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California Lawmaker Proposes Music Download Tax 326

Posted by Zonk
from the ideas-from-up-north-moving-south dept.
modemac writes "Sacramento, California Assemblyman Charles Calderon wants to expand a 75-year-old sales tax on 'tangible personal property' to include music downloads from iTunes and other music-download sites. The tax would specifically apply to music downloads, but the estimate used in this article for revenue generated by 'Net downloading also "includes pornography downloads." The measure, AB 1956, will be considered on Monday, April 14th."
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California Lawmaker Proposes Music Download Tax

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:32AM (#23000074)
    Does this mean we might be able to get a tax deduction for pr0n?
    • by value_added (719364) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @11:11AM (#23000602)
      Does this mean we might be able to get a tax deduction for pr0n?

      Only if you're filing as an individual. If you're filing jointly, you have bigger problems than your tax liability.

      I've been trying without success to claim deductions for blackjack and hookers for years, so my advice is to just pay up. And don't forget to leave a tip.
      • by HaloZero (610207)
        "If you're filing jointly, you have bigger problems than your tax liability."

        Such as?
      • Re:tax deduction (Score:4, Informative)

        by Leebert (1694) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @12:34PM (#23001712)

        I've been trying without success to claim deductions for blackjack and hookers for years,
        Well here's good news for you, you CAN deduct gambling losses. But only if you're claiming gambling income as well. And you can only deduct up to the amount that you have won. Or something, I'm neither a gambler nor a tax advisor.
  • by esocid (946821) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:36AM (#23000120) Journal
    Since all the pr0n is from California anyway, does this mean we owe back taxes from all those free downloads?
  • by PolyDwarf (156355) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:36AM (#23000126)
    Does that mean that, in California, we'd actually own the music files, and would not be able to be prosecuted for shifting those files, breaking the encryption, etc?

    Also, what does "tangible" mean? To me, it means something a bit more permanent than bits on a disk. After all, if someone gets near it with a magnet, there goes your "tangible" property. The same cannot be said for a car, a bookshelf, a can of paint, etc.
    • by bbernard (930130) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:41AM (#23000196)
      "After all, if someone gets near it with a magnet, there goes your "tangible" property. The same cannot be said for a car"

      That depends on the size of your magnet.
    • by ThosLives (686517) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:42AM (#23000230) Journal

      On a related note: If I was in California, I'd ask this congressman what benefit I as an individual and California as a whole would receive for the increased revenue. Would I get more use of my product? Would the money be used to increase pay for congressmen? Would it offset some other tax? Without knowing those things, and also having compensation in the language of the bill for what happens if those funds are not used for the approved task, the increase should be disallowed. On behalf of everyone who wishes to avoid California setting precedent, please write your representatives!

      I personally don't mind taxes as long as there is a clear benefit for the additional cost. When taxes increase with no increase in benefit, there's a problem.

      • by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:56PM (#23003772)
        Perhaps you haven't been keeping up with current events or maybe you don't live in California, but this state is going through a major budget crises right now within the context of much larger budgetary problems that have been building towards a day of reckoning for decades and are just now beginning to come to a head. The Democrats want to raise taxes and the Republicans want to cut spending, but they can never agree to do either and so the state sputters along on emergency spending bills while the state politicians argue about the budget. The budget hasn't actually been delivered on time in years now because both sides play brinksmanship games as the deadline approaches and passes and then point the fingers at each other when the people ask whose fault it is. Meanwhile the state bond debts are rated around CCC or something equivalent to one (1) grade above junk (state bond indebtedness has increased by 1000%+ since the late 1970s) and surrounding states are baiting California business to pack up and come to their states where taxes are lower and there are fewer "crazy" regulations.
    • by esocid (946821) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:43AM (#23000234) Journal
      That is the point of the bill this guy is proposing. He wants to update it from tangible to include information.

