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Swedish MP3 player maker refuses to pay levy

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Swedish producer of MP3 players Jens, which offers a full line of flash-based audio players and recorders, is facing legal proceedings after refusing to pay a controversial copying charge on its products.

According to Swedish news site The Local company director Jens Nylander told a national newspaper "that it is not our problem that the record industry hasn't come up with its own solution to safeguard its interests."

Like many other European countries, Sweden has a 'cassette compensation', which was designed to compensate copyright owners and applies to blank recording media. In 2004 85 million kroner in compensation was collected by Copyswede, an umbrella collecting society for coordinated negotiations and agreements in certain copyright areas. The law now also affects MP3 players.

According to Nylander several foreign companies, including Apple, do not have to pay the surcharge. Copyswede is taking legal action only against his company an one other. Jens hasn't paid the surcharge for almost two years. The compensation should be part of the price of the songs, Nylander argues. Likely sanctions for Jens are unknown.

Earlier this year the Dutch Stichting Thuiskopie foundation proposed a tax for any storage device that could possibly be used to store pirated works, including MP3 players. Already in Germany there is a levy on PC hard drives. ®

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