Over the holidays, fans of comic-book publisher Marvel protested the company’s support of the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA). Coverage at Big Shiny Robot provides a reasonably comprehensive overview of the debate. BSR notes, helpfully, that Marvel is owned by Disney, whose support for SOPA is widely known.
It is interesting that, as Marvel is asking the U.S. government to intervene with pirates, it is also reclassifying all of its mutants as non-human so that it can save almost half of the import tax due on action figures. Apparently dolls (representations of humans) are taxed at 12%, while toys (everything else) are taxed at 6.8%.
Much could be said about the wisdom of harmonized tariffs, but I’ll just observe the disconnect: “Defend our IP, at whatever cost”, versus “Let us denigrate our IP (and pretend that the premise of the the mutant series doesn’t apply) and save 5.2% on imports”.
Okay, I’ll admit that I’m stretching a bit, but you probably see the point: companies can be expected to argue any side of an issue to gain an advantage. It’s the role of government, when called upon, to balance the interests of the few against the interests of the many.
Personally, I’d give them the tax break if they’d stop supporting SOPA. We’d all win.