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Spain Adds 'Copyright Tax' to Blank Media 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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Spain Adds 'Copyright Tax' to Blank Media

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  • Some light (Score:5, Informative)

    by alx5000 (896642) <alx5000NO@SPAMalx5000.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:does that include (Score:2, Informative)

    by alx5000 (896642) <alx5000NO@SPAMalx5000.net> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:40PM (#15617647) Homepage
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

    by LindseyJ (983603) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @11:36PM (#15618186)
    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 (unless those voters are also the CEOs of major corporations).

    Sorry about the offtopic, but people using this line of logic annoy me. Also, forgive the probably horrible spelling and grammar here :P
  • by Vomibra (930404) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @12:31AM (#15618448)
    The concept is called rent seeking [wikipedia.org].
  • 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 werewolf1031 (869837) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:50AM (#15618804)
    Disclaimer: I am by no means a Bush apologist -- quite the opposite. However I do believe in at least attempting to get facts straight whenever possible and avoid purely emotional outbursts on these matters, which don't help matters any when attempting to bring real accusations to bear.

    GWB is all pissed off about these dictators that his g*damned daddy helped put into power as head of the CIA. That won't be on Fox news later, but it's still true.
    G.H.W. Bush did not "put [those dictators] into power". In fact, he was only Director of the CIA for just under a year, and that short appointment was mostly to conduct damage control for the Agency's reputation in the wake scandelous revelations about the CIA -- a term which was too brief to enact the sweeping changes in power among other nations which you claim he made. (source [wikipedia.org]) It is not necessary to bring false accusations against guilty men; that is both redundent, and stooping to their level.

    Both Bushes are guilty of many things, but let's make sure to accuse them of what they actually did. Like, the USAPatriot Act, the enhanced powers of U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on citizens with no reasonable probable cause, strong-arming other nations to enact mirror versions of U.S. copyright and IP laws, ad infinitum.
  • Re:Some light (Score:2, Informative)

    by Aloriel (934343) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @04:15AM (#15619304) Homepage Journal
    Probably yes, if you're associated with SGAE and your music/movies are popular enough, if not I guess that you won't see a cent.
  • by jthulin (766465) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @06:42AM (#15619652)
    try this webstore if your media levies are too expensive (and you live in the right country):
    www.wesellcd.com
    Their prices are about half of those in the cheapest local computer stores in Sweden (residents of other countries: Your savings may vary.), shipping costs not included. Hint: co-order with your friends and split the shipping costs if you find them steep.

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