      "The notion of taxing tangible, physical property is really an industrial-era construct when we made widgets and sold widgets," Calderon said Friday. "Now it's not about widgets, it's about information, and selling information and moving information."
      So to sum it up, he wants to tax information.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        So to sum it up, he wants to tax information.
        But we've been doing this for a long time now. DVDs, CDs, and books are nothing more than information with some packaging that cost much, much less than the information they hold.

        Or, to flip it around, you could just as easily say that they're not taxing the information, they're taxing the actual, physical signals that iTunes is sending you.
      • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @11:33AM (#23000888) Journal
        To sum it up, he wants to tax everything. Such is the nature of the bureaucrat.
      • he wants to tax the selling of digital information.

        Just like the tax that have when you buy a book or CD. Ultimately, that's a tax on information as well.

        He actually has a clue about what is happening. Whether or not you agree it should be taxed is another matter.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Reziac (43301) *
        "That is the point of the bill this guy is proposing. He wants to update it from tangible to include information."

        That's a scary concept. It could be extended to *any* access of information. Imagine being charged a "use tax" every time you read a book.

    • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:44AM (#23000252)

      Does that mean that, in California, we'd actually own the music files, and would not be able to be prosecuted for shifting those files, breaking the encryption, etc?
      No. You don't get to own the music, and you don't get to own the license to listen to the music. You don't get to own anything. What you do get when "purchasing" a song is the right to listen to it whenever the license agreement and DRM software says you can.

      You get what you pay for.
      Buyer beware.
      • by Firehed (942385)
        I get what I pay for, but when I don't pay I always seem to end up with much more. I'll assume there's some sort of inverse square law that we've yet to apply to the cost of "licensed" content.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IBBoard (1128019)
      It's a bit of a dubious definition for a collection of 1s and 0s:

      1 capable of being touched; discernible by the touch; material or substantial.
      2. real or actual, rather than imaginary or visionary: the tangible benefits of sunshine.
      3. definite; not vague or elusive: no tangible grounds for suspicion.
      4. (of an asset) having actual physical existence, as real estate or chattels, and therefore capable of being assigned a value in monetary terms.

      Music files aren't tangible in the sense of the bold sec

      • by Nullav (1053766)

        since someone could argue that you go near a bookshelf with a flame and you won't have it any more
        True, but bits on a disk regularly shift as files are created, deleted or modified. Your bookshelf (probably) won't be turning into a bench in the near future.
    • by SQLGuru (980662)
      I don't have to go near your bookshelf with a magnet to destroy it (unless it's on your Kindle), but I can go by your bookshelf with a flamethrower and be just as effective in making it just a little less tangible.

      While I don't agree that something that can be replicated "out of nothing" with no loss to the original should ever be considered tangible (living beings are not created "from nothing" because food is consumed and converted into cells), but pointing out that there are some holes in your argument.

      L
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DannyO152 (544940)

      In California, sales taxes are paid on leased and rented equipment. So, no, ownership is not a key concept. You pay sales tax on a can of beer, so, no, permanence is not a key concept. Tangible means it takes real form. I move your sofa for $10 and there's no sales tax, because you did not gain any tangible good for my sale (of a service). You give me $10 a month and I tell you the important news of the day on demand: a service, not tangible, no sales tax. You give me $10 a month and I deliver a newspaper

  • by robinsonne (952701) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:36AM (#23000130)
    If music, etc is "tangible property" now, does that mean we get the same kind of fair use we expect from the other kinds of "tangible property" we own?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by giafly (926567)

      If music, etc is "tangible property" now, does that mean we get the same kind of fair use we expect from the other kinds of "tangible property" we own?
      And if imaginary property is now redefined as real property, do the owners of patents and copyrights have to pay property tax?
      • by geekoid (135745)
        Imaginary property isn't being redefined, digital content may be taxed.

        As discussed ad nauseum, the owners are taxed on their incomes, just like any author.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by megaditto (982598)
      Silly rabbit. State or Federal Government has no constitutional right to grant personal rights of any kind. They are limited to taking your rights and your property away from you...
      • by geekoid (135745)
        Copyright is the exception.

        This is one reason why it was such a trying point with some of the founding fathers. Also, copyright had a surprisingly large catalyst to the revolutionary war.

