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Music Hardware

Vendors Sue Dutch Government Over Media Levies 55

An anonymous reader writes with news that hardware vendors aren't too happy about expanded levies on media. From the article: "Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Dell, and Imation are suing the Dutch government over new levies on hard disks, smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players that are meant to compensate the music and movie industries for losses caused by home copying. The entertainment industry estimates lost income of €40 million, which is much too high, according to the hardware companies. 'That amount is excessive and completely unfounded,' they said. The €40 million also incorporates damages for illegally downloaded music and movies which, according to the companies, legally cannot be recovered by a levy on devices. Furthermore the Dutch government established a levy on all devices including devices for professional use that are not used for private copying, they said."
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Vendors Sue Dutch Government Over Media Levies

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  • by devjoe ( 88696 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:17PM (#42057123)
    In the US the entertainment industry attributes losses of more 40 million to a single file-sharer.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:20PM (#42057145)

      Wait so if I buy a HDD from a Dutch company can I pirate all I want?

      I mean, I already paid them for the media right?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You can already download all you want in many non-americanized european countries, it was never illegal, only uploading was.

      • by tsa ( 15680 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:31PM (#42057295) Homepage

        Indeed, and that is what many people will do now. I hope this backfires tremendously. BREIN (the Dutch RIAA) is almost as bad as the American RIAA so they deserve it.

        • BREIN vs RIAA (Score:5, Informative)

          by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:19PM (#42057935)

          Actually, Stichting BREIN is a different kind of evil.

          Although it's difficult to say which is more bad, I'm inclined to say that the RIAA is certainly worse.

          Whereas the RIAA will happily target individuals and use their techniques to coerce people into paying a settlement fine rather than going through lengthy and very expensive litigation - and generally having the defendant end up paying great multiples of the settlement amounts... ...Stichting BREIN tends to target the entry points to distribution. I.e. TPB and various other torrent (indexing) sites, MasterNZB and various other usenet (indexing) sites.

          The reason it's difficult to say which is worse is that while the RIAA goes after dead people, old grannies without computers, cats, etc. they do tend to 'only' target those people and there's no great erosion of fundamental concepts of copyright and the internet.

          Stichting BREIN, on the other hand, has successfully managed to get courts to force ISPs to block sites, in one case even being allowed to add IPs to the list and the ISP must add those to the block list (though they can contest it if they feel the adding of an IP address is in err), has successfully managed to expand things from direct copyright infringement to the 'facilitating' argument (and continues to expand that), can happily get government officials to come along with them on 'raids' (no court order) making those they're raiding feel like they really have little choice but to allow e.g. computers to be taken, etc.

          That said, BREIN isn't really the one to be targeting in this case. They just tend to catch the most flak (for the reasons outlined above). Stichting de Thuiskopie, SONT and Buma/Stemra (on the side of wanting levies) and STOBI (on the side of blank media producers/etc.) are the main players here , along with then-minister Fred Teeven for actually getting things signed into law a long time ago (an zero Euro levy, which formed the bridge to making it a non-zero Euro levy - whereas going directly for a non-zero Euro levy would have met with great resistance).

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No you can't, that's why the industry says only private home copying (legal) should be compensated, not illegal copying.

      • Yes, absolutely.

        The â5 levy on e.g. a mediarecorder grants you a lifetime (for the life of the product) right to download any and all music and video products you want. Rather than paying â2500 for 100 DVDs, or â200 for 100 â2 'rentals', â5 and you are set. ... okay, no - not really. No more than the existing levies of a few dimes on tapes, video cassettes, CD-Rs and DVD-Rs are payola for putting those 100 movies on your HTPC.

        The levy is a compensation measure for people copying,

        • This is theft,wholly immoral and should be illegal. You do not correct a wrong by creating a new one. All this does is remind me that copyright law is bought, and has no relationship with justice.
          • I wouldn't say it's 'theft', considering you have the option of not purchasing these goods, or purchasing exempt goods instead, or even getting an exempting license (administrative costs + no consumer store that I know of knowing how to handle it make that mostly a non-option, though).

