Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“We interrupt this blog. . .”

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Hall on August 23, 2010

. . . for a totally non-Civil War-related post.

Via Conor Friedersdorf, the City of Philadelphia is demanding that small-time bloggers purchase a $300 business license, whether they actually make any money or not. Seemingly, the only criterion is that the blog be set up so that it might potentially generate income, through automated ads or similar, common tools.

I doubt this effort will go very far — after all, income from blogging is taxable under prevailing tax codes anyway, and most small bloggers (myself included) don’t think of their effort as a business in any case, but it’s still a troublesome development.

Update, August 24: Oh, my, looks like I’ve really set off Robert over at Cenantua. Poor man’s so upset, he’s speaking in tongues! 😉 And just to clarify, he’s dead right about this.

Update 2, August 24: Matt Yglesias picks up on this story at CAP. One of his commenters pushes back:

Similar to the danger of barbers cutting people’s throats, a blog in untrained hands is a dangerous thing.

What if an untrained blogger does not know the proper colors that should be used for a pleasant reading experience that doesn’t strain the eyes? Or if he/she uses too much white in the background, causing unnecessary electricity usage all over Philadelphia?

It only makes sense that Philadelphia would protect its constituents from these dangers.


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6 Responses

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  1. John Cummings said, on August 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Yet another effort to silence the avenue of free speech that the internet has supplied. They will tell you it is a matter of collecting revenue, but in the long run, it is a means of controlling the vox populi.

    • Andy Hall said, on August 23, 2010 at 7:56 pm

      John, thanks for your comment. I’m not sure it’s really as subtle as all that; it may be as simple as someone in the city finance director’s office saying, “um, OK, where else can we drum up some cash?”

      But this does seem to be a short-sighted move. After all, bloggers — among all people — are not without a voice and a following. I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s admonition, not to pick fights with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.

  2. Robert Moore said, on August 24, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Tampering with the absoluteness of free speech offered to all via the Web is a sure avenue to a revolt of the “populi”.

    That said, some people don’t get it. The Web is not the telephone. Rather, it is a massive free press. They who want to impose taxes on it show their ignorance of the technology and the manner in which it empowers people.

    • Andy Hall said, on August 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm

      Not to get all-politicky on what’s supposed to be an historical blog, but I cannot fathom how some groups are successfully whipping up opposition to Net Neutrality among supposedly grass-roots, liberty-minded political protesters. The idea of maintaining the Internet as a free and open channel for all legal content seems a complete no-brainer, but it’s portrayed as another “gubmint takeover,” so it’s apparently easy to gin up support agin’ it.

  3. […] My “demonstration” in this post is aligned with the sentiments expressed by Andy in his post from the other day. It’s my way of voicing an opinion against anyone wanting to lay fees on […]

  4. Robert Moore said, on August 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    As long as I don’t start talking like Dennis Hopper in “Apocalypse Now”, it’s all good. : -)

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