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Spain Adds 'Copyright Tax' to Blank Media 348

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the angry-geeks dept.
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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Spain Adds 'Copyright Tax' to Blank Media

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  • Some light (Score:5, Informative)

    by alx5000 (896642) <alx5000@nOSPam.alx5000.net> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:37PM (#15617628) Homepage

    ... 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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Stripe7 (571267) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:11PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AvitarX (172628) <me AT brandywinehundred DOT org> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:19PM (#15617833) Journal
        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.
        • by Morgaine (4316) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @05:41AM (#15619520)
          Since the SGAE represents *all* copyright holders and collects funds on their behalf, we should expect the FSF (as the copyright holder of vast amounts of GNU software) and Linus (as the primary copyright holder for Linux) to receive a proportion of that income.

          And the SGAE can't easilydodge that responsibility either, because to do so would be to accept that much media gets used for things other than music and videos, and that therefore the tax should not apply to all media.

          Can't have it both ways.
      • Re:Some light (Score:3, Interesting)

        by alx5000 (896642) *
        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 ;)
      • what about if you pay the tax, does that then give you the right copy whatever you want? you've paid the copyright holder for the privilege.
      • Re:Some light (Score:3, Interesting)

        by octal666 (668007)
        The tax is the same per blank media, no matter what use you intend to put them to. This tax was thought in the eighties to protect authors form cassette copies, and it made sense at the moment, it was legal to copy music if you didn't profit from it. Then came the cd writers and copied music had the same quality than the original, and SGAE started to panic. Now with the P2P technologies the situation is plain absurd, our law gives us the right to copy music not only for private use, but for other, provided
    • 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.

    • by acidrain (35064) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:55PM (#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.

      • by idonthack (883680) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:00AM (#15618592)
        And if you don't like the tax, buy harddrives. They are cheap, less likely to fail, and a lot easier to use.

        Can you play hard drives on your TV or in your car? Can you mail them to your grandma or give them to your friends? Can you distribute them at a concert to promote your band, or at a convention to promote your indie game? You could, but it would be stupid and expensive. Recordable disks are very well suited for these purposes and there is no replacement yet.

        • by Redwin (805980)
          Can you play hard drives on your TV or in your car?

          TV out cards, or hard drive based MP3 players with either a converter or a radio tuner to play it out of the car speakers

          Can you mail them to your grandma or give them to your friends?

          You could always post it over the internet to them, flickr etc. Personally I never make a CD of stuff to send to friends and relatives. Why make 15 copies of something if you could just post it somewhere and tell them where to get it?

          Can you distribute them at a concert to pr
  • wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PacketScan (797299) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:37PM (#15617631)
    They just legalized copyright infringement.
    • Re:wow (Score:5, Informative)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:06PM (#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."
      • 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...

        • by Microlith (54737)
          Except that's playing with words.

          They can't nail you for copying a CD, or dumping a recording from one medium to another.

          They can, however, nail you for unauthorized distribution which is what a majority of P2P transfers are.
    • At the very least, they just removed any trace of a moral question about it.
  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:38PM (#15617637) Journal
    ...and misdirect the funds. That's what they do. Does it really matter which scumbag gets the money though? Politicians or "copyright holders".
    • It's a democracy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Colin Smith (2679)
      That means you (the people) deserve everything they give to you...

       
      • Re:It's a democracy (Score:3, Informative)

        by LindseyJ (983603)
        It is not a democracy (especially not in Spain). There is not any country on the planet that subscribes to democracy in a classical - and practical - sense. Most governments that are described as 'democratic' are in fact republicratic; that is, the people elect reprisentatives who then (in a perfect world) carry out the will of the people on their behalf. In actuality, it usually equates to voters being forced to choose between one of several scumbags, none of which have their best interests at heart (unles
    • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:31PM (#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.

      • Yeah, we don't march through streets decapitating people. We DDOS them.
  • does that include (Score:5, Interesting)

    by josepha48 (13953) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:38PM (#15617640) Journal
    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 (Score:2, Informative)

      by alx5000 (896642)
      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.
      • 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...
    • by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:46PM (#15617676) Homepage
      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.
      • by m874t232 (973431) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:36PM (#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.
      • by Talden (96040)
        It's inversely proportional to sales... If you don't sell many copies, it must be pirates. Hell, if you're unable to make it into the charts you must be suffering, here have some tax.

        Alternatively the government could monitor the piracy sites. High rankings there could mean high pay-outs. Of course piracy would quickly become the new form of marketing then.

