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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: private copying levy, spain

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    nelsoncruz (profile), 26 Oct 2010 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Nelsoncruz is right, it is not a "you must be a criminal" tax

    Circumventing DRM is illegal in Europe as well, including in countries where private copies are legal and levies exist. Which is ridiculous. I agree.

    Here is how the legislators tried to get around this here in Portugal. The law states that DRM "should not" prevent the free uses under the law (like private copies, educational uses, etc). When it does, the distributor of the DRM protected work should deposit with IGAC (General Inspection of Cultural Activities) the means by which anyone can enjoy these rights. That, of course, doesn't happen! Nobody deposits any such "means". One would think the DRMs would loose legal protection because of that... but they don't. Maybe the courts will rule that way one day. As far as I know, no DRM circumvention case has ever gone to court here.

    I found out recently we don't even have case law determining whether photocopying an entire book is legal or not, under the same 2004 copyright law update that protects DRMs... so that could take a while. :)

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.