Feeds

Brussels smackdown for Spanish media'n'kit copy levy

Underlying notion fine, but collectors went hog-wild

High performance access to file storage

The European Court has upheld the right of copyright businesses in the EU to ask for a 'private copying levy', but slapped down Spain for applying it indiscriminately. The Court was hearing a case brought by the Spanish music collecting society SGAE against a storage vendor called Padewan.

Spain provides a case study in how to balls up a levy. Under EU law, member states may provide an exemption for a person making a copy of a work for private non-commercial use, "on condition that the rightsholders receive fair compensation".

The Sociedad General de Autores y Editores de España (SGAE) asked for and got a levy imposed on blank media and consumer electronics goods, which has swelled its coffers by over €20m - a 72.9 per cent increase. But it had been applied indiscriminately and set too high.

For example, businesses were charged for making CD backups. Naturally this led to an enormous consumer backlash. Punters felt they'd paid for the work twice - and freetardery became rampant.

The case covers royalties from 2002 to 2004. The Court ruled that only devices or media that can be shown to potentially harm authors may qualify.

The Court agreed that "the person who has caused harm to the holder of the exclusive reproduction right is the person who, for his own private use, reproduces a protected work without seeking prior authorisation from the rightholder. Therefore, in principle, it is for that person to make good the harm related to that copying by financing the compensation which will be paid to the rightholder."

However: "The indiscriminate application of the private copying levy to all types of digital reproduction equipment, devices and media, including in the case expressly mentioned by the national court in which they are acquired by persons other than natural persons for purposes clearly unrelated to private copying, does not comply with Article 5(2)(b) of Directive 2001/29."

It bounced a further question, whether the Spanish law was consistent, back to the national courts.

Unlike most EU members, the UK has no private copying exemption. Home taping has never been legal here.

In 2008 composers and songwriters asked for consistency with Europe in 2008, stating that consumers should allowed by law "to transfer music they have purchased on to a portable device, while ensuring that a fraction of the value is enjoyed by those who create music and invest in in its creation".

You can find the ruling (dated 21 October) here. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.