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    Re: Almanac Heaven
    From: Bill B
    Date: 2006 Mar 30, 23:21 -0500

    Frank replied (charging for tidal data etc.)
    
    > Yes, and that ruling  also applies to international ports where the data has
    > been collected by British  authorities. In this case, they have a point. I
    > certainly wish they would make  it available for free, but of course,
    > collecting
    > this tidal data was expensive  and it is primarily relevant to commercial
    > users. This is a product, and there's  no strong reason to give it up for
    > free.
    
    It was noted on the list before that the USA was more enlightened and does
    not charge for similar data.  I let it slide.  Be aware there has been a
    movement afoot in the federal legislative branches to commercialize
    collected data such as weather.  Sell it to vendors who resell it.
    
    The con cry is (and I think the case could be the same in the UK) that your
    tax dollars have already paid the expense of collecting the data.  I suggest
    that in most cases various branches of the military would insist on tide and
    weather information even it it had no value to commercial enterprises.
    Point being it will be done anyway at the taxpayers expense, whether or not
    it has applications for commercial and recreation user (such as GPS
    satellites).
    
    As I see it, for better or worse, it is just "revenue enhancement"--a tax on
    a tax.  I could argue either side.  Commercial and recreation users should
    help defray the cost as they use it.  Why should we pay for a license to
    shoot marine-band radio through the air?  In the USA case the FCC provides a
    service in organizing an policing the system.  Your "mayday" signal should
    not be drowned out on by a trucker with a high-gain antenna and illegal
    linear amp who discovered marine band has a lot better range than Citizens
    band.
    
    On the other side of the coin, your taxes support schools and roads whether
    or not you have children or a vehicle.  With a vehicle you pay a tax fuel,
    and sales tax not only on the commodity but on the fuel (petrol) tax as
    well; and perhaps a wheel and property tax on the vehicle. At least a part
    of the added revenue is based on frequency of use of the roadways via fuel
    taxes, tolls, etc..  How about maritime aids?  One might present a case that
    the taxes paid by the maritime industries cover their percentage of the
    expense.
    
    That's not to say I have a problem with paying for a hard copy of an
    almanac.  It's a short-run book so unit cost is high.  A free (as in
    $360-plus-a-year *free*) phone book costs a small fraction per unit of an
    almanac.  So as a user of the data I have no problems paying the production
    cost, plus a reasonable markup, for hardcopy of data I have already paid to
    have collected. (or paid for by the gov to license from the UK.)
    
    Moving on to a full-tilt rant:  As a youth if you had a minor screw up, the
    expression was, "Relax, it's not a federal crime."  Today it probably is.
    As we move to towards centralized big government and socialism, the idea
    that, "Government should only do for the people what they cannot do for
    themselves" is history.  Thanks to lobbying, pork-barrel projects by the
    congress and senate, sweetheart deals, and whim and pure foolishness (Golden
    Fleece Awards) the taxpayer foots the bill for everything conceivable to the
    bureaucrat.  And when the administrative and legislative branches have spent
    every last citizen penny they can get their hands on, they invent new ways
    to expand their budget and/or cover the shortfall.  Shelling out for
    hardcopy, OK--but paying again for something I have already paid for, nope.
    
    Unless you are suggesting running government as a profit center where the
    consumer has alternative sources and pays on a usage basis.  I can get
    behind that. Outsource Washington D.C. 
    
    Bill
    
    
    

       
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