  • Wrong title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:37AM (#23000138)
    That should read: "Idiot Lawmaker Proposes Music Download Tax" but that may be redundant. Besides the obvious fact that it would be very hard to police (esp. the pr0n) this would lead to more piracy. Only legitimate outlets would be effected.

    "But his measure is being soundly criticized by Republicans, who are opposed to any tax increases to solve the deficit problem."

    So if you're not FOR the tax, you don't want to lower the deficit!

    " His bill, AB 1956, comes as Apple reports that its iTunes store has leap-frogged over Wal-Mart to become the top music retailer in the United States with more than 4 billion downloads sold."

    Odds are this bill comes AS A RESULT of iTunes leapfrogging Wal-Mart.

    • by geekoid (135745)
      He is not an idiot and if you step away from your soap box of logical fallacies, you would see that.

      The lawmakers sees exactly what is happening, and seems to understand how things are changing.

      "Besides the obvious fact that it would be very hard to police (esp. the pr0n) ..."
      no, not really.

      "this would lead to more piracy. "
      no it wouldn't. There is no evidence at all.
      iTunes has sold billions of downloads, ALL of which is available for free if someone wanted to ignore copyright laws. Yet people still pay.

      "So
  • Apparantly they think music piracy isn't rampant enough and feel the need to encourage it with a tax on legal downloads. Smart.
  • by Xanthvar (1046980) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:40AM (#23000192) Journal
    Is it considered property when you don't "Own" it? If I owned the music that I downloaded, I could give it away for free, and not be breaking the law. Instead, I am told that I don't own it, and am violating the IP of company X. In a way, this law could be a great thing, as, if they can tax it, then you must own it. If you own it, you can do whatever you like with it. Of course, IANAL, so this could all just be a pipe dream on my part.
  • Hmmmm ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:43AM (#23000240) Homepage
    Doesn't tangible personal property imply it's a good I could re-sell?

    If I buy an iTunes track, it's mine, sorta. But, I can't resell it, or give it away, or what have you. It's not tangible by any meaningful sense of that word. It's not like in a bankruptcy proceeding they could seize my music collection to help pay off my debtors.

    And, porn? Really? They think people are gonna pay tax on all that free porn they're pulling off (ahem) the internet?

    Seriously, yet another lawmaker who wants to monetize the internets to try to generate some cash or protect a special interest, and who doesn't actually know enough about the topic at hand to say anything reasonable. Hopefully, someone can slap some sense into him.

    Cheers
    • Re:Hmmmm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:53AM (#23000358) Journal
      "Hopefully, someone can slap some sense into him."

      What the hell are you thinking, man? He a freaking politician.
    • Re:Hmmmm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:55AM (#23000408)

      They think people are gonna pay tax on all that free porn they're pulling off (ahem) the internet?
      (emphasis added)
      According to TFA, it would be a tax on the sale price:

      If Calderon prevails, the 8.25 to 8.75 percent sales-tax rates in effect in most of the Bay Area would raise the cost of that 99-cent download to $1.07 or $1.08.
      So, presumably, free porn wouldn't be taxed at all--but you would have to pay tax on any porn you purchase online.

      This is interesting because if it's a sales tax, it won't apply to freely distributed intellectual works, like creative commons music. So if all my music downloads are free, I don't have to pay any tax. Presuming that they don't start taxing donations, this would actually make the creative commons business model (release for free, capitalize on donations, concerts, merchandise, etc.) even more compelling (for artist and consumer).

      That having been said, this overall sounds like a terrible idea. We need less monetization of intellectual works, not more.
  • Geez...how does it happen? When between being elected and making that first bill (or first vote) do politicians somehow think their only job is to RAISE taxes....or try to limit personal freedoms?!?!

    Why do they always seem to be on the prowl to find yet another way to tax us the public?

