Feeds

European Commission fears copyright levy for ISPs

Online octopus

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A “copy tax” could spread from blank CDs to mobile phones to internet service providers, according to a consultation document from the European Commission. The document warns that a wide spread of the tax would cause a backlash against it.

In most European countries, though not in the UK, copying of music for private use is allowed. These countries add a levy to the cost of items which are likely to be used to make private copies so that the copyright holder can receive some compensation.

The Commission is consulting with industry so that it can change the laws around this “copyright levy” to suit the world of digital copying. It has warned, though, that applying traditional principles to digital media could cause consumers to reject any idea of a copyright levy.

"[In the digital media world] it would no longer be possible to hold only liable the manufacturers or importers of equipment and media," said the Commission's consultation document. "The logic of levies would also have to be applied to broadband and infrastructure service providers including telecommunications providers that carry content."

"If this were to happen, levies would proliferate and there would be a serious risk of a backlash against the rights holder community and consumer welfare," it said.

Already some nations charge copyright levies on mobile phones and printers, as well as blank discs and DVD writers. Computers are also being levied, since they are capable of and used for the copying of copyrighted material.

The Commission has called for the complex situation to be clarified and is seeking the opinions of industry, but its consultation document recognises that it is not an easy task. "The current system of copyright levies as a means of compensation for rights holders does not take into account the phenomenon of convergence," the document says. "Copyright levies were born in the analogue environment … the distinction currently applied in levy systems between media, equipment and devices is already outmoded as it has not been adapted for the advent of the digital environment."

Most European countries allow private copying but recognise that rights holders must receive some compensation for that use. The copyright levy raises money that goes to artist representative groups. The UK chose instead to outlaw even private use copying, so no levy exists.

Last week the British Phonographic Industry chairman Peter Jamieson told a House of Commons committee that the BPI will not pursue individuals copying privately, even though it is illegal.

"We now need to make a clear and public distinction between copying for your own use and copying for dissemination to third parties and make it unequivocally clear to the consumer that if they copy their CDs for their own private use in order to move the music from format to format we will not pursue them," said Jamieson.

See: The consultation (20-page / 287KB PDF)

See also: BPI won't sue you for putting music on your iPod, OUT-LAW News, 07/06/2006

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.