as they are. A percent or two of dairy farms might just make a profit. They live in the false hope that capitalism will offer them an honest return.

A lot of young musicians live in the hope that the RI will give them an honest return. A percent or two seem to become very rich. The urge to make music is a lot stronger in people than it is to make a loss at dairy farming so the RI can cream off a lot more off the top.

I can expand almost indefinitely but what is there to rethink about the original post?

0
0
Bronze badge

Angered

What angers me about all this talk of music related legislation and fund raising is that it's not what the internet is for or about. It's just one minor use of the internet that some people exploit and many others don't care for and aren't involved in.

Hey, music industry, nobody cares. Shut up and shit off.

7
1
Silver badge
FAIL

Even if it were legal...

...the creators wouldn't get paid "Hollywood Accounting"/"RIAA Accounting" and all that. Just ask the likes of Michael J Straczynski who gets nothing from the continuing "Babylon 5" revenues. Or Peter Jackson who had to sue New Line Cinema in order to get his share of the profits.

This does not excuse piracy of course (just in case anyone thinks I am advocating that) but it goes to show that the *entire movie/music industry* is screwed from the very start and the argument of tax/Deep Packet Inspection/DRM/whatever as a measure to protect the income of the creators is utterly fallacious.

The *only* reason the RIAA/MPAA/BPI etc are fighting this is because the free flow of content from the creators (pretty much) directly to the consumer screws the revenue stream of the big corporates. Despite the fact that this method of distribution is actually better for those with the talent!

The pirates are providing the service the people want. If you want to get rid of the pirates, then you need to provide a better service (without screwing with people right to fair use).

As others have said, if people feel like they have already paid for it - they will just reach out and take it.

Check out the likes of Jamendo and Magnatune for some idea of how it could work...

9
0

Thinning the middle man

Traditionally contracts have specified preferential returns to the companies, so artists get paid only when sunk costs have been covered. This tends to make the best selling artists most conspicuous in their personal consumption, and it can hardly surprise that this involves egregious aesthetic expense - tasteless is as tasteless does. Yet recording an album may have a budget typically anything between $5k and $250k, and marketing the same again. Once a deal is signed, the company makes the decisions. Is it worthwhile? Many anecdotes say no, unless you hit the BigTime. It would be interesting to know if any serious business research has been done into how effective record companies are at productizing their 'ideas' (artists) compared to other product types.

0
0
Happy

The four horsemen are on their way

I will put my hands up to being the occasional freetard, but with an ISP levy I'll be subsidising the more frequent freetards which isn't right. Also the non-freetards will be subsidising me, for something they never do, which is bang out of order.

The idea of giving a license to an ISP is good but needs a few changes. The license needs extending beyond just music to include films,tv, books etc. The pricing needs to be looked at closely as the ISP's will still be competing with free "services" whilst the production\distribution costs of the copyright holder are going to be zero. Price it too high, no-one uses the service and the copyright holders turn around with the "all freetards are thieves" canard, to demand shutting down the internet.

And why the horsemen? Well I'm agreeing with Andrew about something, so the Apocalyse can't be far behind.

1
0

Re: The four horsemen are on their way

"I will put my hands up to being the occasional freetard, but with an ISP levy I'll be subsidising the more frequent freetards which isn't right. Also the non-freetards will be subsidising me, for something they never do, which is bang out of order."

I will put my hands up to the occasional visit to the hospital, but with my taxes going to the NHS I'll be subsidising the fatties and the clumsy people, which isn't right. Also, the really healthy/careful people will be subsidising me, for a service they never use, which is bang out of order.

Get the point? All taxes are the same, we all pay it, but don't all get equal benefit from it, sometime no benefit.

I'm still against a tax on ISPs (or anyone else) that is used to fund the music industry. My main issues with it are in the distribution of fund between artists, and that fact it will kill the genuine music business, because effectivly - through the tax - everyone has paid for every peice of music ever created in the past and present.

1
3

Re: All taxes are the same

Oh no they aren't. NI , PAYE & Council Tax are ostensibly there to keep the lights on and provide the basic normal stuff we expect from the Government. The duties and booze, fags, luxury foods & fuel are as much social engineering as revenue raising, these things are bad for you\others therefore we'll make you think twice about buying them by artifically jacking the price up. The ISP levy is a social engineering charge which goes to the music companies and not the Government, well except for the VAT that'll be put on it.

