Breaking News: Fedex and UPS to pay levies on books, CDs and DVDs delivered

Speakers and headphones to be taxed as well….
You’re right, it’s not true. But it might as well be. Kevin Marks reminded me about this story, via Gordon Cook’s community. Thanks to Kevin and to Gordon et al; it has been a busy day, and I forgot to pick up on the story.

I’m not even going to bother debating it. Pfui.
Instead, I’m going to point you towards some more worthwhile developments, as reported by Malc. As the business model for digital music disaggregates and reaggregates, with some market participants leaving and others joining, some very interesting possibilities emerge.

An aside. The Tax-The-ISP plan had an unusual table on the sources of MP3 player content in the UK, apparently from ICM Research in December 2005:

  • 65% ripped or copied from owned CDs
  • 11% copied from friends
  • 18% P2P downloads
  • 6% paid-for downloads

I would be fascinated to see evidence of any relationship or linkage between the 18% downloaded and their related CD sales. I think the two are complementary and not substitutes, that P2P downloads spur the purchase of “legal” music, either in CD form or in digital download form.

The Friends bit is also interesting, given the way different cultures define Family.

4 thoughts on “Breaking News: Fedex and UPS to pay levies on books, CDs and DVDs delivered”

  1. Hi JP

    I wonder whether you read the news reports about “Attention Deficit Trait” (ADT)?


    I thought this was something you must have thought about.

    “As many as one in three employees, especially managers, may have some symptoms of the disorder, but it’s claimed whole organisations can be engulfed by it. It’s a response to the hyperkinetic environment in which we live, say psychiatrists.”

    “Illness rates, especially anxiety and depression, were higher than expected among managers, secretaries and clerks, and people employed in the financial industry and in education.”

    “Dr Hallowell, who runs the Centre for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Massachusetts, says that new technologies like e-mail, voicemail and instant messaging are contributing to the problem.”

    “Professor Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, says the problem of mental ill health in the workplace is reaching epidemic proportions. “We all know there is a big problem going on. It is the new disease ~ the black plague of the 21st century.” He says there are a number of causes: “Change, and change over which people feel they have no control, is a significant cause of stress.”

    Would be glad to hear your views about this.



  2. Not sure the tax-the-ISP plan (which the EFF have touted for a while) has any legs really, since this invetibly means passing on the tax to the consumer (regardless of actual consumption of downloaded music i.e. an inequitable tax) or selling ad space on the consumer’s connection. This is how radio works, and is not a good model to replicate.

    So I think we’re back to pay-to-download, either on a trust model sans DRM or with some ideal-world next gen industry standard DRM which is used by all stores and all devices.

    Obviously the former is preferable and these days I’m a lot more confident it might work with developments like Mr. Curry’s Podshow+.

    Re. those stats, they are interesting. I wonder if they mean that this is how each iPod is broken down. More likely I think is that e.g. 18% of all iPods have 100% P2P music, 65% have 100% ripped CDs etc.

    And the evidence that P2P downloads increase legitimate music sales is the holy grail of the anti-DRM lobby… as far as I know it’s not yet been conclusively proven, though intuitively seems like it might be the case. It seems reasonable to me that only an artist’s most popular tracks/films might be available via P2P download with any reliability, meaning that exploration of their back catalogue would necessarily be by online/offline purchase.

  3. My thoughts:

    Chutki, if someone allows himself to be disturbed regularly then he will be disturbed regularly. Calling it a Trait does not make it a medical condition. McKinsey labels on Powerpoint don’t create an organisation.

    Stu, I believe the stats are not for “whole iPods” but more granular than that, across multiple devices as well.

    I don’t know what the EFF said. But I do know what Cory and Suw and ORG said. Which was, summarised, hippofaeces.

    I quote from something Kevin Marks forwarded me:

    Digital rights activist Cory Doctorow says: “The music industry wants
    to make ISPs liable for the traffic they carry, and sue them if they
    don’t take action to police their users. The only way to accomplish
    such a policing is to throttle, spy, and firewall out potentially
    infringing traffic, an incredibly invasive regime that has no basis in
    international copyright or telecommunications law.”

  4. JP — here’s what the EFF (of which Cory Doctorow is an ex-employee and fellow I believe) said in describing their ideal world P2P scenario:

    including the quote:

    ” How do we get filesharers to pay up? […] ISPs could bundle the fee into their price of their broadband services for customers who are interested in music downloading. After all, ISPs would love to be able to advertise a broadband package that includes “downloads of all the music you want.”

    Unless I’m much mistaken the plan you report is a move on behalf of music industry rights holders to get ISPs to pay (and inevitably pass on the costs of) compensation to rights holders, which doesn’t sound a million miles away from the EFF’s ideal world vision. And the EFF presumably implicitly supports some form of ‘spying’ on consumer activity in this statement since they propose that only customers who are ‘interested in music downloading’ would be charged (and how else do you determine that interest than to monitor whether they are downloading music?)

    I guess my general point is that from the perspective of someone who is interested but not directly involved in the debate on IPR and privacy (i.e. me), the posturing and shrill denunciations by parties on both sides of this issue seems counter-productive, especially on occasions where there seems to be some common ground.

Let me know what you think

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