Dutch Supreme Court Agrees To Let Rights Group Collect Back 'You Must Be A Pirate' Taxes On Mp3 Players And Hard Drives
from the after-all,-hard-drives-are-nothing-more-than-gigantic-pirate-vessels dept
For years, Dutch natives have purchased hard drives and mp3 players solely for the purpose of loading them up with purloined mp3s — or so a recent Dutch Supreme Court decision would have you believe. NORMA, a Dutch collection society, just won its battle against untaxed hardware, which will result in the collection of unpaid “you must be a pirate” taxes being awarded to it, dating back to 2007.
The original “you must be a pirate” tax was levied against blank CDs and DVDs, with those rates being frozen in 2006. NORMA claimed this put the government in breach of the “Copyright Directive,” because apparently NORMA is entitled to collect money on anything someone could conceivably use to store media files. In the eyes of the collection society, its members “lost millions of euros in revenue” when blank media sales died off and hard drive/mp3 players increased.
Its press release doesn’t state specifically why its stable of artists are “owed” a cut of every storage device sold, but the word “entitled” is deployed. This bizarre reasoning puts us back in the position of wondering whether the artists represented by groups pushing these taxes would just be better off selling storage devices.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. The court has decided NORMA will get to collect taxes dating back to 2007, stating that it will revisit this in 6 months to see if anyone can agree on how many millions of euros that should be. NORMA’s press release also notes it’s been successful in instituting a “pirate” tax on smartphones, tablets and PCs, running from 1-5 euros per device depending on storage capacity.
Presumably, like every other rights groups/collection society, the windfall will be paid in top-down fashion, blessing top-selling artists with a few more euros and giving a vast majority of its represented artists nothing at all. This distribution scheme matches up perfectly with the stupidity of the “you must be a pirate tax,” ensuring that nearly everyone but the collection society itself gets screwed — and all in the name of “protecting artists.”