            As far as creating a wrong to deal with another wrong... there's many examples of exactly that being done and most people tend to be okay with it in light of alternatives.

            Not sure about any appropriate analogy here, but let's

      • by Saithe ( 982049 )
        That's what we've been jokingly discussing since we got a levy on CD/DVD media, and now we also get that levy on external HDDs and USB-drives here in Sweden. Either way, a levy on storage-media is not and never was the answer to anything, don't know how it can even be considered. One of the arguments for this new levy on external HDDs was: "It's primary function is for private copying" which is just ludicrous...
    • In the US the entertainment industry attributes losses of more 40 million to a single file-sharer.

      Yeah really. Wasn't the RIAA asking for 72 Trillion just for losses from Limewire?

    • by suutar ( 1860506 )
      Nah, they don't pay attention to the actual losses; statutory damages are so much higher that there's no point.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Their "math" goes like this:

      losses = files shared * file sharers * maximum price.

      What they leave out is that
      1. nearly nobody would actually pay them if it was his only choice. because it's simply not worth the money, or they simply couldn't.
      2. a copy is not worth actual money, since it didn't take actual work to make. only the original service (actual work) is worth money (made with actual work!). I am happy to give them a worthless copy of my money. :P
      3. even if they would get "sales", nearly none would be

  • Germany (Score:5, Informative)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:29PM (#42057263) Homepage

    Many people in the Netherlands now buy their electronics in Germany, where it's much cheaper thanks to less tax and the absence of this ridiculous levy.

    • Many people have traditionally bought goods in Germany where it's much cheaper thanks to lower prices to begin with. Whereas Germany is stuck at 19% VAT, NL upped it to 21% recently.

      On a E500 device, that means in Germany you'd pay E595, and in NL you'd add E605. If you add the levy of E5, that's E610. E15 is often barely worth it due to added delivery costs.

      The thing is that in Germany the base price of the device isn't E500 in the first place. It might be something like E450. Now you're talking actua

      • This is just like the situation in Canada and the US. Prices in the US were always less, and we always attributed it to the exchange rate, but now the US $ is pretty much on par with the Canadian $, and there's still a lot of cases where products are much cheaper in the US than in Canada. I know a few people who are planning trips to the US this weekend for their big "black friday" sales.
      • Not to mention that Germans tend to ship with the quite cheap and reliable DPD or GLS whereas the Dutch ship through the more expensive PostNL and their scumbag affiliates that do the final delivery.

    • Re:Germany (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TeslaBoy ( 1593823 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:06PM (#42057755)
      True. This is all a little pointless in a free market zone as we in Holland can just order online from abroad, in the same currency, with nominal delivery fees. Amazon, for example, deliver from Germany for free on orders over 25 euro, which is pretty much any computer component or decent-sized order of blank media.
  • Music and Movie Industry has a broken model, so everyone has to pay? How does that make sense?

    If your product doesn't compete, it should fail. There is a rise of Indie music and movies which in many cases are better than the Main stream equivalent.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Imagine if every industry ran this way:

      Oil companies could crank up gas/petrol prices to hundreds of dollars per gallon, and then impose levies on bicycles and shoes when people opt for alternative travel methods.

      Montsano and their ilk could sue every small farm operation out of existence, and force price increases on all trowels, potting soil and miracle grow

      In any other field, this practice would be instantly laughed out of court, but somehow the entertainment industry is a sacred cow?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    According to the article:

    Presently, the Dutch see downloading and copying movies and music for personal use as “fair use” and not punishable by law.

    I wouldn't mind paying an additional $2 for an MP3 player if it made all the ridiculous RIAA / MPAA lawsuits go away.

    • Just to note, one begets the other, and not the other way around.

      It's not that because you're paying the levy that you are allowed to download music/TV/movie works.

