EU official wants to extend copyright levies on iPods, other storage mediums; 95 year copyright

“Singers and musicians should earn royalty fees for 95 years — almost double the current 50-year limit, a European Union official said Thursday as he promised to draft new copyright protection rules,” The Associated Press reports.

“‘If nothing is done, thousands of European performers who recorded in the late 1950s and 1960s will lose all of their airplay royalties over the next ten years,’ said EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, the union’s internal market chief. ‘These royalties are often their sole pension,'” AP reports.

“The EU executive also wants to look again at reforming copyright levies charged on blank discs, data storage and music and video players to compensate artists and copyright holders for legal copying when listeners burn an extra version of an album to play one at home and one in the car,” AP reports. “The commissioner said he did not want to scrap the charges but wanted to see how realistic it was to charge them on all equipment.”

“Most European countries charge copyright levies, which add €10 (US$14.59) to the cost of an 8 gigabyte MP3 player in Finland, €7 (US$10.21) in France and €2.56 (US$3.73) in Germany, manufacturers’ group EICTA says,” AP reports.

“Composers’ representatives say these charges are exaggerated. Copyright levies, totaling €555 million (US$657 million) in 2005, are collected by artists’ rights groups who distribute them to music and film copyright holders, performers and record companies,” AP reports.

“In some countries, a portion of the money also supports cultural projects, from festivals to scholarships,” AP reports. “The levies are charged and paid to artists in 19 of the EU’s 25 nations. None are charged in Britain, Ireland or Cyprus, and different plans exist in Greece, Luxembourg and Malta.”

Full article here.

So, if you buy an iPod and only use it for classical music, it’s okay that you’re charged a tax in order to pay a bunch of pop tarts? Or if you buy a hard drive which will be not be used to store music or video information, you should still pay a tax to so-called artists? If you buy a pack of blank discs that you will be using to backup photos of your kids, you should still be charged a tax so that musicians get paid? How many questions with the obvious answer of “no” can we construct?

This is as horrible a concept as Microsoft agreeing to pay Universal $1 for every Zune sold. Regardless of the fact that Universal is now just $3 richer, there is no guarantee that all three Zunes sold will have even one bit of Universal content on them, yet Universal still gets paid. Paid for nothing. Nice work if you can get it force it down people’s throats, we guess.

As for these “copyright levies,” we’re so sure that 100% of the money will find its way to the proper parties. Drip, drip…

People are getting reamed with ill-conceived, unfair, little-bit-here/little-bit-there taxes and fees instituted, frankly, by people who couldn’t cut it in the real world, so they ran for office and got elected by people who are too busy and/or too lazy to pay close enough attention (or got appointed by other people who couldn’t cut it in the real world). When is enough enough?

45 Comments

  1. “In some countries, a portion of the money also supports cultural projects, from festivals to scholarships,”

    And as with most government fees, levies and taxes, the monies collected for one purpose will be used fund other projects not originally intended, voted on, or otherwise approved.

  2. 95 years? Why not 1,000 years? So their kids and grandchildren can get free money for some song? More likely so RIAA music labels can just sit back and collect revenue without doing anything. Next thing they will start wiring chips into my Stratocaster and charging me for every riff that SOUNDS like All Along The Watchtower. Bah.

    They keep this up and the music industry will just price itself out of existence, which of course it already is doing.

  3. Easy solution. We’ll sell ONE set of CDs and hard drives for music and ONE set of CDs and hard drives for data. The “music” CDs will carry the extra tax. And we’ll tell everyone the “data”

    Think my idea is crazy? Well they’re selling 5 flavor of VISTA. HA-HAAAAH-HA-HA-HA!!!!

  4. Easy solution. We’ll sell ONE set of CDs and hard drives for music and ONE set of CDs and hard drives for data. The “music” CDs will carry the extra tax. And we’ll tell everyone the “data” CDs are NOT for music.

    Think my idea is crazy? Well they’re selling 5 flavor of VISTA. HA-HAAAAH-HA-HA-HA!!!!

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