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. icon
    nelsoncruz (profile), 21 Oct 2010 @ 10:10pm

    It's not really "a tax presuming you are breaking the law". It's actually a tax presuming you are using a right given by the law - that you can make copies for personal/private use.

    The law in Spain, as well as here in Portugal and other places, recognizes that right, but also says such copying "should" be accompanied by "compensation". And these levies are the mechanism for that.

    I'm not saying I don't have a problem with these levies... it's still something you pay whether you buy CDs or DVDs to copy copyrighted works or your vacation photos. But short of a voluntary system, where nobody would pay, it's the best we can do. As long as these levies are reasonably small, I'm OK with them.

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