In Taxes on Knowledge in America, Randall P. Bezanson explores the extent to which the publication and distribution of current public information is effected by economic exactions. The book begins with a brief overview of the English history and experience with knowledge taxes, before turning to a discussion of knowledge taxes in America from colonial times to the present. In addition to covering traditional printed publications, Bezanson looks at recent developments in broadcast and cable telecommunications, devotes a chapter to the history of the postal system, and gleans insight from three benchmark Supreme Court decisions. Bezanson provocatively concludes that knowledge is common property and knowledge taxes should be measured by their impact on the diversity of ideas and availability of information throughout society.
Randall P. Bezanson is the David H. Vernon Professor of Law at the University of Iowa.