The Netherlands has had a levy on blank media like CDs and DVDs for some time, similar to taxes in other countries collected to reimburse copyright holders for all the infringement that people buying the items are presumed to do. The group behnd the surcharge has been pushing for a similar tax on MP3 players and DVRs, and its initial proposal was a ludicrous 3.28 euro per gigabyte -- which would have added about $230 onto the price of the biggest iPod. Understandably, electronics manufacturers weren't happy, so the group has come back with a new proposal with a higher per-gigabyte fee, but a cap of 25 euros. These levies are pointless in many ways, both because they presume everyone that buys an MP3 player is a criminal, and they're also an attempt by record labels to now make money from technology they fought so hard against. Dutch trade groups are also pointing out that with more and more legitimate content being bought online, these "iPod taxes" end up making consumers pay copyright holders twice. If that's the case and the "price of piracy" is figured into the tax, shouldn't people then be free to copy whatever they want, since they've paid into the fund when they bought their blank CDs or MP3 player? After all, it's presumed that everyone's a pirate, and this is supposed to balance things out. But of course not -- because, remember, listening to music on the device of your choice is a privilege. The record labels have no problem making you pay for it, again and again.
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