Japan to tax MP3 players
Price hike to compensate copyright holders
MP3 players and DVRs could soon become more expensive in Japan, if the country’s government successfully introduces a levy on sales of these devices.
According to a report in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs wants to force MP3 player manufacturers to pay a royalty charge to copyright holders that may have lost out as a result of illegally recorded content.
An official tariff hasn’t been set yet, but it’s rumoured that manufacturers may be forced to pay several hundred yen per device – a cost that will no doubt be passed onto the consumer.
Since 1993, the Japanese government has placed a duty on devices and media capable of recording music, such as mini-disc machines and cassette players. This charge is usually several per cent of such a device’s retail cost.
The levy doesn’t cover digital media payers, which contain their own storage. Back in 2005, the Japanese government tried to extend the law to cover these devices, but it failed to do so.
The 1993 tax raises about ¥3bn ($28.4m/£14.5m/€18.4m) collectively each year, which is paid to the Society for the Administration of Remuneration for Audio Home Recording, which then distributes it among copyright holders.
If the Japanese government is successful, it will encourage the UK's Music Business Group, which is seeking to persuade the British government to do the same. The MBG wants consumers to meet the cost of musicians left out of pocket through illegal music downloads, and has proposed a levy on digital music players.
I didn't know ...
... that Alistair Darling was on the board of the MBG! This would certainly be worthy of his current record and ... yes ...it could be another stealth tax on motorists with MP3s in their cars. I'm all for artists getting their due (assuming they would), but we all know that they wouldn't get a look-in on this. GET REAL!
"The tax does not legitimize infringement of copyright over the internet"
Maybe not - but it gives leverage to a morale argument for doing so.
The tax does not legitimize infringement of copyright over the internet. This is clearly a case of the music industry wanting to have their cake and eat it too. Likewise if they were to introduce an 'all you can eat' fee for filesharing at the ISP level you have the same problem. People who do not fileshare would be penalized for those that do.
The solution is simple. Revisit the entire copyright system and make it fair again. But that would lose the music and movie industry too much money now wouldn't it? Which is why they continue pouring money into politicians coffers (At least in the US) to fiddle with the laws in order to make them (The laws) work on their behalf.
In the states, we already pay a royalty fee. The company that I work for incorporates it into the unit as an assembly part. So, by the time it gets shipped to the customer, that royalty gets inflated (usually by a factor of three) by the retailer to cover their costs. So for each dollar we spend on the royalty, the retailer charges three.
We also pay a 'tax' on cd-r's, dvd-r's and other recordable media that have the potential to be used for illegal copying.
I would I would be immune to breaking DRM at that point, since I've already been accused, sentenced and punished with no jury by judge or peers.
Wow.. how crazy!
Wow... so all those who have LEGALLY purchased CD's AND Mp3's from Amazon and all those other places will have to foot yet another bill?? That doesn't make sense. These "artist" better start making better music and we better start getting CD's made of GOLD if the people LEGALLY buying stuff have to pay taxes for this ..