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Re: GNU/Linux taxed in Poland ?! (fwd)

On Mon, Nov 13, 2000 at 11:29:54PM +0100, Mariusz Przygodzki wrote:
> On Monday 13 November 2000 23:16, Craig Sanders wrote:
> > you will have a receipt for a software CD called Debian GNU/Linux.
> > that's what it cost you to buy it, including the cost of materials and
> > the cost of the license.
> I don't think it includes a cost of license. In few mails before I have 
> clarified it why.

sure it does. the monetary cost of the license is zero dollars, which is
clearly included in the price you paid for the CD.

> > importantly, it also establishes that MS software is not an
> > appropriate reference for price.  MS Windows etc cost hundreds of
> > dollars.  A Debian CD costs $2.
> So I don't like M$ shareware. It's to expensive.

fair enough. but you need to challenge their use of MS software
as a reference price. you can do that in at least two ways: a)
by establishing that gnu/linux is an entirely different type of
software, with vastly different functionality to MS software; and b) by
establishing that gnu/linux software already has a known market price
- either use the $2 price of a CD, or the retail price of any of the
commercial distributions or the retail price of a BSD CD-set.

> > btw, another possible line of argument is that free software is not
> > a personal gift, it is a gift to the public of the world - anyone,
> > anywhere is licensed to use it at no cost. it's like a public park,
> > not like an individual present.
> It's a good argument for Linux users but I am not sure if it's enough
> for Polish tax offices. These guys do not have such sense of humour if
> they talks about money.

true, but unless someone makes these arguments to them (and does it
repeatedly), it's just not going to sink in.

the tax office's argument is that tax is payable because you are getting
something which normally costs $xxx as a gift. you need to prove (and
get them to understand) that it normally costs nothing, that it is free
to use and copy for anyone in the world.

it's probably also worth finding out if there have been any previous tax
rulings related to public domain or out-of-copyright works - probably
more likely to be for books or audio recordings than for software.

also find out if commercial radio stations have to pay tax on the value
of any records or CDs sent to them by record companies. they probably
don't have to, and would have serious objections to the accounting and
administrative overhead of keeping track of it...they also have the
money and legal staff to fight this kind of ruling and make a precedent.
drag them into the fight whether they like it or not.

finally, the tax office affects all computer users in poland not just
linux users. people download and use free software for all operating
systems, not just linux - start a publicity campaign against the
tax office for trying to tax free stuff downloaded from the net.
remember, they are a slow government bureacracy (and thus working in a
technological dark age). you should be able to run rings about them in
any publicity war.


craig sanders

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