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CE manufacturers upset about EU's music "double levy"

December 18, 2006

The consumer electronics industry is all up in arms over what appears to be stalled efforts on the part of th European Commission to reform music-related copyright fees.

The fees in question are collected on blank discs, data storage and music players. The levies, which are charged in 19 of 25 European Union nations and adds two Euros (about $2.65 to the cost of a new iPod are intended to compensate musicians for legal copying of songs from one device (a PC, say) to another (a mobile player used in the car).

Manufacturers are not big fans of the tax. They claim that the multi-platform nature of this fee structure makes it essentially a double levy.

An example of a double-dip charge might be a levy against blank tape- to be used on devices for which consumers have already paid the fee, or already have paid the fee for a legal download of music to be burned on that blank tape for transfer.

Representing CE manufacturers, the Copyright Levies Reform Alliance is calling these fees unfair.

The matter was scheduled to come up for a vote at an EC meeting last week, but was tabled for what the EC called "more reflection."

No follow-up date has yet been indicated.

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