Feeds

Land of cheese adopts internet download tax

Wisconsin covets New York porn revenue

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

With many US states scrambling to fix major budget shortfalls, legislators are taking an added interest in taxes on digital music, videos, and software.

Wisconsin today followed in the footsteps of New York State by passing a stimulus bill that includes a measure for adding sales tax to digital downloads starting October 1. The bill also includes budget cuts as well as a variety of tax increases to patch Wisconsin's $600m shortfall under its current budget set to expire June 30.

But the bill is getting a lot of media play for its digital tax provisions, fingered as (the arguably misleading moniker of) an "iPod tax." The name obviously downplays the true reach of the tax, which levies a 4 per cent charge on "digitally delivered entertainment services" including music, movies, e-books, greeting cards, ringtones, and many other downloadable items. It's expected to generate $11m for the state over two years.

We don't think we're being pedantic over the overly-specific term "iPod tax" judging by the shock and horror from New York state pundits recently learning their digital download tax will also cover internet pornography. We pointed this out back in December, but clearly its taken a while for the revelation to spread (although I think there's a cream for that).

The New York state Division of Budget confirmed to the Associated Press that the tax would apply to grumble flicks downloaded online or purchased on pay-per-view television. Of course, there isn't nearly so many folks willing to publicly despair a surcharge on When Harry Wet Sally as everyone's favorite digital music player – but it appears the anti-pornography crowd is calling the tax a [*ahem*] slippery slope.

"By taxing it you're legitimizing it," said Michael Long, chairman of the New York Conservative Party told the AP. "You're sending a message to the children, you're sending a message to the teenagers, if you're taxing it – how can it be wrong? I don't know how you can sink much deeper."

[Lord knows horny teenagers always check their local tax codes before surfing internet pornography. Also, apparently New York's taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and gambling make them all A-OK for kids].

The tax only applies to pornographers in New York state, however, and out-of-state skin hustlers won't have to collect from New Yorkers.

Nevertheless, the age of a tax-free internet in America appears to drawing to a close. And state governments rooting for change under the couch cushions will only help quicken the pace. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.