LIFE OF CRIME: US hit TV show Orange is the New Black is on Netflix. Bruce Kerr (inset) feels more Australians may illegally pirate online if downloaded content is taxed.
LIFE OF CRIME: US hit TV show Orange is the New Black is on Netflix. Bruce Kerr (inset) feels more Australians may illegally pirate online if downloaded content is taxed. FRANCOIS GUILLOT

It’s a pirate’s life if downloads are taxed

BRUCE Kerr thinks the Abbott government's plans to implement tax on downloaded content may push more Australians into a life of piracy.

The party's recent early budget release proposes to implement the 10% goods and services tax on "intangibles" such as downloaded books, music, videos and software.

The Federal Government is currently losing $1 billion a year by not taxing these products.

Mr Kerr, managing director of Kerr Solutions, said Australians were already paying 50% more for software and hardware than their US counterparts. 

Bruce Kerr, owner / manager of Kerr Solutions Pty Ltd with the new Windows 8 operating system. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Bruce Kerr, owner / manager of Kerr Solutions Pty Ltd with the new Windows 8 operating system. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill

He said taxing popular, affordable companies such as Netflix would keep Australians from legitimately purchasing content and keep them on the path of illegal downloading.

An Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation study found 69% of Australian 18 to 24-year-olds were already pirating in some way.

"We have had the whole 'destroying our local artists by pirating' rammed down our throats for the last several years. Now that a competitive, convenient, modern company offers us a legitimate alternative, the government wants to try to jump on them with a tax," Mr Kerr said.

"This will simply keep a larger percentage of our population pirating movies and music."



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