Sunday, January 2

Pirates? I thought Zambia was landlocked.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been waging a high-profile war on file-sharing. Now Zambia wants in on the action. The Times of Zambia reports that Zambia's Copperbelt Province has recently launched an "anti-piracy crack squad."

There's an important difference between the RIAA's fight and Zambia's battle. The RIAA argues that it's the recording industry that is losing billions of dollars every year from people downloading music. In Zambia, however, the Information and Broadcasting Deputy Minister, Gaston Sichilima, argues it is Government that is losing tax revenue as a result of piracy. No doubt the U.S. Government hasn't cracked down on file-sharing, because it doesn't collect a national sales tax, like Zambia's government. I guess that's one more argument against eliminating state and local tax collection in favor of a national sales tax.

The article never mentions exactly what kind of piracy the so-called "crack squad" is combatting, or how much revenue Zambia expects to recover as a result. After all, how many scratchy, bootlegged rhumba cassettes can there be?

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