MP3 tax

  Kate B 12:52 29 Apr 2005

Just spotted this:

click here

that's a bit worrying!

  Charence 19:09 29 Apr 2005


  Forum Editor 19:52 29 Apr 2005

at least here it should.

  Dennis Goycoolea 01:46 30 Apr 2005

Mad, but not too surprising.

Mad, because the 'mp3 tax' will apply in the Nederlands, it's not EU-wide. So you'd buy your iPod somewhere else in the EU and import it: tax avoided.

Unsurprising, because some places already have a tax on blank CD media. You backup your own data, or burn a Linux CD, but a portion of the price of that CD went to the record labels because you could've illegally copied a music CD instead.

So, does anyone else see this as a license to infringe copyright? If you're going to pay a tax on the assumption that you will be pirating mp3s, who can complain when you decide to do just that? You've already paid your ~€3 / GB for the privilege (seems like a good price, too).


  Forum Editor 08:14 30 Apr 2005

Of course not, you obviously can't license someone to break the law. Apart from that the point is well made - the proposed legislation is ludicrous, and yet another example of vested interests overriding commonsense. The day after such a levy was introduced I would expect iPod sales in the Netherlands to hit the floor, followed by a massive increase in purchases outside the Netherland borders. The thought of iPod smuggling on a large scale would be laughable in any other set of circumstances.

As I said earlier - commonsense will surely prevail, if not in the Netherlands then in every other EU country.

  Kate B 11:44 30 Apr 2005

I can see how it would appeal to the music industry. Wasn't there some kind of "levy" implicit in the price of blank tapes at one point?

  Forum Editor 13:09 30 Apr 2005

Yep, there was, and for the same reasons.

Levying consumer products because copyright holders think they (the products) might be used to infringe their copyright is, in my opinion immoral. It implies that we'll use the products for illegal purposes, and of course most of us won't.

  Dorsai 19:09 30 Apr 2005

If a levy was introduced on blank CD's, to go to the recording industry, as suggestted by Dennis Goycoolea, then I can see the next person taken to court for copyright offences having a very good defence argument.

"All the cd's I copied and sold have had royalty payments made, as there is a tax of £x.xxp on the blank disks, so what have I done wrong?"

  Kate B 01:09 02 May 2005

Hm, don't you think that's a bit of a Utopian view, FE? My iPod is full of tracks I've ripped and dumped on to it, which is technically illegal, so I guess I'm using the iPod for illegal purposes - as indeed is every other user of mp3 players on the planet ... so *plays devil's advocate* you can sort of see where they're coming from.

But it's mad and impractical. High time the copyright laws were recast.

  Forum Editor 01:28 02 May 2005

but think for a moment - do we want a society where there's an assumption of guilt before the fact? I think not, and I doubt that we want to go down a road where product A is levied because the providers of service B are trying to protect their revenue stream.

You're certainly right in that it's high time the copyright laws were overhauled, but once again there's a need to pause for thought. On the one hand you and I may not be too happy with things as they are music-wise, but as writers we might regret at leisure any changes made in haste. My own view is that Music and video ought to have their own copyright law, separate and distinct from the legislation applying to other 'original works'. The new law could take account of the need for music-purchasers to make archive copies of their MP3 tracks and CDs, whilst retaining the protection afforded to the originators as it applies to distribution.

Mind you, I wouldn't fancy the job of drafting such a law, the more so because of the need to obtain international agreement and recognition.

  Kate B 11:18 02 May 2005

I agree about the writing point, and it reminds me of a time I went ballistic ... I idly Googled myself to show someone it could be done and rather to my surprise found a piece I'd written for an international magazine about a private island in the Bahamas that was for sale had been scanned by the estate agents dealing with it and they'd put it up as a downloadable PDF!

Having checked with the person who commissioned the piece that they hadn't inadvertently given permission for it (the copyright was mine anyway), we both fired off emails to the offenders, who were very sniffy. "Oh, we thought we could do that if we credited you," they said.

I said I'd be happy to write some separate copy for them if they paid me, otherwise take the pdf down and pay me a (smaller) fee for its use. They coughed up $250 and took it down.

However, we were celebrating with a friend the completion of his album (it will be out in October) over the weekend and talking about this subject, among other things.

He's delighted if people fileshare his music - it's all exposure. You can listen to a track at click here.

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