28 May 2008

I Love Smell of Private Copying Levies in the Morning

If the media industry wants to make sure that everyone will start copying content and generally handing it around to all their mates, this is by far the best way to do it:

Hardware makers meet politicians and copyright societies in Brussels today to discuss introducing a Europe-wide levy on media devices, offsetting revenue apparently lost from personal copying. Since 2001, 22 of Europe’s 27 countries have made technology manufacturers pay the surcharge on products that allow music, books, movies and other copyrighted content to be copied. Despite the companies having fought the obligation for years, the levy reaped €568 million for rightsholders in 2004.

The thing is, if *everyone* is paying a levy purportedly to cover revenue "lost" from personal copying, then surely that means that *everyone* can merrily copy away, morally secure in the knowledge that they have already paid for the pleasure. And even if it doesn't, guess what? That's nonetheless how every Thomas, Richard and Harold is going to interpret it.

Go ahead, chaps, make our day.

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