      You are allowed to do so due to the interpretation of a law that said you could make copies for private use. That law didn't consider the source back then (era of tapes) and hasn't been updated to the realities of the modern world.

      However, because people could make these copies for private use, a levy was instated to partially compensate the rig

  • by SilenceBE ( 1439827 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:40PM (#42057399)
    It is a ridiculous levy as you pay for your right to make home copies of the media you own. But really it is just a way to get money in the pockets of the entertainment industry that are the recipients of what is collected through these "Auvibel" taxes. Here in Belgium it was the works of Fientje Moerman [] of the liberal party OpenVLD [] that started this shenigans with their auvibel taxes. OpenVLD has a lot of ties with the entertainment industry or media in its whole.

    You pay for example 50 eurocent of taxes on an empty DVD. But 99% of the DVD productions are protected by anti copying measures. It is is illegal by Belgian law to circumvent those measures so in reality you can't execute that right which you pay for and that goes into the pockets of the entertainment industry...

    When they started those taxes justice went in high gear (as a victim of abuse I can tell you that for other cases they aren't that fast... ) and threatened every single shop (even in our neighboring countries for example as a Belgian it is impossible to order blank media in the UK, germany, ... ) or people selling blank media on ebay with lawsuits for tax evasion, etc.

    In the end they totally destroyed the industry or sales of blank media in this country and a lot of people bought external hard drives that didn't had those taxes at the time. Now you pay on a HDD or usb stick larget then 1GB, 9 euro's / 11 dollars.
  • by junkgoof ( 607894 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:50PM (#42057525)
    And the levies go to the artists of course. A whole 0% of them. Yup, the artists are totally taken care of.
    • Recording Industry: "We won't pocket a single penny of the levy money!"

      *gets big sack of levy money*

      *pulls out one penny*

      Recording Industry: "This is the single penny we won't pocket." *tosses one penny to the artists to divide up*

    • []

      In 2011 they collected (regular collection, minus a collection of historic funds) E6.740M, and listed as distributable E4.723M

      Perhaps also of interest: E0.774M of their total funds goes to fighting piracy (through contribution to BREIN - see other post).

      Now, whether that E4.723 actually ends up at the artists rather than the deeper pockets of record companies, is another matter entirely. But then the artists did sign over the rights to those reco

  • Between the extra judicial punishment doled out via 3 or 6 strikes policies, draconian DRM schemes that trample fair use, government institutions being co-opted to enforce copyright under the guise of national security, John Doe lawsuits, secretly negotiated international treaties, SOPA, false DMCA takedowns, price fixing, perpetually extending copyright, vertical integration of ISPs, refusal to adapt to new technology, widespread use of accounting methods that never pay artists a dime and now these new tax
  • by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:16PM (#42057895)

    Fuck these guys.

    The media companies do NOT compensate artists with any of the money collected, so their principal reason for getting this money is invalid.

    As for their lost profits, study after study proves that file-copying actually increases their sales.

    Screw them, we need to get rid of these leeches.

  • One of these days I want to get a bunch of my friends together and start printing our MP3s to see how long it will take all the various *IAAs around the world to start levying a tax on printer paper.

    Who's with me?

  • If they are going to put on a tax like that, then it has to be because copying and downloading for personal use is allowed. However, as far as I'm aware, Holland has been on the forefront in blocking PirateBay, and prosecuting downloaders (with a couple of U-turns, if I'm not mistaken).

    It is of course not surprising that the music industry want to have their cake and eat it, however, that seems to be the logic argument the those tech companies should go for; choose only one: Media tax or no fair use.
  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:20PM (#42062373) Journal

    Now the fight isn't about consumers against the RIAA & MIAA, but other corporations are starting to feel the pinch of the bullshit that the RIAA and MIAA have been representing.

    This is good, because sooner or later it will hopefully wake up everyone to that fact that the RIAA and MIAA need a new business model, one that doesn't involve suing consumers.

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost