Thursday, September 11, 2008

Regulate and Tax the Internet? Only in Canada

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About a decade ago, Canadian government regulator of the broadcasting and telecommunications industries, the CRTC dismissed the possibility of regulating the Internet as too big and virtually impossible. According to a CBC News story the idea of the Canadian government regulating and putting special taxes on Internet access is again rearing it's ugly head.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission is going to review the regulation of "New Media". Eli Noam, drector of the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information is recommending that Internet should regulated but special taxes should be collected to put more Canadian content on the Internet.

If the past decade of the web as mass media has shown anything, it's that having the Internet unregulated has helped Canadian content not hurt it. A decade ago the .ca subdomain was heavily regulated and as a result only goverment and academic web sites domain names ended in .ca. It was only when regulations were broken down that thousands of .ca websites appeared.

As if the idea of putting Canadian content regulations on the Internet is height of delusion, the Idea taxing Internet access takes the height of delusion into the stratosphere. If a Canadian content tax goes onto Internet access, then a tax for the recording industry and movie studios wouldn't be too far behind.

Such abusrd ideas usually don't come to light during an election campaign, let's just hope that those seeking elected office see these crazy ideas as insane as they are.

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