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German court orders copyright levy on new PCs

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 28 Dec 2004 13:16 User comments (14)

German court orders copyright levy on new PCs German court has decided in favor of Germany's recording industry's lobby group, the VG Wort, in a dispute that has been going on between it and the country's largest PC maker, Fujitsu Siemens. The decision means that Germany will become the first country in Europe to apply a copyright levy of 12 (appx. $16.33) on all new PCs sold.
Copyright levy as a concept is a rather widespread and widely accepted system across the western countries. Many countries allow home users slightly more copyrights, such as a permission to make limited number of copies of CDs or DVDs they've rented or loaned from their friends for their personal use. The copyright levy is then applied to the recordable storage medium -- originally on analog C cassettes, later to blank video tapes, then to blank CDRs and DVDRs -- and that paid levy is then paid to organizations representing artists, composers, etc compensating them for lost revenue. And now, German court has decided that all PCs are theoretically just multimedia storages and should be treated the same way as blank VHS tapes.

Fujitsu Siemens is considering to appeal the case. The decision, if it stays unchanged in higher courts as well, will apply to all new PCs sold in Germany. CEO of Fujitsu Siemens, Bernd Bischoff, called the copyright levy "a de facto tax on PCs".


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14 user comments

128.12.2004 13:57

I may not like a "tax" on blank media, but at least I understand the logic of that. This is just stupid.

228.12.2004 15:02

I agree. With those rights in place, the media tax makes sense. But this, this is getting bad. The PCs themselves aren't a storage medium. The hard drives would be the only logical things to tax, not the whole PC. Hopefully it won't affect those who build their computers.

328.12.2004 16:11

Hopefully they won't try to levy the charge on all of the components when you build a box. That would be lame to be forced to buy a brand manufactured box to avaoid excessive penalties. Good luck with that Germany. :( Go vote for someone who doesn't support it.

428.12.2004 16:48

So does this mean I can download all the free music and movies I want? I've paid the copyright levy. Right? It just goes to show you how big business bottom lines run the world, and how corrupt politicians are. Pretty soon they'll be spoon feeding us, and we'll be begging for more. Does anyone feel sick yet?

528.12.2004 17:12

he PCs themselves aren't a storage medium. The hard drives would be the only logical things to tax, not the whole PC.
I totally agree.

628.12.2004 18:28

These laws are being driven by lawyers. Who makes the most money from these laws & decisions? The lawyers!

728.12.2004 21:54

llongtheD: Actually, yes, in most countries where there is a levy on blank media, it means exactly that you can legally download movies and music for personal use, no matter whether they are legal copies or not. However, distributing copyrighted material is illegal -- so, downloading stuff via P2P in most countries with blank media levy (including our site's home country, Finland, and AFAIK, Canada) for own personal use is perfectly legal (same thing for going to local video store and renting 5,000 movies and making DVDR copies of them is legal -- as long as it is for your own use only -- as well), but sharing copyrighted stuff to P2P networks is illegal. So, the logic behind the blank media levy is actually good, it is just the fact whether PCs can be reasonably considered to be "blank media" that is bothering in this decision. Imagine buying yourself a laptop without speakers, etc as your remote work computer -- is it reasonable to think that your main reasoning behind buying that device is to listen music that was downloaded from P2P networks with it?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 Dec 2004 @ 23:21

828.12.2004 23:14

Taxing blank Media makes a lot more sense. A person might only buy 1 computer, and then download hundreds of songs and movies. If you tax blank media, then if one wants to copy dvds etc, one pays each time he/she does it - which means higher revenue for recording and movie industries. Whoever thought of this stupid idea of taxing PCs. A bit too dumb for the liking. rdevanat

929.12.2004 4:52

"Hopefully they won't try to levy the charge on all of the components when you build a box. That would be lame to be forced to buy a brand manufactured box to avaoid excessive penalties. Good luck with that Germany. :( Go vote for someone who doesn't support it." Agreed. Seriously, this is so ridiculous. Plus, with this law in affect, this is basically saying you can download all the software/music/apps you want because you've paid the "copyright levy" fee.

1029.12.2004 5:13

Oh dear another bloody,we already pay tax on all computer stuff and media as well, 17%v.a.t here in the uk varies between countries in the eec.Its barbaric to ask someone to pay a levvy on something which may never be used for downloading purposes,they are assuming everyone who buys a pc will be downloading music,movies or whatever, thats like saying everyone who buys a car accessorie owns a car so they should pay an anti polltion levvy, give us a break for F..k sake.Its about time everyone in the world not just those who share files because this sort of shite doesnt stop with p2p it throws out the gauntlet to every company to claim some silly levvy for one thing or another, about time we threw our weight by boycotting all those companys involved and vote those politicians out who agree to this sort of thing, if that dont work then we should revolt..Anarchy aint as bad oppression. Free me from those shackles for i am a human being not a dog.

1129.12.2004 5:42

If this catches on throughout the world, small companys may suffer as the profits on a PC aint that great, trying to keep up with compitition and ever decreasing prices in computer hardware, making PCs cheaper and profits lower, adding this would work out at around 8% of the profit on a PC going towards these copywrights! This could have a huge knock on effect in the future for these small comanies :( (The big PC manufacturers will be the only guys in town especialy in the UK) NOT good news!

1229.12.2004 6:55

I think is time to think two times before you register your new baby, cause the will be taxed for their brain that could hold "their" music... oh, oh, is better that I start erasing "their" from my mind before thier raid me. The only think we can do is stoping buying "their" music, and I mean STOP!!!! for at least two or three years at let see who is their dady...

1330.12.2004 4:40

Tax "this".It's not like people can order there computers online from other countries or build their own.

1430.12.2004 7:29

Well fine, but then downloading music through your internet connection and using your PC to copy CDs should also be legal, since a tax like this is designed to compensate the loss brought on by illegal duplication of copyrighted material.

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