    I wish somehow, we could pass laws in each state AND nationally, that there be a mortorium on any new tax being instated. For like 5 years minimum...NO NEW TAXES, and even with that...no new taxes without equivalent tax b

    • Becuase there are deficits. The only way to pay for them is to increase taxes. The main cause of deficits is that we had this nifty stream taxing millionaries at a higher rate, but turns out when you cut the highest tax bracket by 6%, you lose a lot of money.

      I just want the highest bracket to be at 40%, and for capital gains to get taxed as income. Maybe in parallel (so the first $X,000 of capital gains wasn't taxed, the next bit at teh lowest tax rate, etc.).

      And 'gridlock' used to be called 'loyal opp

      • by jorghis (1000092)

        Becuase there are deficits. The only way to pay for them is to increase taxes.
        Or the government could just not spend so much. I mean really, the government (at all levels state/municipal/federal) wastes a phenomenal amount of money. We shouldnt be giving them more every time they go overbudget.
      • by gnuman99 (746007)
        In Canada capital gains are taxed at 50%. So, if you make $10,000 capital gains, $5,000 is taxable income. In the past I think it was more, like 75% but I'm not sure.

        China is more "liberal" regarding capital gains taxes - there is none. All you do is pay a 1 or 2% fee based on transaction amount. So I guess China is more capitalistic than even US.

        I do agree that capital gains should be counted as income taxes, though the lower inclusion rate (as in Canada) in important to keep people in investing money inst
      • I'd love to hear an argument for lowering taxes that wsn't based on the mentality of a three-year-old: This is MINE -or- We lower taxes, *fairy-dust*, more revenue.

        How about "cutting pork-barrel spending"? That oughta free up a chunk of cash...

    • I wish somehow, we could pass laws in each state AND nationally, that there be a mortorium on any new tax being instated. For like 5 years minimum...NO NEW TAXES, and even with that...no new taxes without equivalent tax being recinded, or cut in govt. spending.

      I think we need a constitutional amendment that states no person shall be subjected to (local, state, and federal) taxes totaling more than x% of their income, where x is hopefully rather low. Instead of allowing the government to tell us how much we get to keep, we need to start telling the government how much they're allowed to take.

      And I realize that as soon as this amendment passed, taxes would be set at x%. That's why x needs to be low. Graduate it based on income levels, if necessary (e.g., make i

    • Taxes are what you pay for a civil society. If you want total disorder, don't pay your taxes. I don't understand why people hate taxes so much. I love having police, fire, schools, roads, FAA, FTC, and all the other things that taxes bring.

      Unfair taxes are a problem, we just have to all agree what is unfair. It seem like this might be a case of an unfair tax, but that is why we have people represent us. If you don't like what he/she is doing, tell them, if they do it anyway, vote them out. It's not the
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:46AM (#23000274)
    Two points

    1) If it is property... then Riaa is going to start paying taxes on it. And of course property tax is value based so RIAA will have a reason to value their property lower.

    2) As the value approaches zero, the tax approaches zero. If you sell 1,000 songs for $1.00-- the tax on 1,000 songs is 8 cents (or .008 cents).
  • This is kind of amusing. The state of California has been trying to collect sales taxes on internet purchases for years, and they're been pretty roundly ignored. Yep, there's nothing that engenders respect for the law like passing one you know everyone will ignore.
  • Typical of Liberal Tax and Spend Democrats (as opposed to the Tax and Spend Lite Republicans).

    Every year it is more of the same. New "entitlements" where people are "entitled" to money and services that they don't have to pay for.

    What the idiots in the legislature don't realize is that all the "rich" people and "evil" companies, who can afford to leave, have and are leaving the state. Meanwhile we can't ask for ID to make sure that the people using these new "entitlements" are residents of the state (legal
    • by esocid (946821)
      Not being from CA I'm not sure what entitlements you are referring to but I don't think giving tax breaks to the rich and corporations isn't a way to support those entitlements either. It may entice them to stay, but how much of that money is being funneled back into the economy? Wealthy people accrue wealth and keep it that way, shelling out a little on the side to appear philanthropic. I'm not offering a solution because I honestly can't, but I'd prefer to pay taxes and get things in return like good muni
      • You have no idea what you're talking about. There are plenty of people LEAVING California because of the HIGH taxes, being used to support all sorts of wacky "progressive" entitlements. And people keep voting for the idiots who keep legislating these entitlements, and people who can afford to leave are.

