Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 19th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
Content copyright © 1995 - 2014 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk
Please visit the sponsor!
It was reported in yesterday's media that Labour is contemplating the introduction of a "digital content levy" to pay for the production of online content.
This would be the equivalent of the old radio and TV licenses that we had to pay for in order to fund the public broadcasting system.
Is this a good idea?
Hell no it isn't!
Do we really want to take the internet back to the way TV and radio were in the 1960s?
What would be the point in collecting huge sums of money, handing it over to some self-appointed body and then allowing that body to dish it out to their mates and the well-connected, as currently is rumoured to happen with the NZ On Air funding?
One also can't help but wondering why those creating online content aren't eligible for NZ On Air funding anyway.
I create a *lot* of online content which reaches a lot of people - so would *I* be eligible for funding from this proposed new body?
I suspect not.
Chances are that in the eyes of those handing out other people's money, nothing I'm doing is culturally significant or "worthy" enough to qualify.
With all of the major TV broadcasters now repurposing a significant amount of their home-grown content for the Net it is pretty obvious to me that the need for a "digital content levy" is already zero.
Much of the content that now appears on the web-pages of broadcasters and news publishers is already being created for their primary distribution channels, ie: TV or print -- so what would this content levy actually fund?
Sadly, I suspect it would go to esoteric cultural and community groups on the basis of sticking to the idiom of political correctness -- or it would simply go into the pockets of consultants and media companies who were already producing online content anyway. Neither of those outcomes provides any real addition benefit for the average Net user.
The cost of creating content for and publishing content on the internet is already so low (when compared to broadcast or print) that there's no need to give handouts to those at the bottom of the ladder. Likewise, there's no need to fund the existing publishers and broadcasters because their Net-based content is already paid for by the other distribution channels they use.
Sorry, but I see far too much potential for rorts with any digital content levy -- unless...
Why not charge every Net user a flat $5 a month to cover *all* digital content found on line? I'm talking about all that stuff you find on P2P networks, unlawful downloads of box-office movies, popular music, etc.
The movie studios and recording industry are constantly telling us how much money they're losing to illegal downloads and file-sharing -- let's create a levy that can be used to compensate them for these losses.
Of course, once that levy applies, we would then be entitled to an "all you can eat" content-fest with no further payment required. Any starters?
Please visit the sponsor!
(Sorry, forums are stuffed at present)
Remember, this is purely a gift, you'll get nothing other than a warm fuzzy feeling in return.