4
0
(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Re: The four horsemen are on their way

Good point.

0
0
WTF?

erm... ok...

You pay taxes to the NHS because health care is expensive - the tax is there to level out the costs to everyone - this is fair.

Paying taxes to subsidise those who STEAL is not the same. The product the people are stealing is perfectly within their means (or they can just do without). Paying to allow these people to indulge themselves in an illegal activity is not fair.

Many rich people have boats - perhaps we should tax everyone to provide funds for the upkeep of these boats? Maybe we should tax the poor so the rich can go on holiday? - it's your logic.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: erm... ok...

"You pay taxes to the NHS because health care is expensive - the tax is there to level out the costs to everyone - this is fair."

Agreed.

"Paying taxes to subsidise those who STEAL is not the same."

That's cloud cuckoo land.

The proposed tax is to subsidise the very rich as a reward for sweet FA.

1
0

re: erm... ok...

just two minor, tiny points. Downloading copywritten material is not stealing, nor is it illegal.

Copying a CD is not the same as stealing one. If you steal it, there is lost revenuve plus the cost of buying replacement stock, by copying it the revenue is lost but there are replacement costs. The record labels probably prefer that people shop lift rather than copy, as they take thier cut out of the wholesale price when shops order stuff.

Also it's not a criminal matter but a civil offence, so it would be unlawful and not illegal. Civil cases have lower burden's of proof ( guilt based 'on the balance of probablities' and not 'beyond reasonable doubt') and lower penalties to along with it. The record companies want the to keep the civil burden of proof but impose criminal penalties.

The judge in the $67,500 torrenting fine knew the difference http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/10/p2p_damages_reduced/

as did the Dark Lord Peter Mandelson, when he was pushing the Digital Economy bill through.

3
0
FAIL

Daft idea

I drive to the station, but park my car on the road as the station car parks are just legalised extortion.

I buy CD's and DVD's, bought four CD's last Saturday, got three DVD's the weekend before. However if I'm forced to pay a levy for P2P sharing, I'll download a bittorrent client and go for it. I can get a 500GB portable HDD for less than £60, I've lots of USB ports spare.

Give me the choice of paying to legally download and I'll look at what's on offer, the price and the limits (there's bound to be some) and compare these against the stuff I like, the amount I want and how much I want of it.

Then I'll make _my_ choice.

1
1
Unhappy

Heh, I can see where this is going

"Oh, it's a levy to compensate us for rampant piracy!" Except of course that the numpties claiming that piracy is the only source of damage to the entertainment industry never seem to know about things like newsgroups or IRC, it's just the Napster du jour they bleat about.

But anyway, say this gets brought in. What'll happen? The same feckin' thing that happens with the tax from booze and fag sales. Will it all be earmarked and spent exclusively on tackling the issues which we were told could only be addressed by having these taxes?

Will it fuck. It'll go into a big pot and get spent as seen fit by a bunch of elected types or their duly appointed representatives, who like to think they know what they're talking about and tend to get fleeced by salespeople who know a good opportunity when they see one.

Saddest thing of all is that the ISPs are probably secretly dying for this - it'd be a great excuse to raise prices now that they've all realised that the race to be the cheapest provider was a mug's game, and now every punter out there expects to get their broadband for about £2 a month. Which is great for muggins like me who'd quite happily pay substantially more for a reliable, decent connection (Virgin Media's 50MBit package currently gets me ~17MBit, and I'm in central London....it's not bad, but it's also not really what the name suggests it should be, is it?)

Feckin' telcos, man.

1
0
FAIL

DPI is pretty useless...

BitTorrent - 'Enable protocol encryption' - DPI nullified. This sort of crap might make it a default.

0
0
Troll

encrypted or not...

...Speaking as someone who works with deep packet inspection. Encrypted or not, P2P sticks out a mile, it may as well have a big bright neon sign pointing to the traffic. Encrypted simply means it's harder for us to see what is travelling over the pipe, but in most cases the endpoints have their file listings unencrypted so that their files are discoverable.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Tip of the iceberg...

