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Who wants a music tax?

This blanket is no comfort

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"I don't agree with Pete Jenner's view for a blanket license. You can't tax people for something they don't use, when it's a leisure activity," she told us earlier this year.

"And where will it stop – TV, film? Everybody would want some. So either that two Euros becomes horribly diluted, or it becomes 10 Euros and you've taxed everybody for stuff they don't use, and you've negated the purpose of the exercise."

(Ominously for some, the Hollywood's lobby group the Motion Picture Association of America was one of the signatories of last week's MoU.)

In fact, I couldn't find anyone apart from Pete Jenner to speak up for a blanket. And at various points, even Pete sounded like he didn't want a tax, either.

"No Government will bring in a tax. It's an Access to music charge and it has to be introduced on a voluntary negotiated basis," he said.

"We live in society; you don't choose anything and everything that happens. If you say to me it's likely there'll be a tax charged by the government that's compulsory, I'll say it seems unlikely."

Yet Jenner clearly favours a low rate "blanket", where if you don't pay it, you will be coerced into a severely limited broadband service - where "services are slow or blocked off and don't give you much more than email," in Pete's own words.

Tax or no tax? I felt as if Heiseinberg's uncertainty principle was at work. A tax was raised, but as soon as it was examined, it changed form - morphing, rhetorically, into a "voluntary" arrangement. Round, and round, and round we went.

Even after this year's Kristiansand Summit, where Informa's Music And Copyright newsletter erroneously reported that attendees expressed a "consensus" for a Jenner-style blanket, I still find support is scant to non-existent. And since everyone else favours a voluntary (and higher) subscription-style access charge for music, I still can't understand why this Tax Bomb keeps going off.

Some people like playing with explosives, I guess, even when it blows everybody up. ®

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