European Creators Insist Private Copying Levy Still Relevant

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By Maricel Estavillo for Intellectual Property Watch

Trade associations representing creators, performers and producers of literary works in Europe have reiterated in a joint declaration issued today that manufacturers of copying devices should continue paying for copyright levies amid efforts to abolish the controversial remuneration model.

“Our members do not understand the heavy lobbying of electronics manufacturers to abolish this remuneration system, which, although perhaps not entirely perfect, clearly achieves its objectives. Consumers are able to copy legally onto and between their different devices and creators are remunerated for such uses,” the declaration [pdf] stated.

Signatories to the declaration added that they are open to discussing with other stakeholders ways to improve the remuneration system.

The Council Directive 2001/29/EC or the Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society has given member states the authority to provide authors, performers, phonogram producers and broadcasting organisations an exclusive right to “authorise or prohibit direct or indirect, temporary or permanent reproduction” of copyrighted works.

One of the solutions to private copying is through copyright levy – a charge on blank CDs and other devices which can be used in storing illegal copies of copyrighted materials. Traditionally passed on to consumers, the proceeds from the levies are paid into a fund that is then managed by the country’s collecting society for the benefit of copyright owners.

“Remuneration payable on the copying media and devices is the best way of linking the act of making private copies to the payment of remuneration to rightsholders,” the trade groups added in the declaration.

Signatories to the declaration are Association of European Performers’ Organisations (AEPO-ARTIS), Association de Producteurs de Cinéma et de Télévision (Eurocinema), Federation of Producers’ Societies for Audiovisual Private Copying (Eurocopya), International Federation of Actors (Euro-FIA), European Visual Artists (EVA), Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), International Federation of Musicians (FIM), Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE), European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC), Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA), Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA) and Global Union for Media, Entertainment and Arts (UNIMEI).

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