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Spain Adds 'Copyright Tax' to Blank Media

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the angry-geeks dept.

348

Poker Forums writes "Just read on Zeropaid that Spain has recently voted in compulsory copyright licensing, levying a tax on all blank media. This includes cd-r, dvd-r, flash media, printers, scanners, cell phones, everything. The tax will be collected by the government and 'given to the copyright holder.'"

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Some light (5, Informative)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617628)

... given to a my ass...

The tax will be charged indiscriminately to manufacturers who, according to SGAE (our particular RIAA), are the ones taking advantage of all this """illegal""" copying (private copying for personal use with no money involved is still legal in Spain), and will mostly be given to this same organization. Problem is manufacturers are gonna pass the tax on to customers, and so the cycle of life closes.

And SGAE, of course, will use the money not to pay the authors, but to spread the word through adoctrination lectures, or to pay for lobbies to bully Brussels, or to cry louder about how bad people is and how poor authors are getting (despite SGAE's doubling benefits every year...).

The one improvement of this law is that now the tax has to be proportional to the cost of the medium; currently when we buy a DVD+R, the tax is higher than the price of the DVD itself... And stupidity didn't get to add DSL and Cable lines to the list, though they were in the top 10...

The title should read "Spanish politicians surrender to stupidity" (which wouldn't be so new, either), or sth similar...

Re:Some light (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617790)

I HATE this law, and it is just STUPID.
You have to pay a tax "just in case you were going to copy a Music CD to a CD-R", but you legally CANNOT own a single Audio CD Anti-Copy "Breaker" Utility.
So, how I am supposed to copy a CD then?
Stupid, plain stupid.

Re:Some light (5, Interesting)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617952)

I thought the same thing when similar taxes in other countries were passed. If I'm paying for it when I buy blank media, shouldn't I be able to download or copy anything I want since I've already paid for it.

Re:Some light (4, Interesting)

Stripe7 (571267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617791)

What about business uses? If I am cutting DVD's to be shipped to a client that contains blueprints, materials analysis results etc.. I have to pay the tax or bill my customer for it most likely? If all you put on your recordable DVD's are photos's of you family and home movies you have to pay the tax, or do you get to collect the money since you have the creative rights to your home movies? What determines who gets money? Does anyone with a movie camera get to collect?

Re:Some light (5, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617833)

I would hope you get some of the money with your personal photos.

Seeing as your the copyright holder of the content of the DVD.

I hope the people wrking on Linux Distros get the pay too, that's what I use my DVD's for.

Re:Some light (3, Interesting)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617845)

Business are not allowed to carry out a private copy, and so the tax won't be applied to them. Hell, find someone who works for his own (my father does) and ask them to buy media for you ;)

Re:Some light (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617913)

Spanish politicians surrender to stupidity

Right, it was merely stupidity. There is no possibility that politicians operate in self interest, and exploit the coercive power of government for their own benefit. Right.

Does the consumer get a license? (1)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617987)

I've read the FA and the English language links from it, but an important question is left unanswered. If I purchase media with this tax, does that give me the right to make copies of material I otherwise would not have the right to copy?

If you (or someone) could shed some light on this, that would be very helpful. Then we could be discussing the specific stupidity of the law instead of guessing at which parts make utterly no sense and which parts make some sense, but remain stupid.

This is a good thing. (4, Interesting)

acidrain (35064) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618021)

As a canadian who pays a similar tax on media, I have to disagree with your assesment.

This tax is one step further *away* from loosing your right to copy audio files. A step away from legally protected DRM.

And if you don't like the tax, buy harddrives. They are cheap, less likely to fail, and a lot easier to use. I have 30 movies and 8 *seasons* of television shows on one of my harddrives. Heck I'm too lazy to convert movies to XVID, I just dump them out raw. I have a flash based mp3 player and I set the auto-play options for audio cd's on my PC to just rip the thing. I view CDs/DVDs as an incovenince I am glad to be rid of.

Considering the pending obsolecence of shiny platic disks, this seems like a good thing for Spain. Enjoy the freedom to do what you want with your data while you have it.

wow (5, Insightful)

PacketScan (797299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617631)

They just legalized copyright infringement.

Re:wow (5, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617769)

Did the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 [duke.edu] have such an effect?
Theoretically, yes. In practice, no.

"The AHRA also provides for a royalty tax of up to $8 per new digital recording machine and 3 percent of the price of all digital audiotapes or discs. This tax is paid by the manufacturers of digital media devices and distributed to the copyright owners whose music is presumably being copied. In consideration of this tax, copyright owners agree to forever waive the right to claim copyright infringement against consumers using audio recording devices in their homes."

Well, of course... (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617983)

The RIAA would argue that it's not in your home if your sharing it over a computer...

with somebody else...

who's also in their own home...

and...

umm...

