Digital sector wants to revise home copying tax

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Lotte de Bruijn – NLdigital

The representatives, manufacturers and importers of consumer electronics (NLdigital, NLconnect, TechniekNederland, FIAR CE and STOBI) have asked Minister for Legal Protection, Sander Dekker, to review the current Home Copying System. “Technology has removed the need for home copying. Yet the total compensation remains the same year after year. That cannot be explained, ”says Lotte de Bruijn, director of NLdigital. The trade associations are of the opinion that the protection of copyrights through the home copy levy no longer matches the technical and economic reality.

The rates of the private copying levy are determined in consultation between copyright holders and producers and importers of consumer electronics. NLdigital represents producers of laptops and smartphones and providers of cloud storage in the consultation. It is precisely on those products that the levy increases considerably. The resolution was adopted with the smallest possible majority of votes. “We have been in a complete stalemate for years,” says De Bruijn. “Disagreements are even fought out in court. The current regulation has just ended, the level of the levy unfortunately no longer reflects media use in the current streaming era. ”

Smartphones

The biggest change in the new rates is in an increase in the tax on smartphones, laptops and cloud storage and a decrease in the tax on blank CDs, USB sticks and MP3 players. “Almost all the money that has to be raised now comes from the € 7.30 surcharge on every smartphone,” says De Bruijn. “The argument is that there are more copies on smartphones. But we don’t think making music or series available offline is the same as an old-fashioned copy. The offline music or video is part of your contract with the provider, so that you can listen to your favorite music even if you are out of range. It disappears as soon as your subscription ends and you also pay extra for this functionality. The right and compensation to do this has already been negotiated between the streaming service and the artist. ”

Victim

The consumer is ultimately the victim. De Bruijn: “In the worst case, you pay three times: once for the subscription to your streaming service, one charge on the smartphone with which you stream and then extra storage because that smartphone automatically makes a backup in the cloud. That has nothing to do with damage suffered. It seems to be looking for ways to continue to collect money while the damage is no longer as great as it used to be. ”

Watching television programs

The functionality of the Network Personal Video Recorder (nPVR) was also extensively discussed. With the nPVR function, television subscribers can watch television programs on their device from the cloud. Rightsholders suggested that the private copying tax should also apply to this nPVR functionality. Under the leadership of NLconnect – to which a large number of parcel providers are connected – those obliged to pay have turned against this proposal. After all, legally, this function does not involve a private copy: the package provider makes a master copy that is streamed to various subscribers. Rightholders can already exercise the prohibition right for this functionality and a private copying levy would therefore mean a double payment by the consumer. The parties obliged to pay establish that SONT has rightly excluded the nPVR functionality from the decision.

Review scheme

NLdigital asks Minister Dekker to evaluate the current regulation for the private copying compensation as soon as possible and to revise it in time for the decision-making on tariffs for the period 2023-2026. Part of the evaluation is the question whether European legislation is still in line with the current media use of consumers, whether the total revenues from the private copying levy are still in proportion to the actual damage suffered and what the impact is of new techniques and forms of distribution now and in the near future. “That artists and authors are entitled to fair compensation is beyond dispute,” says De Bruijn. “But the current scheme really needs an update. We hope that the minister will be able to encourage a fairer system with the evaluation and will also argue for this in Europe. ”

This article by Kim Loohuis also appeared on Monday at our partner ChannelConnect.nl.





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