Finland Abolishes Copyright Levies On Digital Devices
from the but-not-dead-yet dept
As we’ve noted before, copyright levies — effectively a tax on blank storage media — are becoming ever-more anachronistic and unworkable. So it’s good to hear about a country doing the sensible thing and getting rid of them entirely (pdf):
Finland is the latest EU member state to scrap levies on digital devices, following similar moves in Spain and the UK. The Finnish Parliament on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to replace a levies system that has existed since 1984 with the creation of a government fund designed to compensate artists for private copying of content such as music and movies.
That’s from a press release issued by the lobby group Digital Europe, which describes itself as follows:
Digital Europe represents the digital technology industry in Europe. Our members include some of the world’s largest IT, telecoms and consumer electronics companies and national associations from every part of Europe. Digital Europe wants European businesses and citizens to benefit fully from digital technologies and for Europe to grow, attract and sustain the world’s best digital technology companies.
Given its background, it’s hardly surprising that Digital Europe hopes that Finland’s decision is part of a wider move:
Pressure for EU reform is now greater than ever. The UK earlier this year passed a law that legalized private copying by individuals without any requirement for additional compensation to artists. Two years ago Spain replaced levies with a government compensation fund similar to the one adopted in Finland this week.
Although it’s true that progress has been made, it’s also worth noting that the usual copyright dinosaurs are fighting back, and that the final outcome is by no means clear. In the UK, the music industry has said that it may try to challenge the private copying exception in the courts. In Spain, legal action by collecting societies has resulted in two key questions about copyright levies being sent to the European Union Court of Justice, and its judgment on the case is likely to have important implications for such levies throughout the EU.