Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Should Movie Downloaders Who Clog The Internet Pay More?

The San Antonio-Express News had an article titled In a test, Time Warner Net hogs will pay for bytes. The basic idea is that people downloading movies use up lots of bandwidth and that slows down things for the rest of us that use the internet for more basic purposes. Since they are slowing things down, maybe they should pay more. So if they do this less (which would follow the law of demand), then things would go faster for the rest of us. Some experts say that more broadband infrastructure could take care of the problem.

But these big downloaders might be creating what we call negative externalities. Some people impose costs on others like drivers who create pollution. One solution to that is to tax the polluting activity. This higher price on the movie downloaders is like a tax.

This is also like paying a toll on highways. When few people are on the highways, you don't need tolls. But if things get congested, one way to unclog them is to charge a toll. I had a blog entry on this a couple of months ago. You can read that here.


Danielle said...

I think that putting a tax on internet downloads to make up for the congestion they cause is a plausable solution. Although i would like to bring up the point that the majority of online downloading is illegally downloaded. To impose higher costs on downloads that are legally obtained seems to be punishing those who are following downloading laws, while the majority of downloaders are unaffected.

Cyril Morong said...

Danielle, thanks for dropping by and commenting. You make a good point-certainly legal downloaders should not be punished because of what law breakers do. The big question is how fast would things work if the illegal downloaders were out of the picture? Would things still be slow?

Champ said...

No, they wouldn't be that slow at all. Legal downloaders do not normally have such huge files to download. Hence, this makes a much fast and pleasant browsing experience. I say charge them the surcharge, because they are stealing money out of Film Directors pockets such as myself.