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BSA wants 'private copy levies' scrapped

Europeans paying twice

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The BSA is calling on European governments to scrap so-called private copy levies on digital hardware and media, branding them outmoded and unfair to the consumer in a world with digital rights management (DRM) software.

Francisco Mingorance, director of public policy, Europe for the BSA argues that private copy levies mean consumers are paying multiple times for the rights to use their music.

The organisation says DRM-protected content is increasingly popular, and predicts that the market for such content will be worth €1.86bn by 2008, up from €235m in 2004.

Mingorance positions the BSA as the consumer's champion:

"Levies were designed to compensate for unpoliceable private copying; but with DRMs the rationale for levies disappears," he says. "Lawmakers cannot ignore that private copy levies are increasingly obsolete in the digital age."

The BSA presents German trade association Bitkom as witness. Bitkom has estimated that the average consumer pays out as much as €150 in private copy levies when he or she kits out a typical home office with a PC, scanner, printer and CD or DVD burner. That same customer then pays again for copy-protected music, the BSA says, and this is not fair.

But surely the BSA has not thought this one through. If Europeans are all paying for unpoliceable private copying already, why do we need DRM? ®

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