        I know people who go to Nevada and Oregon to buy stuff, because the sales tax here is 7.25%, and it pays them to drive to another state to avoid it.

        And By Entitlements I mean legislatively mandated services t
  • If this catches on, you might eventually end up ponying up cash on every file that comes in across your WAN connection, including all those lovely invisible 1 by 1 pixel image files used for everything from advertiser user tracking to sloppy page formatting.
  • I think it quite fair to treat this like a reality TV show. First we gather together 9 legislators, each of whom want to sponsor some whacked out crack inspired law, like one that wants to tax porn downloads etc.

    Then through the week they compete. Some of the competitions are simple, like correctly applying constitutional law to every day situations. Others are more difficult, like a 15000 word essay on financial markets reform.

    At the end of the week, the legislator with the least points has to face off (ma
  • by overshoot (39700) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @10:55AM (#23000396)
    Of course, every page visited is a download, so in principle they could just tax all traffic.

    Given that this is California, that could take quite a byte out of the deficit.

    • I'm all for this as long as the taxes fund education [paly.net], especially those poor, underpaid UC Regents [sfgate.com]
      [/cynical]

      But seriously, I wouldn't mind massive tuition hikes for non-resident students. Too many damn foreigners(especially the ones from the midwest) are driving costs through the roof. It's tough being a native of the best state in the Union :)
  • Last time I checked, a sequence of 1s and 0s is not tangible. What part of tangible don't these clowns understand?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ari_j (90255)
      They understand it fine. That's why they have to "expand" the tax, to include sales of intangibles.
  • Let me follow the typical republican strategy of attacking anybody who clashes with their power-to-corporate strategy:
    1. I want netizens to dig out juicy personal details about this senator and publish it online in every place: Digg, reddit, etc.
    2. Form a focus group which buys ad time much like Swift Boat and puts out ads linking this senator with moneybags.
    3. Publish "expert" testimonies from many professors from major universities detailing how such a tax would cause a major recession in the state and al
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tjstork (137384)
      Publish "expert" testimonies from many professors from major universities detailing how such a tax would cause a major recession in the state and also snatch money from schools and education and send it to wall street

      Let's look at reality here. Taxation and fiscal policy plays a huge role in where businesses live, consumers shop, and people live. Taxes do make a determination as to whether or not to engage in a business. If your gross profit margin is ten percent, and taxes are fifty percent on that acti
      • Oil? Who talked about oil?
        Those bastards deserve to be taxed at 75% rate.
        About your concern about layoffs, how come Exxon did not layoff its CEO or reduced its salary of board, etc., in 1990s when it was laying off workers?
        Lets face facts here: Any company survives solely to earn money for its shareholders. Period. Whichever way they can use, they WILL use it. Much like a bull boy in school who beats up others to get their lunch since it is cheaper and easier to snatch it from others than make your own.
        Corp
        • by tjstork (137384)
          Oil? Who talked about oil?
          Those bastards deserve to be taxed at 75% rate.


          Why should they be taxed at a 75% rate? Why, because gas prices are so high? What I do not understand is, if you are so imperialistically inclined as to confiscate the wealth of your own countrymen, then why is it so wrong to go and invade Iraq to "steal their oil". I mean, if gas prices are so high and so evil that they are high, that you can go and confiscate Exxon out of business because he's a fat necked CEO, then what's really
    • Publish "expert" testimonies from many professors from major universities detailing how such a tax would cause a major recession in the state and also snatch money from schools and education and send it to wall stree

      It's my money. If I want to put my money in a 401k, in Wall Street, versus your school, then, that's my choice. I would think that, if the education of your child was so important to you, then might be motivated to earn enough to pay for it. My question is, if health care, education and even
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @11:02AM (#23000498)
    A tax on downloads is the worst possible way to handle this.

