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    EU Rights Owners Blast ICT Industry For Trying To “Hijack” Copyright Levy System Talks

    Published on 15 October 2012 @ 7:52 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    Copyright collective management and creators’ organisations Monday accused digital technology industry group DIGITALEUROPE of trying to hijack a mediation process aimed at straightening out the EU’s messy system of private copying and reprographic levies. In its 4 October paper setting out alternatives to device-based copyright levies, DIGITALEUROPE urged the European Commission to initiate comprehensive reform that includes replacing levies with some other forms of compensation to rights holders.

    The DIGITALEUROPE paper is here [pdf].

    The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers, Association of European Performers’ Organisations, Federation of Producers’ Societies for Audiovisual Private Copying, independent Music Companies Association and Society of Audiovisual Authors, however, said the timing of the proposal is suspicious. It comes as António Vitorino, appointed by European Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier, is winding up his mediation process and as negotiations are in a late stage, IFRRO said.

    “It calls into question the reliability of Digital Europe as a partner and the extent to which it is dedicated to the mediation process,” IFRRO CEO Olav Stokkmo said in a press release.

    Alternative Solutions “The Only Way Forward”

    There have been several unsuccessful attempts to find an EU-wide approach to copyright levies, DIGITALEUROPE said. The EU Copyright Directive requires “fair compensation” but not a system in which levies are imposed on electronic devices such as computers, smartphones and recording media, it said. Other mechanisms could better compensate artists and creators for acts of private copying which cause more than minimal harm to rights owners, without fragmenting and hampering the digital ecosystem, it said.

    One approach is to assume that a consumer’s normal use of content, including all copies she may make for private use, is already included in the purchase, with rights holders compensated from payments from the purchase price at already commercially negotiated rates, it said.

    Another idea, which isn’t really an alternative to levies but which may be more politically attractive and realistic in EU countries “absolutely wedded” to the notion of levies, is to shift liability for paying the levy farther down the supply chain, as close to end-users as possible, DIGITALEUROPE said. That would solve the problems of fragmentation of the European single market and of exemption of business users, it said. The levy would only be paid in the country of final purchase; and the lower level in the supply chain (point of sale) is in a better position to decide whether the final buyer is a private person or a business, it said.

    The trade group also proposed several publicly-funded options, such as compensating creators through state budgets, revamped broadcast fees, research and development investment, EU funding or dedicated lotteries. It also argued that cloud computing is increasingly eroding the need for levies. It is widely accepted that the private copying exception doesn’t apply to streaming, which doesn’t implicate reproduction rights, and that, consequently, Copyright Directive provisions relating to fair compensation for private copies also don’t apply, DIGITALEUROPE said.

    Proposals “Beside the Point”

    IFFRO said it made no judgment on the content of DIGITALEUROPE’s paper, except that it ignores the fact that levies secure not only remuneration for private copying but also for reprography, which includes private copying and copying for professional and educational uses. “In that context, the recommendations are beside the point,” IFRRO said.

    The other rights organisations, in a joint press release, said they strongly oppose the idea of shifting private copying compensation responsibility to governments and other public funds. The idea “has no legal or other justification” and is simply an attempt to shift the burden to the public, they said.

    DIGITALEUROPE’s proposals would “cut the link between” the act of making private copies and the payment of remuneration to rights holders, violating EU law, the groups said. The industry paper “could be a sign that the whole mediation process is being hijacked” and that technology and information and communication technology companies are walking away from improving the system, they charged.

    Dugie Standeford may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. Austria Considers Tax On Cloud Services Like Google Drive, Dropbox | SiliconANGLE says:

      [...] However, the practice has recently come under scrutiny, with IT vendors and industry associations demanding that new forms of compensation be created to replace these fees. Vendors claim that alleged losses [...]


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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