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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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  • wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PacketScan (797299) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:37PM (#15617631)
    They just legalized copyright infringement.
  • 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".
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@@@gmail...com> 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.

  • 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?
  • 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
  • by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:48PM (#15617685) Homepage
    So what you really meant to say was.. they can have it both ways?
  • 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.
  • by infosec_spaz (968690) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:56PM (#15617723) Homepage
    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!
  • 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?
  • Re:wow (Score:1, Insightful)

    by espinafre (973274) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:13PM (#15617802) Homepage
    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:Some light (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AvitarX (172628) <me@@@brandywinehundred...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.
  • Quid Pro Quo? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chub_mackerel (911522) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:21PM (#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?

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

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:23PM (#15617856)
    That means you (the people) deserve everything they give to you...

     
  • by DynamoJoe (879038) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:29PM (#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.
  • Re:Some light (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:33PM (#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.

  • 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 WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin@amiran . u s> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:55PM (#15618024) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by Talden (96040) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @11:06PM (#15618074)
    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 elected them - never mind they'll all be too taxed to do anything about it soon.
  • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @11:12PM (#15618099)
    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.
  • 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.
  • Re:Unfortunately, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @12:48AM (#15618540) Journal
    why is it the government's job to compensate artists for lossed due to illegal activity?

    i work in a grocery store, do we get compensated every time some asshole runs out the door with a carriage full of meat and seafood? no of course not. does best buy get compensated by the government if someone jacks a trailer full of electronic gear? no.

    what makes the music industry so special?
  • 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 tuomasr (721846) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:16AM (#15618922)

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

    ... or not. Finland has had this tax for quite some time, and just at the start of this year, we got fucked with a new copyright law [www.hs.fi].

    An example of this effects us can be found here [afterdawn.com].

  • Printers? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jackster1 (950994) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @03:36AM (#15619176)
    How are printers blank media? Shouldn't they be taxing the paper?
  • by Redwin (805980) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @04:28AM (#15619332)
    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 promote your band, or at a convention to promote your indie game?

    I have a friend who distributes a lot of his music on myspace so that he can just make an announcement at the end of a gig instead of having to distribute the CD afterwards, its much cheaper for him too, as it is for "promotion" no sale.

  • Re:Some light (Score:3, Insightful)

    by instanto (513362) <<on.enilno> <ta> <htrabat>> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @04:30AM (#15619340) Homepage Journal
    Aint it great.

    "You will get money for your copyrighted works being copied legally.."

    if: You're a member of our group
    and if: You're famous enough
    and if: You've paid your membership fee for the year

  • 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 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.
  • 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!

  • Re:Some light (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mirr0red (595219) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:41AM (#15620029)
    We have had the same mechanism in Italy for a few years now, on any recordable media, tapes, DAT, CDs, DVDs, VHSs, and so on, and the tax applies to both private and business use.

  • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:48AM (#15621036) Homepage Journal

    I've got no kids but I pay for education, I have no car but I pay for roads...

    Why should I be paying just because some selfish people decide to have kids/drive?

    Did you just compare being forced to subsidize a private corporation that produces luxuries with distributing the cost of essential social services like roads and education? Please tell me you're trolling. No way on earth could anyone but a record exec be so socially and morally bankrupt as to suppose the things you describe are somehow on the same planet of relevance as essential civic infrastructure!

  • 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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