Portuguese Artists Association Struggled To Get Even 100 Members On List In Favor Of Exorbitant New Private Copying Levies

from the idea-whose-time-has-passed dept

Few ideas display a sense of entitlement better than that of private copying levies. For they assume, by definition, that artists' representatives have a right to money from the public simply because there is some kind of storage that could be used to hold digital copies of copyright files, and that every time such a file is copied, money must be paid (never mind if you are just making backups or transferring your holdings to bigger storage sizes.)

This is based on the outmoded idea that the public are simply consumers, and ignores the fact that today they are also creators. Take digital photos, for example: since there is no cost involved in taking as many pictures as you wish -- unlike in the world of analog photography, where film and processing expenses act as a brake on creativity -- a typical collection of family snaps can easily run to many gigabytes. Moreover, most digital cameras also allow videos to be shot, and these generate even larger quantities of data. As a result, an increasing proportion of the data stored on devices has nothing to do with commercial works, and yet the full levy must still be paid.

A further problem is that the capacities of hard disks are now so large that even relatively low per-gigabyte rates generate significant additional costs when applied to disks with terabyte capacities, say. A case in point is the amended scale for Portugal's private copying levies, announced last month. According to an article in Exame Informatica (original in Portuguese), a 1 terabyte hard disk currently priced around $90 will cost $120 under the new scheme, while a 2 terabyte hard drive that costs $130 now will go up to $200. But this isn't just about hard drives. USBs, smartphones and even multifunction printers will all be subject to the new levy.

Naturally, the prospect of these surcharges is proving unpopular with the Portuguese public. And so the SPA (Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores -- Portuguese Society of Authors), which represents Portuguese artists in all areas -- music, audiovisual, dance, plastic arts and cinema -- decided to show how the country's creators really backed the move. The Portuguese blogger Miguel Caetano Carlos Martins describes what happened:

SPA has tried to validate their point by presenting a list of one hundred authors and artists that support this PL118 law. There's no denying that some author might think its a good idea... even though it might look suspicious that they could get only a hundred of them among their 25k+ registered members; and even though that roughly 20% of those 100 are the association board members; the really horrendous part is that we now found that some of those names were put there without any consent from the authors!
[Update: there are now apparently 200 names on the list - still rather a poor showing for such a large association.] If even a national organization for all categories of artists can't muster genuine support for such measures, it's clearly time to get rid of the whole antiquated approach. Inflated prices for digital devices will be a real drag on innovation in Portugal at a time when it is trying to modernize itself. Moreover, the manifest lack of enthusiasm for the SPA's attempt to mobilize support for the higher levies suggests that the creators themselves derive little benefit from the scheme.

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Filed Under: copyright, levies, portugal

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  1. icon
    otto (profile), 16 Feb 2012 @ 8:52pm

    Re: Re: slight exageration

    Stop lying. $100 (82 €) for 2TB, here in Australia.

    Lucky you!

    Delusional still. NAS boxes are sold with no drives. The customer puts their own drive(s) in. Will there be a tax official in attendance?

    NAS boxes?!??

    Hollywood is going to legally allow "piracy to your hearts content at home" -- yeah right. You need to take a tranquilliser and have a good lie down.

    This is not Australia. Believe it or not there is life outside the empire.

    And you imagine that the author's share is going to be divided up fairly? You are clearly grossly unfamiliar with the existing practices of collection societies.

    A compensação equitativa de autores, e de artistas, intérpretes ou executantes, é inalienável e irrenunciável, sendo nula qualquer cláusula contratual em contrário.

    O montante global da compensação equitativa é distribuído pelas entidades
    representativas dos titulares de direitos, na proporção de 40% para os autores, 30% para os artistas, intérpretes ou executantes e 30% para os produtores de fonogramas e de videogramas.

    Unless they use DRM: then they get zilch.

    Your faith is touching. Too bad it is not founded on reality.

    Is founded on reading the law project. See above. Try google translate and good luck, kind Sir.

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