    First, it does not solve any of the "problems". Any of them.

    Second, everybody is being charged for a "problem" (the quotes are on purpose... I don't agree that there even is a real problem here) caused by a relative few.

    Third, the money is going to the wrong people.

    And so on. It's just a BAD idea.
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@nosPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @11:04AM (#23000530) Homepage Journal
    California is facing some enormous budget shortfalls and the Democratic controlled state legislature simply will not cut state spending. Arnold (by no means a hard right winger), tried to cut spending but met with a hailstorm of resistance in a state whose politics are dominated by powerful unions.

    Democrats in California have already been arguing for a tax increase, and in that environment, saying that sales taxes have to be paid on internet items might be politically the easiest thing for them to do. After all, they could argue, somewhat disingenously - why should everyone else pay taxes, but internet businesses not?
  • Define "download" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jockeys (753885) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @11:05AM (#23000540) Journal
    in the digital world, there is very little difference between "viewing" and "downloading" so where will the line be drawn?

    in the case of pr0n, even if you don't download it to your hard drive, if you can see it in your browser, you have downloaded it. (duh, you got the data somehow) would this same principle apply to net radio, streaming music, youtube, etc? makes you wonder how far they will run with it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @11:07AM (#23000558)
    Interesting, I've always paid state sales taxes on my iTunes downloads here in Maine. I never realized until now that some other states [who have sales tax] weren't doing the same.
  • by Gallenod (84385) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @11:11AM (#23000596)
    This rasies a basic question: Which state can collect a tax on an Internet-based sale, the state where the seller operates or the state where the consumer makes the purchase?

    Let's say I live in Vermont and I buy a song from iTunes, which is based in California.

    Vermont claims that people owe it sales tax because they're in Vermont and buying something in another state that they could be buying here. If a Vermont resident goes to another state with no or lower sales tax to buy a car, Vermont requires that they pay Vermont's sales tax equal to the difference between the two when they register it in Vermont. There's also a section on Vermont tax returns that asks state residents to estimate the sales tax we would have paid if we'd bought something locally instead of through a Web site that, at present, implies that if they buy music through iTunes they should be paying state tax on the purchase.

    The California proposal seems to think consumers are going, in a virtual sense, to California to buy my music. Because the transaction happens in California, they want to collect tax.

    The Vermont requirement is apparently widely ignored and impossible to enforce unless the out-of-state business collects the tax for it. The California proposal would be enforceable only as long as the iTunes music store is hosted there. It would likely be moved off-shore if this proposal passes.

    This will likely take Federal legislation or a Supreme Court decision defining the basis for where a tax is levied: on the location of the consumer or the location of the business. If the former, every business with a Web presence will have to incorporate 50+ different tax rules based on customer location, possibly more if they serve international customers.

    It would be simpler would be to tax where the business is located, but then most states would object to the revenue loss and businesses would move their Web operations to states with low or no sales tax or off-shore (which would then likely cause Congress to pass legislation allowing states to tax their residents for out-of-state purchases anyway).

    As always, it's about money which is of course is the root of all evil, which makes us a really evil society.

    • If I remember correctly, most states have "Sales and Use" tax. If you purchase something from another state, you're supposed to pay the sales tax on it to your state. In theory, if you purchase something in a state where you don't intend to use it, you aren't supposed to pay the sales tax on it to that state. More realistically, of course, the store would still charge the sales tax and you'd be responsible for getting a refund from the state, but for most purchases it isn't worth the trouble.
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @11:16AM (#23000662) Homepage Journal
    only the rich have computers anyway
    they need to pay their fair share those dirty rotten music down loaders
    we are taxing perverts, you want to tax them, right?
    it is for the children.
    the revenue will go towards reducing our impact on the environment!

    which statements can we queue up to support this? I expect the bulk of them to show up at one time or the other

    Sorry, it never ceases to amaze me that when facing a spending problem their first reaction is to increase taxes.
  • by Simonetta (207550) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @11:28AM (#23000806)
    So looking at this guy's legislative website, he claims to be a 'first Latino to do this and that'. He's most proud of getting legislation passed to 'force drug dealers pay for the damage that they cause their community'. So it would appear that he specializes in vague undefined pseudo-laws primarily designed to shake down anyone without the resources to prevent this from happening (lawyers in the USA, private armies in Mexico). Basically another fine-and-upstanding slimeball politician. Wasn't Ahnaald going crunch up all this little schmucks into little balls and turn them into shiny new barbells?

