EU Court Of Justice Says Private Copying Levy On Device Maker Violates EU Law

from the no-ipod-tax dept

Thanks to David Hammerstein and Glyn Moody for pointing us to the news that the European Court of Justice has rejected an attempt to collect a private copying levy in Spain that was being disputed by a consumer electronics firm, Padawan. The Spanish collection society SGAE demanded that Padawan, which made CD, DVD and MP3 players, pay up for the typical "you must be a criminal" private copying levy.

However, the court had some problems with this. You can read the ruling (in English) to get the details -- though, it's a little opaque. The court did say that, in general, private copying levies can be okay, but that the law requires the levies be based on "fair compensation," meaning that they're tied to actual harm. And, the court concludes, that means it should only apply to end-user purchases, where the assumption can be made that private copying may be going on. Trying to force businesses to pay is unreasonable, and contradicts EU law.

While I still have issues with the general concept of private copying levies (a tax presuming you are breaking the law), it's at least good to see the EU not let it expand even further.
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Filed Under: private copying levy, spain


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  1. identicon
    masquisieras, 22 Oct 2010 @ 2:59am

    To The Groove Tiger

    No the ones that sell the stuff, but the ones that buy them the main problems with the levy are:

    Legally (what the EU has said)

    1) Business and Administration as no-private entities has no the right to make PRIVATE copies so is no fair that they pay to compensate for the harm done by private copy and the actual spanish law has no way for them to no pay or to recover this cost.

    Other problems:

    2) By law, the levies are collected by Collection Agencies (the SGAE in this case) that operate under the asuncion that there aren't no-affiliated authors and in general are no democratic and very unfair to the small author, and has his own bureaucratic and accounting rule that make sure that what Mike Allen propose is not viable.

    3) The evaluation of harm is done, in practice, by the Collection Agencies that has in his own interest to make it as high as they can dream up. The growth of no-affiliated authors and the decline in CD sells has reduced the income of the agencies so they calculate the harm to pad their account not to really compensate for the real harm. In EEUU terms the harm is been calculated in BSA piracy accounting.

    Nelsoncruz due that, at least in Spain, the private copies for private use are only legal when done from "Legal Copies" would not be easier and fairer to charge the levy in the "Legal Copies" purchasing at the same time the "Legal Copy" and the right to make private copies from it.

    The only problem with this model is that the "Legal Copies" are already charged to the monopoly controlled maximum that the market would bear so by market force the "Legal Copies"+Private Copy right would end at the same price that the actual "Legal Copy" because in reality the levy is a double dipping through an different industry ( the consumer electronic one).

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