        Sigh. The world's crazies haven't increased, they just banded together and got elected... I'm not sure what that says about the 'sane' people that el
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:39PM (#15617646) Journal

    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.

    • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:45PM (#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]
      • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:47PM (#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.
        • 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.

          Are you kidding? It's a pre-paid royalty on all my friends CD's I copy. The price for that royalty is much cheaper than i-tunes and doesn't usualy include DRM so I can load it on any portable device.

          I loved the idea when they came out with royalty pre-paid CDR's. It takes a lot of bite out of the RIAA in court. I use Data CDR's for data and Music CDR's for
        • i think even stand alone copiers can use data discs now, since practically no stores carry audio CD-R's anymore
    • 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
    • So what you really meant to say was.. they can have it both ways?
    • Quid Pro Quo? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by chub_mackerel (911522)
      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 pret
      • Re:Quid Pro Quo? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        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.
  • Ripe for abuse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kupekhaize (220804) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:41PM (#15617650) Homepage
    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?
    • This is actually a great way to break an unjust system like this. We've all got defacto copyright on all sorts of silly crap that could theoretically get burned to some disc or other.

      If the number of penny checks they have to send to international copyright holders becomes onerous enough, they'll probably dump the whole thing.

  • Must be nice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crashmarik (635988) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:41PM (#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: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ajehals (947354) <a.halsall@pirateparty.org.uk> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:51PM (#15617702) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • 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
    • I'm surprised Spain didn't have this long ago. My understanding is that a lot of other countries have this sort of levy.
  • Which one? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:52PM (#15617706) Homepage Journal

    'given to the copyright holder.'

    Which one? Bono or Spielberg?

  • by Arthur B. (806360) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:53PM (#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.
    • 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....

      • Yeah it's just like done. There is a last hope to block it but the probability is extremely small... Of course a new government could cancel it but it's not going to happen anytime soon. Anyway people in France don't give a shit about this law, save geeks, they are to busy riotting in the street againt the evil liberalism.
        Yeah I'm French and depressed about our politics.
    • 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.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:55PM (#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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • by linvir (970218) * on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:05PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:05PM (#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?
    • Hey! Don't go giving the U.S. Congress any ideas, buddy.
  • by ktakki (64573) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:06PM (#15617768) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • 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 arti
      • "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 a

    • 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 tha
      • 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
      • Maybe I'm mistaken in this assumption: there are two kinds of blank media, those that are meant for raw data, and those that are meant for audio CDs. That's what I see when I go to the local Staples: data CDs and audio CDs. I also assume that any tax would be levied on audio CDs only.

        I'm assuming that this tax only applies to audio CDs (though I know from personal experience that audio recorded to data CDs works in CD players).

        If this tax also applies to data-grade CDs, then all bets are off.

        Please enligh
  • 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?
  • by omegashenron (942375) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:14PM (#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!!!

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

     
  • Business model (Score:4, Informative)

    by wile_e_wonka (934864) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:22PM (#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.
  • 4 steps to Profit!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by CyberVenom (697959) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:25PM (#15617869)
    1. Publish a Blank CD [cnn.com]
    2. Get the government to collect royalties on blank media.
    3. ????
    4. Profit!
  • 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 consum
  • by DynamoJoe (879038)
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...

  • by spir0 (319821)
    I thought the mafia were Italian, not Spanish...
  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @12:02AM (#15618308) Homepage
    Big Money.

    Mark me as redundant by saying so if you like, but I don't think it can be said enough.

    There are two things wrong with this action:

    1. If the copyright organization (cartel?) can continue with civil and criminal law suits for infringement, then it is clear that this measure is not for the purpose of compensating copyright holders for illegal activity. (Theoretically, I should be able to purchase blank DVD media in Spain and set up a business where I copy copyrighted material and sell it to the public at an attractive price. After all, would I not have already paid for the right to do so by purchasing the media in Spain?)
    2. If there is no way to know which artistic works are to be copied, then how will the money find its way to the artists whose works are being illegally copied? The answer is obvious. The money doesn't go to compensate artists, and if it does, it won't go to the artists affected in correct proportion.

    I hope to see some serious retaliation against the "copyright industry." They have been going too far for too long. They write their own laws, they collect their own taxes, they perform their own criminal investigations and all but convict in their own courts. If ever there was something out of control, this situation defines it.
  • by aaaurgh (455697) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @12:13AM (#15618354)
    So where does this leave small businesses like me, who write software which is distributed to customers on CD/DVD. I either have to absorb this cost or pass it on, yet none of my actions are remotely related to the music industry or copywritten content (other than my own).

