Let’s introduce an asshole tax for the entertainment industries

No, really. Every time they do something that makes people go “Christ, what a bunch of assholes”, we should choose a record company or film studio at random and force them to hand over a few billion quid. Today’s reason? The “iPod tax” about to hit the Dutch. With rates of up to £2.22 per gigabyte mooted, that’s £120 on an iPod; when players get bigger, the tax will be £440 on a 200Gb hard disk and a very reasonable £2,220 on the not-far-off 1 Terabyte hard disks.

It’s a novel twist: the music industry (or at least, its agent) has moved beyond wanting people to pay over the odds for downloads to wanting them to pay over the odds for *nothing at all*.

*wanders round the office, swearing*

The important thing about this particular outbreak of idiocy is that it’s a tax on hard disks. How much of an iPod Photo’s hard disk will be used for music, and how much for photos? And how much of the music, if any, will be dodgy? No idea. Impossible to work out. So the whole thing gets taxed. Same applies to portable media centres, video iPods, high capacity mobile phones, and ultimately anything with a hard disk in it. They can all potentially store illegal copies of copyright material, so they’re all arguably within the scope of the tax.

*jumps around the office, swearing some more*

As the Register/Faultline article notes:

Already in Germany there is a levy on PC hard drives, that will soon become larger than the entire PC industry revenue if it is left in place. Within two years, as disk drive sizes move to terabyte class on notebooks, and petabyte levels on home DVRs, the tax will come to far outweigh not just the cost of the drive, but the cost of the device.

If you think this is an isolated occurrence, you’re wrong: it’s been tried before, albeit on a slightly less silly scale, in Canada.