psy gangnam style copyright ads

State Favors -- Who Needs State Favors?
subsidies tax breaks race to bottom

Psy Makes MillionS By Ignoring Copyright Infringement

When government gets involved in business, it does more harm than good. All it really needs to do is enforce your right to a share of the common wealth. We excerpt two 2012 articles from (1) Tech Dirt, Dec 9, on copyright by G. Moody and (2) Real News Network, Dec 11, on subsidies by Paul Jay.

by Glyn Moody and by Paul Jay

Korean singer Psy's relaxed attitude to people infringing on his copyright helped turn his song Gangnam Style (named after an upscale part of the capital Seoul) into one of the most successful cultural phenomena in recent years, and that includes becoming the most-viewed video on YouTube ever.

This free-and-easy, laid-back approach is all very nice, but it doesn't put food on his table, does it? If you want to make a living from this stuff, you've got to enforce copyright to stop all those freeloaders ruining your business. Well, maybe not:

With one song, 34-year-old Park Jae-sang -- better known as PSY -- is set to become a millionaire from YouTube ads and iTunes downloads, underlining a shift in how money is being made in the music business. An even bigger dollop of cash will come from TV commercials.

From just those sources, PSY and his camp will rake in at least $8.1 million this year. That money comes mostly from things not directly connected with either his music or video: It is television commercials that are the big money spinner.

Artists can give away copies of their music and videos to build their reputations and then earn significant sums by selling associated scarcities -- in this case, appearances in TV commercials. Now, not every musician may want to take that route, but there are plenty of other ways of exploiting global successes like Gangnam Style -- none of which requires copyright to be enforced.

To read more

JJS: Since artists and inventors can succeed without copyrights and patents, then government loses its excuse for giving them away for nearly free, just a small filing fee. Charging so little is what allows the giant corporations like Intel and Disney and GM to buy thousands of those pieces of paper each year and stockpile them so nobody else can use the ideas and extend knowledge and art in those directions. Society loses both the advances on the frontier of art and knowledge and the its share of the value by granting cheap, under-market titles for ownership.

Rather than charge a pittance, our governments could sell its stamp of ownership for as much as owning the thing is worth. That’s what a private firm selling property protection would do -- gear the price of its insurance to the value of the thing insured, gear the price of its loan to the value of the thing pre-purchased, gear the price of its brokerage to the value of stock brokered, etc. Run government like a business and the public treasury would be stuffed with revenue. Instead, our governments subsidize big businesses, lavishing upon them corporate welfare.

About $80 billion of subsidies are given out by states and locales to corporations every year.

It's a race to the bottom; it's the normal culture of doing business.

The money thrown at corporations by states to invite investment is a boondoggle that should be ended by federal law.

To read more

JJS: Above they use “subsidy” to mean “tax break”. It’s still a favor for business at the expense of the public, but different. The excuse that politicians give for favoring business is to create jobs, which shows you the kind of trouble that worshipping jobs can get you into.

Better than the addiction to jobs would be to stand up straight, stop seeing oneself as no more than a grunt that can only work for a boss, that can’t start their own business. Further, stop seeing labor as the only valid source of income and start seeing an income apart from labor as valid, too. Unable to see people as capable of starting a business and as worthy of a non-labor income, the commentators above propose creating jobs via government spending.

However, paying people to do stuff that would not return an equivalent value is what sinks governments deep into debt. To pay down the debt, governments raise the wrong taxes. To attract outside companies, government lower for them some taxes that actually are fair, namely the tax on land that’s embedded in the property tax.

When and where governments shift their property tax off buildings, onto locations, they actually create jobs. That’s because owners who’d been speculating and withholding their sites from use get busy and develop, which attracts investment and provides employment. Further, the extra commerce lifts parcel values, growing the tax base, and stuffs the public treasury.

Government could that abundant revenue to pay residents a dividend. Both the dividend plus the greater demand for labor pushing up wages would nicely swell the income of most people. They could enjoy more leisure, which would reduce the supply of labor, and again pump up wages. But to enjoy reforms that work, not only must governments quit favoring business but pundits must quit favoring workers and instead advocate for the entire human being, needing free time, time to enjoy music videos like Gangnam Style, as much as needing work. A geonomic policy delivers both.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

The Rich Get More From Government Than Anyone

Big-name economist tells Congress to geonomize

Tax Dollars for Mitt Romney & a Film Pro-Smoking

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