Philly Wants Its Bloggers to Pay $300 Fee

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The city of Philadelphia wants bloggers to pay $300 for a business license, even if they haven't made any money from their work. To put it mildly, this is probably not the best way to attract members of the creative class. It also seems like a good example of what happens when you take laws that were meant to apply to street peddlers and apply them to people who "work in" Philadelphia in only the least important sense of the phrase. Philly's excellent City Paper reports:
 

Even though small-time bloggers aren't exactly raking in the dough, the city requires privilege licenses for any business engaged in any "activity for profit," says tax attorney Michael Mandale of Center City law firm Mandale Kaufmann. This applies "whether or not they earned a profit during the preceding year," he adds.

 So even if your blog collects a handful of hits a day, as long as there's the potential for it to be lucrative -- and, as Mandale points out, most hosting sites set aside space for bloggers to sell advertising -- the city thinks you should cut it a check.

Read the full story at Philadelphia City Paper.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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