Friday 1 February 2013

Recommendations on private copying levies

Yesterday the European Commission issued a press release confirming that the mediation process on private copying and reprography levies has concluded and that the mediator António Vitorino (former European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs) has presented his recommendations to Commissioner Barnier.

Two main streams of action have been recommended:
© Faye Fujiko
1. To foster increased reliance on licences and contractual arrangements to ensure that rightsholders are properly remunerated for their creative efforts and investments. Vitorino emphasised the need to clarify that copies made by end users for private purposes in the context of a licensed service do not cause harm that would require additional remuneration in the form of levies.

2. Introduction of measures aimed at reconciling disparate national levy systems within the Single Market. In particular Vitorino recommends:
- Collecting levies in cross-border transactions in the Member State in which the final customer resides;

- Shifting the liability to pay levies from manufacturers and importers to retailers provided that the tariff systems are simplified and that manufacturers and importers are obliged to inform collecting societies about their transactions concerning goods subject to a levy. Alternatively he recommends establishing clear and predictable exemption schemes for those operators that should in principle not bear liability;
- Placing more emphasis, in the field of reprography, on operator levies than on hardware-based levies;

- Making levies visible to the final consumer;
- Ensuring greater consistency with regard to the process of setting levies, notably by defining "harm" uniformly across the EU and by simplifying the procedural framework in which levies are set.

How long any changes take to implement (if indeed any are implemented) remains to be seen, however it is clear that changes do need to be made to give some sort of consistency to the current disparate levies applied across Europe. By way of example the press release sets out some of the levies which applied in 2010:

Blank DVD
MP3 player
€ 1.00
€ 1.00-20.00
€ 0.4
no levy
€ 0.0139
€ 5.00
2.5 % of the sales price
3% of the sales price
6% of the import price
€ 0.43-11.58

Barnier confirmed that the recommendations will be taken into account in any further steps to be taken regarding private copying and reprography levies, and in particular in the on-going review of the EU copyright framework. He also reminded us (lest we forget!): "Copyright law and licensing practices need to remain fit for the 21st century."

1 comment:

Daniel AJ said...

Did they really ignore the problem of replacements and RAIDs? If your harddrive brakes down/is replaced, you are charged another levy AGAIN - although you do not create extra copies. You just replace drive A with drive A'. There is no justification to charge for the same copy x times.

Likewise, if you run a RAID, you have x drives but not x copies of the file. Why charge x levies?

These are massive issued that need to be adressed!.