Of course, once they get these rent payments then they will put the rent up next year, and the year after that too. Naturally, it will NEVER go down. What crazy landlord lowers their rent? Rents go UP over time, not down.

So they gain a guaranteed income (of which they will want more and more) and since they are guaranteed this income, whether bands succeed or fail, whether a song sells or not, then the motivation to progress is all but virtually removed. No new music is needed, just a hefty back catalogue which they already have.

Thus, It automatically becomes far easier to simply find an excuse for putting the rent up, rather than sinking money into risks that may or may not succeed. That is a given, for that is business. Except...

Then the Movie industry will want their tax.... then the book industry... then the software industry... etc. etc. Anyone and everyone will be wanting a rent paid to them too. Why not? It's the same for them as well as the music industry. Come one, come all! Pay one, pay all!

All of a sudden you are beholden to half a dozen industries and you were never allowed to utter even a single word in defence. Shut up and pay up.... or else!

8
0
Anonymous Coward

Pfft, never happen

That will be like saying if you walk through a shopping centre, you have to paysome monies to the music industry because some people knick CDs.

Besides this stuff is soooo counter productive, the last time I bought a CD was Gorillaz, Deamon days, I put it in my PC to rip the tracks to MP3 to add to my library and it wouldn't let me because of some bullshit DRM.

I haven't bought a CD since.

In fact I haven't bought any music since but that's mainly because nowadays it's mostly whiny, mamby pamby, bullcrap sung by pretty looking simpletons, but that's another rant altogether.

2
0
(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Pfft, never happen

OK, so you don't like music. You don't buy music, and you're out of touch with modern tech (DRM disappeared ages ago).

None of this really qualifies you as a music consumer, does it? Or put another way, you've sort of opted out of the debate about what kind of music services we want.

1
8
Silver badge

No.

No it doesn't. It opts him out of a debate UNLESS he's going to get shafted with a tax even though he has nothing to do with the industry. Which was the point of the article, surely?

9
0

Re: Pfft, never happen

Hate to break the news to you, but that Gorillaz CD you bought, part of the cost to you is an "insurance" put on price by the store to cover defective\stolen stock so to use your words

"you have to paysome monies to the music industry because some people knick CDs"

0
0

Pricing

High street retailers sell stuff for £X.99

Minor costs such as shoplifting don't affect the price at all, unless they are big enough to affect X. That's even before you talk about loss leaders, 3 for 2 etc

0
0
WTF?

@ Gordon is not a Moron

Indeed it is, it’s the shop selling the goods that have to have many kinds of insurance, not just to cover against theft.

But it's all besides the point. Shops are just covering the cost of running their shop by selling stuff at a price point that makes sure they turnover enough money to pay for their running costs, WHEN SOMEONE BUYS THEIR STOCK, I don't have to pay it when I buy cake from the shop next door.

The music industry (producers, not shops) are suggesting you pay them money regardless of if you're even remotely interested in their product and that is ridiculous. Why would a few big, bullying corporations get to have their own special, Government enforced, un-touchable revenue stream? It's absolute bullshit.

2
0

ffs....

sure, add a tax on my broadband. then watch as i stop buying music and just downlaod it. after all, if you are charging me for something im not doing, i might as well do it eh?

isnt this just like the fact there is a tax/levy ion blank media. so my company gets ripped off every time we send a client a cd or dvd.

@ "Charge by resource consumption, and excessive freetarding goes away (and/or your revenue from freetards goes up). And when your revenue goes up, you have more to invest in your infrastructure." - i just downloaded 2.5 gb of data for a game (updates to bf2 lol) - are you saying that that should cost me extra? when normally i dont download anything other than paid for mp3s from play.com?

2
0
Silver badge

@are you saying that that should cost me extra?

I think they are, and that makes sense. It's extra use. Just like if you decide to wash the car in a metered water area, that costs you more.

What we'd need, of course, is clear pricing (e.g. £1 per GB of part there-of). Not some confusing tiered bollocks with add-ons etc like they do for mobile phones.