        Check out the shape of his legislative district (California #58). It's a true octopus. Precisely gerrymandered (an American term meaning the drawing of political boundaries to ensure permanent re-election of the people drawing the boundaries) down to the household to ensure that this bozo can never be voted away.

        In the not-too-distant future, bozos like this will avoid tangling with the technicians in order to avoid having their slimy little scams and fiefdoms exposed on the web like this.
  • by ebcdic (39948) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @11:38AM (#23000982)
    There seems to be a view in America that for some reason online sale of non-physical products can't be taxed in the same way as other sales, either because it's wrong in some way or impossible to police. And yet in the rest of the world it's common - in Europe you have to pay VAT on iTunes purchases just as you do on everything else.
    • by Stele (9443)
      Excellent point, and another argument for the Fair Tax (which I strongly support). There would be no dodging paying tax on purchased "goods", virtual or otherwise.
  • Wouldn't this then mean that you're purchasing the music itself, and not just a license to the music? How does the RIAA feel about that?
  • Cuz I'm the TAXMAN yeah the tax man.
  • OK, someone explain how this works to me please.

    The RIAA and all seem to insist that, even when buying physical CDs, let alone digital Rights-managed files, that we don't own the files - what we're paying for is a "use license". This is why they have always claimed that we don't have the right to space/time/format shift, make backup copeis, resell, or generally do whatever we want under the Fair Use tenets.

    Now, a senator in California is attempting to apply a personal property tax - a tax on tangible,

    • I think it would be a 'use tax' and I think that use tax would be something that you could use on your income taxes. At least I am hoping that would be the way it would work, like sales taxes. But who knows. I think this senator is a f****** a**h*** for even suggesting a tax, and no I am NOT a republican, but I hate taxes! Out taxes need to be managed, not abused like they have been for years.
  • You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Rob
  • I thought the RIAA said we don't own these songs. How can they tax us on something we don't own?
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:18PM (#23004046)
    It's attitudes like this that make me glad I don't live in California any longer.

    And this is nothing new. Some years ago now there was a ballot measure to add 1 cent to the gasoline tax to fund mass transit. Now, of course, people driving cars already aren't users of mass transit and therefore don't wish to pay for it. The ballot measure was soundly defeated!

    Wonder of wonders, some bright light in the tax department in Sacramento SUDDENLY DISCOVERED that, Hey, we can apply Sales Tax to gasoline, which we never did before because we already had a gasoline tax. And on top of that, we can apply Sales Tax to THE ENTIRE PRICE of a gallon of gasoline, resulting in what should never be allowed, A TAX ON A TAX!

    FRUTHERMORE, Sales Tax goes into the General Fund, meaning we can SPEND IT ON ANYTHING WE LIKE including mass transit, or not. That's still in effect in California, which is one of the two reasons why CALIFORNIA HAS SOME OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE GASOLINE IN THE COUNTRY! (Hawaii at least has the excuse that they have to import all their gasoline for their prices.)

    This is timely because California is at it again trying to get registered car owners to pay for mass transit. And now it's IN ADDITION to the sales tax on gasoline!!

  • by eagl (86459) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @04:35PM (#23004982) Journal
    The proposal is insane, since you simply can't buy music as property. Everyone knows that all you get, whether you buy a CD or download music, is a license to listen to the music.

    If what you bought was actual property, we wouldn't have nearly the DRM and piracy mess as we do now. Lawmakers have to make a decision - leave it as a license and not taxable, or call it property, tax it, and let customers do whatever they like with their property after it's purchased.

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