New York governor proposes a ‘download tax’

18 Feb 2009

In a proposal to reverse the Big Apple’s financial fortunes and close the state’s US$15bn budget deficit, the governor of New York has proposed a 4pc internet download tax.

Governor David Paterson’s proposal sounds bizarre, but up to 20 states across the US have imposed similar taxes on downloadable content, such as iTunes.

The proposal takes in everything from music, software and books, and even includes pornography.

Critics have labelled Paterson’s proposal the ‘iPod tax’ and New York’s Conservative Party chairman Michael Long has said of the inclusion of pornography in the plan: “By taxing it, you’re legitimising it.”

Paterson’s idea has also been mooted on this side of the Atlantic, with the UK last July looking at plans to put a £30 sterling levy on internet usage annually in a move that would allow users to download previously illegal music, with the money channelled back to the copyright holders.

But over in New York, there are fears that online industries, from music to pornography may be driven away by the potential new tax.

By John Kennedy