    These sort of levies are grossly unfair because they target everyone, irrespective of the relevance.
  • Now I will buy all my blank media in Spain, and copy content as much as I damn please. The copyright tax will take care of the producers. If the RIAA/ES/whoever comes after me, I'll just wave my tax-paid media at them.

    What a bunch of wankers.
  • What TFA doesn't say (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:19AM (#15618662)
    I am also a spaniard (too lazy to register, sorry) and I want to add that there are some things that the TFA doesn't mention:

    The new LPI (Ley de Propiedad Intelectual == Intelectual Property Law) establishes a tax over any device capable of holding media (audio or video), such as CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, videotapes... but also iPods and pendrives. The preliminary draft of the law also included a tax over HDs but this was removed from the final draft due to outcry from computer distributors.

    On the other hand, the old LPI (from 1996) forbade the copy of copyrighted content for redistribution to other people, but didn't mention anything about DRM. There was a legal item called "private copy", meaning that you can do one (and only one) copy of your copyrighted content for private use as a backup. Now, according to the new law, not only is specifically illegal to override any DRM scheme: the law also makes illegal the POSSESSION of any program intended for override DRM, such a DVD ripper, or any hardware intended for overriding other 'electronic countermeasures'.

    Many people say that there is a patent contradiction here, since you are paying for a right that you can't actually use.

    Previously, the rationale behind the tax was this 'private copy'. Now, the rationale is to compensate for the losses that the recording companies have when you copy content from one media to another: for example, since you can copy your old videotape movie to a DVD, you are not buying a DVD for a movie you already have; or you are not going to buy a MP3 for your iPod of a song that you already have on CD-audio.

    And, funny thing, we have been paying the tax long before the new law was approved.
    At least now the tax is a percentage of the value of the blank media; according to the previous "canon" (law) the tax was a fixed amount of money that was about a quarter of the blank media value, but since the prices went down and the tax didn't, today the final price of a DVD is 60% tax.
    Also, some people say that since the tax has been extended to CD-DVD burners, you end paying the tax twice-on the media and on the recorder.

    And no, you can't get a refund if you use your CDs to burn non-copyrighted content. For example, the ministry of justice is paying tons of money to the SGAE (think of a fusion RIAA+MPAA+AAP) because a copy of all the judicial proceedings on every court have to be stored in 'electronic form' (CD-r).

    The SGAE, the law's main supporter, says that the final draft is not enough since doesn't include taxes over internet connections, HDs , and "any other format capable of holding or transferring copyrighted content"

    As a side note, one of the SGAE top execs, who also happened to be an artist years ago, had to run out of a rock festival recently because the public was throwing stones at him; this story was mentioned on all news sources in spain, but all of them falied to mention the ultimate reason for the people's hate towards the exec.
  • by riflemann (190895) <riflemann&bb,cactii,net> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @03:53AM (#15619238)
    If I buy blanks to archive data to which I own the copyright (eg photos, home videos, etc)...

    can I claim a tax deduction?
  • by rdean400 (322321) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @05:16AM (#15619467)
    They need to tax paper, because that's used in photocopiers.
    They need to tax food, because that's used in copyrighted recipes.
    They need to tax scanners and digital cameras, because they can be used to capture images of copyrighted works.
    They need to tax chairs, because the person doing the copying of copyrighted works usually sits in one.
    They need to tax wood, because that's used in furniture upon which the equipment used to copy copyrighted works usually sits.
    They need to tax magnets, because they can be used in speakers that a person can use to listen to copyrighted works.
    They need to tax monitors, because they can be used to view.

  • by rapiddescent (572442) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @06:19AM (#15619589)
    Since EU citizens may purchase goods (for personal use) from other EU states freely without incurring local taxes then spanish citizens should simply purchase their blank DVDs and CDs from other EU member states that do not have such a tax. I'm sure some enterprising slashdotter will setup a spanish language blank-media-sale website based in the UK.

    The EU has been extremely vigilant to ensure that free trade can continue over the borders - even where local taxes are being compromised. USAians: It's like buying your stuff in a state with lower sales tax.

    the EU has open borders. so use them!

  • Fine.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pentavirate (867026) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @03:54PM (#15623499) Homepage Journal
    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.
    Fine, then you can't hassle me when I copy media. If I copy a CD to a taxed blank then my obligation to the content provider has been satisfied. You can't have it both ways.

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