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Belgians moot computer licensing

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Two Belgian politicians are pushing for a system of compulsory computer licenses to be introduced in Belgium, expat website Expatica reports. Socialist Valerie Deom and State Minister Philippe Monfils of the centre right Mouvement Reformateur party believe that by introducing computer licenses they can combat illegal copying of files.

The idea is to make computer licenses obligatory in much the same way as TV licenses are to ensure that creators of works that can be transmitted digitally (such as music, photographs and movies) do not lose out on royalty payments. Although details haven't been worked out, the license would be similar to a levy on blank CDs to compensate recording artists, composers and producers for royalties lost to piracy.

The Belgian parliament's economic affairs committee was set to discuss the new copyright plans this week, but the meeting was postponed when not enough committee members turned up. Lack of interest is not the only problem the two politicians face. Industry federations in Belgium strongly oppose licensing. Agoria, the federation of the new technology industries, believes licenses contradict efforts to simplify administration and e-government. ®

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