0
2
Anonymous Coward

enough is enough

I recently bought a couple of CDs which i'll never listen to. I already have the music illegally downloaded, but I really enjoyed the music from this particular artist, and wanted to buy it. On reflection, what I wanted to do was show my appreciation to the artist by means of a financial contribution for the music i listen to. If only that musician had one of those 'click here to contribute' buttons i could have given them 20 times the amount without any additional cost to myself.

Its time to destroy the music industry, safe in the knoweldge it will rise from the ashes in a new form and artists will all be better off because of it.

Anonymous because my last ounce of desire to purchase music legally has finally been snuffed out by the industry and i'm off to fill up my hard drive while i still can!!

2
0
FAIL

SSL & VPN FTW

Well, the increasing use of encrypted connections and VPNs will render any taxed based on DPI technology to determine who downloaded what a short term initiative only.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

tax on isp's?

morons. thats a ridiculous concept. as mentioned it would push people toward downloading, and away from actualling buying music. And it punishes the innocent.

All i ask is to be able to pay £20 per month, to download all the music i care to listen to from wherever i want. Why wont anyone take my money?

2
0
Bronze badge
Grenade

More copyright material needed

The solution is that *everybody* records an original song or poem, using a random lyric generator if necessary.

Get your copyright on it.

Get a bittorrent client that will automatically upload it with any track being sought.

Claim your share of the royalties, as you have no contract with a record label then all monies come to you.

Result.

(Vogon poetry could get into the charts like this, not that you would notice any difference!)

5
0

popular material will be downloaded more

And this will show up in the sampling. Not many people will download Vogon poetry. Also you don't need expensive and involuntary deep packet inspection if a large enough sample will accept a small discount or some other incentive in exchange for the hassle of hosting a download program which reports to the performing rights societies information about what is most popular.

0
0

Vogon poetry.

Hey, i would (I have a neighbor i dont particularly like)

0
0

beat them at their own game

let's all stop bothering with music that you are supposed to pay for and instead switch to downloading music from people that are happy to give it away for free. there are many excellent net labels out there who provide free music and are commited to that.

may i suggest this one - http://www.envmod.com

also Swishcoteque Records and Futonic Records. it's all good stuff and it's all totally free. and there are thousands and thousands more netlabels catering for every style of music you can imagine...

fuck all the artists who want money for downloading a recording of their music - times have moved on.

i myself am an electronic music producer and am more than happy to give away downloads of my tracks for free - I make money on live performaces and am soon going to get into selling merchandise etc as another revenue stream. I would never dream of trying to charge people for the tunes though!

8
0
(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: beat them at their own game

OK, you're a hobbyist. You're happy being a hobbyist. That's very nice.

"fuck all the artists who want money for downloading a recording of their music - times have moved on"

But some people are simply more talented or popular than you (or both), and they do deserve to be paid for that popularity. Everyone can sell T-shirts or play live, that hasn't changed.

You're proposing taking away a right ... just because you never cracked the big time? That won't wash.

0
7
Silver badge

I believe Lady Gaga said...

...that she wasn't too fussed about people downloading her music because she makes her real money from touring and concessions.

So using the music as a giveaway hook to get bums on seats for gigs is a business model that does scale up; and isn't just a hobbyist thing.

Conceding a right is never a good thing, of course, but that right -once a sensible means of allowing a reasonable time for an idea/work to make money for the creator- has now been so thoroughly raped by the rights-holding companies that it's very hard to take seriously anymore.

4
0
(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: I believe Lady Gaga said...

"Conceding a right is never a good thing, of course, but "

There's always a "but". That particular "but" would earn you a punch in the face from any artist who isn't as big as Lady Gaga, but still deserves payment from performance and downloads. Someone who doesn't aspire to be a millionaire, but deserves to have the time to work on their music - not work in a call centre.

Since your justification for taking away this right is based on emotion not logic, your argument falls down.

1
4
Happy

Not quite

I believe he's saying we should go back to the state of affairs of... 1700? Until recently we couldn't record music - so the artist income was provided by playing it live!

Don't get me wrong - I do believe the artists should be able to charge for the music. But I really believe your argument is flawed. An artist is (or should be) more than able to maintain itself by playing live.

5
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.