JoAnn Loviglio, Associated Press Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bloggers in Philadelphia are upset over a city business fee that they say is an unfair tax on their Internet musings.
The city's so-called business privilege license costs $50 a year or $300 for a lifetime.
If a blog takes money for advertising, or sells photographs or other goods, it's a business and must pay for a license — no matter how little it makes — plus taxes on profits.
A spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter says the license is nothing new and is required for any moneymaking enterprise, from large corporations to neighborhood pizza joints and all other kinds of mom-and-pop businesses.
But the idea of the city mandating a license for people who blog in their spare time and garner some income, no matter how minuscule, rankled the blogosphere, though it was clear there is a distinction that some bloggers are pros, while others are just hobbyists.
"It's also something the city of Philadelphia has been doing to freelance writers for a certain amount of time," Joey Sweeney, publisher and editor of the websites Philebrity.com and phoodie.info, told The Associated Press on Monday. "We had to get a business privilege license a few years ago. I guess my take on it is if you are somebody who blogs as hobby obviously you shouldn't have to open an account with the city or whatever."
"I think that a lot of people don't really take the decision to run advertising on their blogs very seriously or as seriously as you should," he said. "When you do that you make a decision essentially to go into business. It might be a really small business, it might be a side thing, but basically the second you accept advertising you're playing a different game than someone who has a Tumblr or posts on Facebook."