Whilst we are focussing on levies in the European sphere, I noticed an interesting interview with Ian Hargreaves who authored the May 2011 Review of the UK's intellectual property framework which is now, to an extent, being actioned by the UK Government.
During the interview, in the ever excellent Out-Law, Hargreaves questions whether the Government's plans to enable individuals to make private copies of copyrighted material go far enough, saying that whilst he was broadly supportive of the way the Government intends to act on the recommendations he made in his Report, it’s plans in relation to a new private copying exception could have been more ambitious. Professor Hargreaves says that he agrees with the Government's view that a new levy system would not have to be introduced to account for a new private copying right for consumers, saying “I think that it is very difficult to argue that a levy is owing to compensate for the making lawful a practice that is already ubiquitous" Hargreaves said. "I think the Government is right not to go for a levy" adding "the case for a levy arguably does increase the more latitude you give [the exception]. If we were in a situation where we could adjust the fine detail of the way that some of these rules and practices work I think we’d be in a better situation, but we’re not. [Copyright law] is not a flexible and adaptable system,"
Hargreaves adds "The shortcoming of the new arrangement will be that it will still feel intuitively incorrect to a lot of people – I can’t transfer something from my wife’s iPod that I gave her for her birthday. We transfer the MP3 file into the car player – who owns the car? You can tie yourself in knots. I don’t want to exaggerate that but if the goal is to have something which corresponds to the way that the technology is already encouraging people to behave it is desirable that the law is as close to what consumers find sensible and rational as possible”.