Tuesday 26 August 2014

Portugal approves proposal to expand scope of private copying levy

Our friend Tito Rendas has emailed us with the following news from Portugal:
"The Portuguese Council of Ministers has recently approved a proposal to amend Portugal's Private Copying Law. The proposal updates the list of reproduction equipment, devices and media on which the levy is charged. The fee has been charged on CDs, DVDs and cassettes since 1998. If the Parliament passes the proposed amendment, MP3 players, external hard drives, memory cards and the like will be subject to the fee as well.

As you would expect, the proposal has been generating a great deal of controversy: on one side, the electronics sector threatens to pass the cost of the levy on to consumers; on the other side, the collecting societies claim that the proposed levy amounts are negligible.

Along with this amendment, the Portuguese Government approved a Strategic Plan to Fight the Infringement of Copyright and Related Rights. What is known so far is that the Government plans to launch awareness (brainwashing?) campaigns in schools and to create a special police unit for online copyright infringement. No plans to introduce a graduated response system have been announced, though".
Thanks so much Tito -- and thanks for sending us a link to the Portuguese government's official announcement of this proposal.


Tito Rendas said...

Thank you for sharing, Jeremy!

Pedro Malaquias said...

Tito was faster than me, but I would like to add some further information.

On the same say, the Government also presented proposals to i) implement the orphan works directive, ii) a law regarding the registration of literary and artistic works regulation and iii) a collecting societies regulation.
Although, as far as I am aware, the texts of these proposals have not yet been made available, some of these initiatives have resulted in controversy.

On the Private Copying law, further to what is referred to by Tito, some sectors have criticised the fact that the new law does not "tax" cloud services. Still, SPA (Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores - http://www.spautores.pt/comunicacao/noticias/spa-considera-positivo-o-novo-diploma-sobre-a-copia-privada) and other collecting societies are receiving the law positively.

As for the Strategic Plan to Fight the Infringement of Copyright and Related Rights, this Saturday Expresso newspaper (page 12) claims that it is simply a summary of the 2005 Spanish plan, which was terminated in 2011, due to its major failure. The newspaper found 30 paragraphs that correspond to direct translations between the two documents, although no reference whatsoever is made to the Spanish plan in the Portuguese document.

A preliminary version of the Strategic Plan is available at http://base.alra.pt:82/Doc_Audi/XA112-OGP.pdf(this version was the one that was sent to the Azores Parliament). It has been stated that the final version was subject only to minor amendments. According to this document, the Plan is composed by i) “cooperation and collaboration measures” (including the creation of an Interministerial Commission), ii) “preventive measures” (which, as far as I can understand, refer to studies on piracy in Portugal), iii) “social awareness measures”, iv) “regulatory measures” (assessment of the existing law and of the new of amendments) and v) “training measures” (public administration, police forces, judges and universities).

Paula Morais said...

Pedro, Tito and colleagues,

Words, phrases "provide a window into human nature" (as stated by Pinker) It is amazing the Portuguese Government lack of vision towards IPR and copyright. When awareness campaigns are launched to fight infringement and not to raise awaraness as to the importance of IPR for development, for economic and social growth...I am in favor of IPR being taught in schools, provide foundational basis for the author (and all of us are authors! even children as young as 2, 3!) wants to use a CC license, register the work, put it as CC00...

Pedro Malaquias said...

The fees established by the "new" private copy law (Draft Bill no. 283/2014) can be found @ http://www.portugal.gov.pt/media/1502010/20140822%20tabela%20copia%20privada.pdf