Heh, look, it's this year's Britney clone! Don't you want to run out and buy her studio album, live album, remixed live album, and tour DVD? If you say no, we'll know you're copying it...

Re:wow (1, Insightful)

espinafre (973274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617802)

Well, if they legalized it, it isn't infringement anymore... Right?

So, with this new tax I can copy ("pirate", "piracy" are related to mutiny, theft and murder in ships, and I refuse to apply these terms to someone whose crime is copy something) and share copyrighted material like there is no tomorrow? Spain, here I go!

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617826)

No they did not. We have the same thing here in Canada. There is a provision in copyright law (at least here, and probably there) which ALLOWS doing a copy of recorded copyrighted material for private use. Too many people actually know this and do take advantage of it. This kind of levy means you can both have a lots of people taking advantage of this provision AND have the copyright holders stop whining.

Re:wow (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617863)

That's not what happens in Canada though. We pay the levy and the recording industry, who fought so hard to have it invoked, now wants to make copying illegal. Plus our government is paying the industry money specifically so that it can be lobbied against. I don't know whether the recording industry will win but I think it's more likely to happen with a Conservative government in power.

I blogged about this a while ago - http://demodulated.blogspot.com/2006/04/i-get-play ed-celine-gets-paid.html [blogspot.com]

Re:wow (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617841)

At the very least, they just removed any trace of a moral question about it.

Re:wow (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617859)

"They just legalized copyright infringement."

It's not infringement if it's legal.

Re:wow (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617978)

So now when I copy a dvd, I'm preforming "copyright", not "copyright infringement". Interesting...

Governments will always vote in new taxes (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617637)

...and misdirect the funds. That's what they do. Does it really matter which scumbag gets the money though? Politicians or "copyright holders".

Re:Governments will always vote in new taxes (1)

KarmaOverDogma (681451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617737)

Very true. That's what Governments are for: Taking our Money. And spending it (usually not in very egalitarian ways).

Once that is understood, Governments of virtually any type become much easier to understand. What distinguishes one from another in this conext (human rights and standard of living aside) is the degree to which spending occurs for special interests at the expense of the general populace.

Such as this legislation, for example.

It's a democracy (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617856)

That means you (the people) deserve everything they give to you...

 

How to change a digital system? (4, Interesting)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617902)

Following history, revolutions and revolts, society usually seems to get to a certian point before collectivley it gets sick of tax burdons, restrictions on speech and creativity and then either a revolt or a revolution is staged.

In a digital age where we are dealing with Intellectual Property, digitial censorship and hidden taxes it makes me wonder just what excatly a revolt or revolution against it would be like?
I can't imagine thousands of people marching through the streets finding government officals and decapating them, but you would think we will eventually get to a point where everything just gets too much.

We are now in the 21st century and are beginning to see the downsides of all the technology we have adopted, in the late 90's it was promosing, now we are seeing new emerging ways to control us, deny us of fundamental rights and governements seem to be finding new ways to write laws and profit from it.

does that include (5, Interesting)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617640)

open source and fsf and gnu? If someone buys soem cdr's and burn copies of free software, who gets paid?

Re:does that include (2, Informative)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617647)

This includes all blank media of such kind. No matter what the purpose. Even if you're recording your holiday photos, or your gnew ubuntu. Whatever.

Re:does that include (2)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617939)

So you mean if I buy fucking blank sheets of paper there, a tax would be charged? Somehow the numbers 1, 9, 8, and 4 come to mind, but I can't seem to figure out why...

Re:does that include (5, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617676)

I'm curious to know how the money is divvied up among copyright holders. Is it proportional to the number of copyrights you hold? By what position your song is in the charts? By informal polling? Compulsory reporting of copies? Number of copyrighted characters prominently represented in cosplay? Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, [approaches and softens] does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca is not the most popular cosplay character, you must acquit! The defense rests.

Re:does that include (5, Insightful)

m874t232 (973431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617930)

I'm curious to know how the money is divvied up among copyright holders.

Generally, it's apportioned based on the number of lobbyists each copyright holder pays for, as well as the campaign contributions of copyright holders to current holders of elected office.

Re:does that include (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618065)

Awesome, I'm in. Who wants to be my lobbyist?

okay, then the result should be (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617646)

Okay, if laws are in place to fairly compensate the copyright owners by taxing recordable media the offshoot of that should be continued "enjoyment" of what we've come to know as fair use. Ostensibly this tax should cover disbursements back to the artists for any copying and/or sharing consumers do.

A question from The Fine Article: "Is this an example of what is to come in the United States or other parts of Europe?", isn't this already a tax in place on recordable media in the United States? I seem to remember that a while back, or was it Canada?

Regardless, the entertainment industry can't have it both ways, they either tax in advance and anticipation of our "abuses", or they implement draconian DRM. Unfortunately it's looking like they're getting both.

Re:okay, then the result should be (5, Informative)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617669)

The US does this on blank digital and analog audio tape, IIRC. Media designed for computer storage isn't covered.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AHRA [wikipedia.org]

Re:okay, then the result should be (4, Informative)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617678)

Oops - premature submission.

Also there are "Audio" CD-ROMs which carry a royalty. However, there's no reason to use them unless you have a standalone stereo component CD copier.

Re:okay, then the result should be (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617670)

Recordable audio tapes included a subsidy to the RIAA, so did "music" cd-rs. I think that was mostly volentary. Of course there were a few standanole cd recorders that you put in amusic cd and then a music cdr and it would only accept the higher priced music cds, but for the most part everyone just bought the lower priced data cds as no computer or any program checked before burning music onto them. I haven't seen amusic cdr in along time now ( 3-4 years). Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong

Re:okay, then the result should be (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617685)

So what you really meant to say was.. they can have it both ways?

Quid Pro Quo? (2, Insightful)

chub_mackerel (911522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617844)

TFA doesn't to a good job of defining things (in fact it's a bit misleading). "Compulsory licensing" does NOT simply mean taxing everyone for blank CDs and giving the money to publishers/artists/whoever. Compulsory licensing means YOU GET A LICENSE (permission to make copies), regardless of what the media companies want. It's the rights holders who are "compelled," not the users. The tax itself is the presumed "cost" of that license. There's supposed to be a quid pro quo here.

Truth be told, I'd be pretty happy to pay a few cents extra for each blank CD, etc., if it meant that all my (and others') private copying in unprotected formats was presumed to be legal/licensed. That's a good trade-off, and the resulting market pressures would likely cause a decrease in prices and a lack of DRM ($1.00 for a single restricted audio track? Come on!). My bet is that this would likely save lots of money in the long run.

But the parent poster is right -- the media companies are trying to get it both ways: getting this money without giving me any substantial license to DO anything. What are the Spanish people getting in return for this? Anyone care to elaborate?

Re:Quid Pro Quo? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618043)

What would be fair is if artists that use DRM and other types of copy protection get nothing from this tax. Presumably, their art cannot be copied so they haven't provided the required license.

Re:okay, then the result should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617873)

It is Canada that has a similair law, but i think it only applies to CDs, DVDs, etc.

Ripe for abuse (4, Insightful)

kupekhaize (220804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617650)

So, who determines which copyright holders get what, and how much they get? Seems to me this is a system just ripe for abuse, with minimal controls on the right money getting to the right people... ... and, in other, no-way related news, I released a couple of songs I sung myself last year, and while I am a crappy singer/writer, I believe someone in Spain may be listening to my songs right now, and burning them and distributing them to their friends.

Can I have my check now, please?

As the copyright holder (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617655)

..how do I get access to my share of this money?

Re:As the copyright holder (2, Interesting)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617667)

You'd have to be signed up with your correspondant copyright holding association, or start your own. Of course, since the losses can't be estimated, your share will only depend on your popularity. This means that if you are not well known (or not affiliated to any association) you may not receive a dime. Even if the whole country makes their own copy of your material.

Re:As the copyright holder (1)

Chrismith (911614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617795)

I think that if the entire country is making copies of your material, you qualify as "well-known". Your point about not belonging to an organization is probably valid (though I didn't RTFA, so I don't know how that works).

Re:As the copyright holder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617889)

>You'd have to be signed up with your correspondant copyright holding association,

No. I hold the copyright. Where does it say I have to affiliate with an association? The copyright is granted to me as the creator by the act of creating the work.

> or start your own.

An association with one member, me? Why would I need or want to do that?

> Of course, since the losses can't be estimated,

Isn't that the very point of this kind of insane thinking? The assumption
that the losses can be estimated?

>your share will only depend on your popularity.

By what metric or rule? Who will be the judge of how "popular" I may or may not be?

>This means that if you are not well known (or not affiliated to any association) >you may not receive a dime. Even if the whole country makes their own copy of >your material.

So, as I thought it has nothing to do with "copyright holders" and everything to do with a select mafioso cartel using government to extort money.

(sorry to seem to ridicule your kindly sensible post, but I'm just using it to attack the underlying dishonest and criminal pile of crap that this so blatently is)

Re:As the copyright holder (1)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617915)

We're in the same boat, man. What I was doing is posing an example to show how insane this law is and its null applicability. And yet, we've been paying this tax (not by law, but by SGAE-manufacturers agreement) for quite a long time now. This why we all complain, because my previous post couldn't make an ounze of sense and still is how it is supposed to work.

Re:As the copyright holder (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617680)

Become a corrupt, money-grubbing, tool. They're called politicians in the english language.

Must be nice (4, Insightful)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617656)

To be able to manipulate governments so they force your business model to work.

I guess thats my problem I sell things if people don't buy them I have to do something else I never considered wrecking everyone else life so mine could be a little better

Answer me this: (4, Insightful)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617702)

So that will make it legal to burn any media to CD/DVD as you are paying the copyright holder?....
Does this mean you can circumvent any DRM or other technical measures to protect the material on other media / files to burn them since you have paid this tax?....
Do I get tax back if I end up burning a coaster?....
Can you easily get tax back if its material you own the copyright to that you are burning?....
Does this include Software products and movie DVD rips and if so are you going to have to tell the media supplier what you intend to make copies of?....

Thought Not.

More accurate question might be:

Is this yet another revenue stream (on top of all the others) for someone somewhere who feels that their profits are not what they could be, and another kick to the teeth of fair use (If that exists in Spain)?

Yes.

Either prosecute people for copyright infringement (regardless how insane the laws surrounding that are) or leave the blank media alone. - By the way shouldn't the tax be on paper not Printers? after all the paper is the media. Mobile phones? Are they going to pay the copyright holders of the text messages I receive too?

If this is true then this is madness, and needs to be challenged before it spreads.

Re:Answer me this: (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617750)

I think something like this could work if people could pay the royalty fees to the artists for music they had made copies of. I think iTunes sucks because of the DRM, and I don't always want the shiny disc and the case it comes in. I hear that the artists only get like 0.04 cents a song on iTunes. I would gladly pay the artist 20 cents for each song I copy, and figure out my own distribution medium. A lot of CDs aren't available at my local record store, and sometimes it would be nice to just compensate the artist without having to go through 15 layers of distribution.

Which one? (2, Funny)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617706)

'given to the copyright holder.'

Which one? Bono or Spielberg?

Re:Which one? (0, Redundant)

NathanBFH (558218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617886)

To me. I'm a copyright holder, I want a piece. Where do I apply?

Re:Which one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617945)

michael jackson?

... France has it too (2, Informative)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617708)

...and it has still recently voted a DMCA like text.

They should tax brains too, you can store a lot of tunes into them, + it wouldn't be a huge cost for our lawmakers.

Re:... France has it too (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617931)

Is that definitive now? The French legislature and judiciary have been changing their minds radically on what is and isn't allowed for something like a year now, with several relevant rulings in very high courts, subsequent legislation changing them, more proposed legislation changing that, and so on....

Re:... France has it too (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617966)

They should tax brains too, you can store a lot of tunes into them, + it wouldn't be a huge cost for our lawmakers.

They already do.. it's called income tax. The bigger the brain, the higher the tax!

Unfortunately, there's no escaping it, no matter how small the brain. For example, my brain was taxed just from writing this.

New Concept in Capitalism (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617718)

If your business model can't survive, get the government to legislates mandatory taxes that get passed onto you. I believe this concept is called either Communism (or similiar controlled economy) or Welfare. I don't know which.

I would have people make copies of my photos/minor_software_project/whatever on CD-R and then sue the Spanish RIAA if they don't send me my portion of payments. It's really odd that they represent ALL copyright holders. Like they represent ALL musicians, even the ones not signed up with RIAA companies. This RIAA racket has to be taken on and bought down in flames like the Hindenburg one day.

Re:New Concept in Capitalism (4, Interesting)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617760)

No, your thinking of an Oligarchy. And yeah, its what we have in most places (certainly america): government run by a small group, usually of businessmen.

Re:New Concept in Capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617890)

Actually, I think it's called socialism and if you are just now figuring out that it exists in Europe, you have a lot of catching up to do.

Re:New Concept in Capitalism (4, Interesting)

Wes Janson (606363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618009)

I'd say it's closer to a strange form of corporate socialism. Welfare for the megacorps.

This underlines the problem with copyright theft (0)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617719)

Building and promoting enabling technologies, while allowing the temporary exchange of copyrighted material without compensation, has lead (I think inevitably) to compulsory payment elsewhere.

In other words, we wouldn't need to walk through shoplift detectors, have the store check the shopping bags and carts on large purchases, or be videotaped in every place of business if inventory wasn't disappearing behind the employees' backs.

It's a disappointing state of affairs. But watch where you're heaping the scorn -- they have to collect this from everybody (including people who just want to make a phone call or backup their computer) because otherwise the artists can't stay in business. Much as prices go up in a store when shoplifting becomes rampant; they need to pay for the missing merchandise, the cameras, and the detectors and consequently the higher cost is bourne by marking up the goods that are sold to the honest customers.

Re:This underlines the problem with copyright thef (0, Offtopic)

topham (32406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617732)



I'll give you a hint as to the most significant ways a retail outlet loses inventory... it isn't by shoplifting and walking out the front door.

It goes home with the employees.

So remind me again why I walk through those shoplifting detectors? Especially since thy get set off every 3 minutes in some stores for almost no reason.

Re:This underlines the problem with copyright thef (1)

m874t232 (973431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617943)

they have to collect this from everybody (including people who just want to make a phone call or backup their computer) because otherwise the artists can't stay in business.

Well, even better then; I don't want artists to be in business.

I am sure this has been said... (2, Insightful)

infosec_spaz (968690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617723)

But....WHAT FUCKING Copyright holder?!?!? Are they going to just pay every fucking artist in the country some money from this, much like the federal universal service fee here in the states?!?!?! What a bunch of garbage!

No solution (1)

ElNonoMasa (820089) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617728)

These measures just bring no solutions.
They only create a new black market for blank media.
It's also a known fact that the vast majority of
copyright infringement, at least on the movies front,
come from bootlegs from Asia, which have nothing to
do with blank media.

To what copyright holder? (1)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617738)

To which copyright holder? The one who holds the copyright for "blanks"? What about blank paper? You can infringe copyright on that. How about pens, pencils? Crayons? Markers? A sharp stick in the dirt?

  Dear Spanish friends, this is el stupido.

Money (1)

pestilence669 (823950) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617755)

Just another excuse to tax something, if you ask me. They might as well increase taxes on batteries, since they can be used to power devices that may or may not be used to infringe on copyrights someday.

From the blog linked by zeropaid (4, Informative)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617759)

A real shake up of the cultural world is going on. Numbers from the annual report from the Spanish copyright organisation SGAE, show that only live performance, be it theatre or music, continues to show financial and audience growth.

In other words, their artists' profits are increasing faster than theirs. No wonder Spain needed a new tax!

It's worth pointing out, however, that this kind of infringement is a big thing in Spain. In the area I saw, it was so ingrained that they called it 'top manta' (manta == sheet), named after the sheet that the street-sellers of usually pirated music use, so that if the police come along, they can grab the four corners of the sheet, bundle the music into it instantly, and disappear.

The proof is in the pooing (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617806)

Oblig wikipedia link: Top manta [wikipedia.org]
Translation: Google translatifier [66.249.93.104]
Oh, and manta does technically mean 'blanket', but sheet is a more accurate translation in cultural terms.

The solution, punish everyone (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617761)

I go through mountains of CDs and DVDs to back up files. I've never in my life downloaded any copyrighted music or software. If I was in Spain I'd be required to help pay for people illegally downloading? Why not send me a traffic ticket every month because some people speed?

Imagine if this could be done responsibly... (1)

aendeuryu (844048) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617762)

I remember being told that in Ireland, you're allowed to live there tax-free so long as you're a writer or an artist -- I also heard that situation was being re-assessed, but anyhoo...

I think all of these taxes might potentially be a good way to promote the arts. Give artists tax-free status, and offset the potential tax revenue loss by using these tech-media taxes as a substitute.

It's not like the artists actually make money on the deal unless their stuff sells, so it's not pure communism or anything.

Re:Imagine if this could be done responsibly... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617891)

It's not like the artists actually make money on the deal unless their stuff sells, so it's not pure communism or anything.

But how are you supposed to know which artists gets a tax-based payment when people are "sharing"/downloading, rather than purchasing, their works? One artist's work could be very good, very popular, and being spread around and burned onto people's blank media at 1000x the rate of some other artist... but in schemes like this there's no mechanism to reward the more effective, prolific, and popular artist for their efforts. It's nonsense. Not all artists are equal (thank goodness).

Never liked these, myself... (2)

ktakki (64573) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617768)

I've never been a fan of these blank media taxes, but there is a way that could make this more palatable, to me at least.

I'm do support strong copyrights, but also a strong defense of fair use. I was a songwriter who did manage to eke out a modest living from sales and royalties back in the day (and considered breaking even on tour a rare event). But I always saw these blank media taxes (along with early forms of DRM like Copy Code) as an unfair burden on musicians and songwriters who are at that difficult early phase of their career arcs. It may be a small percentage of the cost of media, but in the long run it adds up, and it's money that could be better spent on things like more media, guitar strings, drum sticks, software, hardware, and the all important elixirs: coffee and beer.

And I never liked that the taxes collected went to the top tier of artists. For every one of these, a Springsteen, a Madonna, a Bono, there are 10,000 strivers, sequestered in a home studio, trying to get that vocal or cowbell track perfect.

So, I'd feel more comfortable if half of the funds levied by these taxes could benefit the unsigned, the unheard. Start with public school music programs, which are woefully underfunded as it is, and often fall victim to budget cuts. That's how I started out, a nine-year-old trumpet player in a grade school orchestra. Maybe there could be some sort of indie label lottery, where some band's vanity label gets a $10,000 infusion of funds, maybe even a promotional campaign sponsored by Maxell, Imation, TDK, Sony, or some other producer of blank media ("The stars of tomorrow use our CD-RWs today...").

Idealistic, I know. But why the hell not?

k.

Re:Never liked these, myself... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617927)

And I never liked that the taxes collected went to the top tier of artists. For every one of these, a Springsteen, a Madonna, a Bono, there are 10,000 strivers, sequestered in a home studio, trying to get that vocal or cowbell track perfect.

"I've got a fever, and the only cure is ... more cowbell!"

But seriously... you're reaching around looking for a way to make this ridiculous (and as you say, burdensome) sort of tax somehow more fair for starving artists. Here's a thought: drop it entirely. Let artistic merit, as measured by people's willingness to actually pay an artist what they ask for their work, solve the whole thing. I always find it ironic that people are so willing to rip off the work of an artist they claim to like and respect. I wonder if they'd do it while that person was sitting in the room with them, talking about the year they spent working on the album that's about to be ripped by the person who just loves their work, but is too cheap to cough a dollar for their new favorite recording.

Re:Never liked these, myself... (1)

ktakki (64573) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618061)

"I've got a fever, and the only cure is ... more cowbell!"


Heh, you win the Spot The Ref prize. But I recall a time twenty years ago when I spent an afternoon getting some cowbell tracks [artcrime.com] perfect (two different pitched cowbells with stereo separation).

But seriously... you're reaching around looking for a way to make this ridiculous (and as you say, burdensome) sort of tax somehow more fair for starving artists. Here's a thought: drop it entirely. Let artistic merit, as measured by people's willingness to actually pay an artist what they ask for their work, solve the whole thing. I always find it ironic that people are so willing to rip off the work of an artist they claim to like and respect. I wonder if they'd do it while that person was sitting in the room with them, talking about the year they spent working on the album that's about to be ripped by the person who just loves their work, but is too cheap to cough a dollar for their new favorite recording.


I agree that the tax, in and of itself, is a burden, and that burning a mix CD for a friend or significant other should be covered by fair use. But "artistic merit" is too subjective. We may agree that Britney Spears has no artistic merit, but we'd be overruled by legions of teen, tween, and pre-teen girls. Tyranny of the majority. Where does that leave Cat Power, or Smog, or Hefner, or Deerhoof?

As for ripping off the artist, in my case I'm referring to CDs and iTunes tracks bought legitmately, tracks that get burned as playlist cuts, not tracks downloaded from P2P networks. My car has a CD player without a line input for an iPod. I have a Griffin iTrip, but when I do a Cape Cod to NYC run, some of the frequencies on the low end of the FM spectrum aren't open. So I burn a CD from an iTunes playlist, which gets me through the Connecticut shoreline.

But yes, drop the tax entirely. However, if it becomes inevitable, make it fair.

k.

Re:Never liked these, myself... (1)

fido_dogstoyevsky (905893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617933)

I've never been a fan of these blank media taxes, but there is a way that could make this more palatable, to me at least.

...

So, I'd feel more comfortable if half of the funds levied by these taxes could benefit the unsigned, the unheard. Start with public school music programs, which are woefully underfunded as it is, and often fall victim to budget cuts. That's how I started out, a nine-year-old trumpet player in a grade school orchestra. Maybe there could be some sort of indie label lottery, where some band's vanity label gets a $10,000 infusion of funds, maybe even a promotional campaign sponsored by Maxell, Imation, TDK, Sony, or some other producer of blank media ("The stars of tomorrow use our CD-RWs today...").

Idealistic, I know. But why the hell not?


With respect, how about "But I don't copy music (or films or whatever) if I don't have permission to do so" as a reason? There is no palatable way for me.

I'd prefer that they increased the price of prerecorded media; that may push up the rate of "off site backup" creation, but since their business model is seriously broken anyway, it won't make too much difference.

Re:Never liked these, myself... (1)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618006)

Here's a different perspective for you. You say:
But I always saw these blank media taxes (along with early forms of DRM like Copy Code) as an unfair burden on musicians and songwriters who are at that difficult early phase of their career arcs. It may be a small percentage of the cost of media, but in the long run it adds up, and it's money that could be better spent on things like more media, guitar strings, drum sticks, software, hardware, and the all important elixirs: coffee and beer.

Let me re-write that for my viewpoint:

But I always saw these blank media taxes (along with early forms of DRM like Copy Code) as an unfair burden on small businesses and artists who are at that difficult early phase of their career arcs. It may be a small percentage of the cost of media, but in the long run it adds up, and it's money that could be better spent on things like more media, designers, thick-stock paper, software, hardware, and the all important elixirs: coffee and beer.

Not all media is used for aural or video works. Some of it is used for software, or even more mundane things like databases. Our lives are hard, too; we work like dogs, and while you're working like a dog out of your garage sweating blood, love, and music, we're working like dogs in our garages sweating blood, love, and .

We pass out CDs/DVDs with information on our products. These taxes make each and every one of these disks more important, even though they'll never touch audio or video works.

Why is that fair?

Re:Never liked these, myself... (2, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618024)

Note: I don't mean to discourage you. But I do feel that eliminating many of the RIAA shenangians like this type of law, eliminating many of the DRM mechanisms out there, and, in general, eliminating the music "superstar" effect will make the music industry more egalitarian.

Us in the small business world are pretty happy being small fry, generally. Sure, every company wants to grow to GE, but the 4 man business in your garage and coffeeshop general doesn't get there. That doesn't mean you can't have a nice life.

Why doesn't the music industry work like this? Why is the music industry extremely segregated into haves and have-nots? I don't know; but I'm sure you can find the solution somewhere in the mechanations of the haves.

Our three weapons are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617771)

No one expects the Spanish imposition...of a tax!

Taxes for who (1)

popsicle67 (929681) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617772)

THis is supposed to be a tax to pay to copyright holders but no system to identify which ones
and no exemption for blank media that is not used for non-copyright material. Can you say
"THIEVES"? Can you use it in a sentence? "Them Spaniards are nothing but a bunch of damn thieves!!!" Another page in the history of governments screwing every last penny they can out of the public. You can be sure that the same tax will be coming here soon. Imagine your
typical garage band having to pay a royalty to themselves(if indeed any of the tax money is ever paid out)

So.. (1)

Rainwulf (865585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617773)

Does this make it ok to copy stuff now?
If not, then who exactly is the money going to?

To me? Why thank you. (1)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617796)

Seriously though, the assumption that every CD burned is pirated is rather disgusting. Does that mean home movie compilations are officially owned/leased by the recording industry now?

Here this is old news (1)

Core-Dump (148342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617797)

Here in .NL (Netherlands for you non TLD ppl) we have this system for a long time now.
We pay for blank media even if we use it for our own documents, BUT there is one upside, thanks to the EU we can get our media in other country's wich don't have this stupid tax. (yay to Germany)

I noticed ppl saying "They just legalized copyright infringement." this is here partailly true (just as in Spain)
By law it's LEGAL here to have a copy of a music CD/video DVD for own use WITHOUT owning the original, so in plain words we are allowed to download music and movies from the internet for own use.
Downside is, we are not allowed to distribute them, so Bittorrent/Kazaa/etc. are not the best choice because they also require uploading, but downloading from newsgroups are just fine here.

why is the WORLD in the music/movie biz's pocket? (0, Redundant)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617807)

I know (especially in examples like this) that this is NOT a USA phenomenon. other gov's are adopting these measures, probably under duress (money does talk you know) but they're caving in, regardless.

I don't think the entertainment biz is going to get what they expect. people DO feel strongly about their media rights. rebellion is already in the form of piracy. don't you music/movie guys get it? the more you call 'us' criminals, the more 'we' will STRIVE to give you a taste of your own medicine (aka, fight dirty).

now, if you act all friendly and STOP making everyone guilty unless proven innocent, then we can call off the dogs and stop bypassing you entirely (via places like allofmp3.com and others). but blatantly making a money grab on blank media and acting like its 'reparations' - that's just so transparent its not even funny.

but realize you can't have it both way. if you tax someone as an IP pirate, then you have just given EXPRESS PERMISSION to ignore the copyright laws! you forcin' us to do the time but there ain't no crime! so to speak ;)

if you force us to do the time, we WILL do the crime. bank on it.

stop the war on the customer now! ask a fair price for a fair product and you'll find 'we' are reasonable people. shaft us (like you have for the past 30+ yrs) and you'll get NO respect from 'us'.

'nuff said?

Re:why is the WORLD in the music/movie biz's pocke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617912)

"biz" has to be the gayest word in the English language.

Where can I sign up (2, Funny)

omegashenron (942375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617812)

So let me get this straight, all you need to be is a copyright holder and you get free money from the Spanish government? I always thought my preschool performance of Mary Had a Little Lamb was good... SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!

So the spanish can now copy anything they like. (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617814)

Since they've already paid for it through the tax. Obviously.

 

Re:So the spanish can now copy anything they like. (1)

cursorx (954743) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617951)

Except they can't legally circumvent DRM...It's a shame, really. You're screwed from every single point of view if you're not a member of the content industry.

Backups? (1)

crunch_ca (972937) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617815)

given to the "copyright holder."

So does that mean that if I make backups of my data, I can expect to be able to deduct this from my income tax?

Does it mean that I can make copies of copyrighted material as long as I don't sell them for profit? After all, each "copyright holder" is being reimbursed implicitly aren't they?

Business model (3, Informative)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617853)

1. Make a bunch of random crap and file for copyrights
2. ???????
3. Profit!!

I think this is true until further notice. The article was hardly and article, but what it did say did not mention how the money would be apportioned amongst the copyright holders. If I have copyrights on crap no one would buy, do I still get a cut?

Anyway, I've got to head out and make some stuff to copyright in Spain, and set up a bank account there.

Unfortunately, (1)

NeilTheStupidHead (963719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617864)

as much as I dislike paying a tax/fee on the blank media I purchase, I can't see any other way to compensate artists who lose money due to illegal copying. DRM is a joke; no matter the method employed, the recording industry and even the software industry will never be able to stop pirating. As the cops learn how to more effectively combat crime, criminals learn how to better commit it. I'm willing to pay a tax on blank media, and in fact, I might even go so far as to promote it *IF* the money goes to those artists that actually need it as opposed to the multi-millionaire, so called 'successful' artists or into the pockets of record company or RIAA execs. Give the money to struggling artists (within reason, not just joe blow who decides to form a 'band' to collect) regardless of popularity in order to encourage diversity and growth in music.

4 steps to Profit!!! (2, Informative)

CyberVenom (697959) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617869)

1. Publish a Blank CD [cnn.com]
2. Get the government to collect royalties on blank media.
3. ????
4. Profit!

Someone explain this to me (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617884)

So, all the frothing at the mouth about copyright infringement being legalized by this is probably not productive, but a few countries have this now (I remember France and Canada being mentioned), and I just can't see how this sort of thing can be legal.

Can someone come up with a precedent, where the government arbitrarily taxes the revenue of one industry and gives the money to a few corporations in another one, because some small fraction of the products of the former could potentially be used by consumers to infringe on the rights of the latter? How much of a "right" they have to the material is a different question, legally, they technically, currently have those rights (is that enough veiled qualifiers for "raping the artists"?)

I guess I just want our corporate overlords to at least pretend to feel some kind of mild bashfulness about screwing us.

But seriously, if I'm in Spain and I buy some CDRs to back up some data, their music industry will get money for that? What the fuck?

How do I get my cut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617892)

Since it would be impossible for them to track which artists are having how much of their music copied, I assume they're just going to divide it up among the artists. What do I have to do to get a cut? If I just record some music and host it on a Spanish server is that enough? Then I'd be an artist, and someone could be downloading it and recording it to CDs. I want some money, damnit.

turnabout = fair play (2, Insightful)

DynamoJoe (879038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617894)

The Spanish people are now justified in copying whatever the hell they want. If they're being taxed for it, they might as well get to enjoy it.

For those of you who read Spanish... (1)

cursorx (954743) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617911)

Here's the full text of the recent amendments to the Spanish intellectual property law. It's a .pdf [www.boe.es] . Nasty stuff, I tell you...

Monopoly! (1)

nodnarb1978 (725530) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617924)

Sooner or later, the pretense will be dropped, and Rich Uncle Pennybags will arrive in his roadster, with his terrier, to pick up large bags of money by direct income taxation for copyright compensation.

Each citizen will be required to pay either $200/yearly, or 10% of the value of their approved, licensed, DRM'd musical entertainment product.

And for those who fail to comply....

Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200.

Eminent Domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15617935)

Most governments maintain a concept known as eminent domain. Essentially it means that they can take whatever they want from whoever they want in exchange for what the government believes is a reasonable level of compensation.

So technically the copyright holder of all IP in Spain is the Spanish government.

Please Help? (1)

Alchemar (720449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617963)

Hello FRIEND, I am a former recording excutive from Spain. Due to a recent change in our goverment I am unable to obtain the blank CDs from the LARGE wharehouse that my family owns. If you, being a foriegn Citzen would be kind enough to let me ship the CDs to your personal post office box. I would be more than willing to give you 10% of the CDs once they have been recorder. please respond IMMEDIATELY. Timing is of Most importance.

Thank YOu in advance for you help Friend.

Compare to USA.... (1)

massysett (910130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617995)

It's good to see that the USA is not the only country where the "intellectual property" regime has a death grip on the legislature. Canada's got a fee like this too.

Yanno... (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618003)

I would vote for a 'copyright tax' of, say, $0.25/disc, for instance, on one condition: All or most of the money can go directly to RIAA, but they have to STFU and cut DRM. FOREVER.

Blah-blah-blah who cares. (1)

rumcho (921428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618028)

When they tell me they'll put copyright tax on my hard driver or my SD card then I'm going to fight. In 5 years CD's will be obsolete. Then they can charge tax - my ass.

But not in the USA... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618062)

What I find interesting, is that these taxes are popping up in countries with the Leftist (by American standards) governments — Canada, France, Spain. Meanwhile, the supposedly "corporate-owned" Republican-controlled America is holding up...

Yes, even though the blank CDs intended for music recording are taxed here [wikipedia.org] since 1998, the ones for data are not...

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