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Eurpean iTMS delayed by DRM vs. taxation debate

updated 03:10 am EDT, Mon April 19, 2004

iTMS: DRM vs. taxation

The European version Apple's iTunes Music Store has been delayed while Europe decides if it wants to go for : "negotiations with national royalty agencies are taking longer than expected, said the London-based European Digital Media Association, which represents companies that offer music online," according to The International Herald Tribune: "These national royalty collections agencies have long levied a copyright fee on old-style technology recording devices [and] want to catch up by extending the levy to new digital devices like MP3 players and personal computers, even though in some cases consumers are already paying a fee through DRM devices."

by MacNN Staff





  1. z10n

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm sorry

    but the EU is totally lame for taxing a product just because you can use it to do something illegal with it. DRM is annoying, but at least if it's done right it's not terribly intrusive. It's just that little bit that makes it difficult for the hardcore piraters to do their work. But tax every item? That gets back to exactly what the RIAA/MPAA is trying to do: kill off piracy. Guess what? Piracy is never going to be killed. You can only make it more convient to do the thing legally, by imposing methods which make pirating things more annoying for the average person (i.e., DRM)

    This tax is nothing more then an excuse to rip off consumers. It does nothing to prevent piracy. Rather, it makes the EU look backward because they are keeping less of their population from using new technlogy.

  1. z10n

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ugh- don't read that

    Damn, that was a poorly written post. Here's a better one:

    I'm sorry, but the EU is totally lame for trying to tax people just because a product can be used to do something illegal. DRM might be annoying, but at least if it's done right, it's not terribly intrusive. So long as you're not trying to do mass-copying (which most of the time you have no reason to do).

    At least DRM is directed at solving the problem- making it difficult for piraters while leaving the rest of us law biding people alone. But imposing a tax, however, is more like trying to kill piracy by discouraging people from using devices which supposedly support piracy.

    I don't see how that's going to do anything. First of all, it makes the EU look backward because less of their population will be using modern technlogy. Second, just because something can be used to do something illegal doesn't mean it will be. There is no direct connection between buying an MP3 player and pirating. (Whereas DRM correctly identifies the problem as sharing files, not a hardware issue.) Third, suppose I buy a device- why should part of my money go to something I haven't bought yet (music)? For someone staying legal, this is like me paying for music I haven't even bought, before I decide to buy it, and I don't even get anything out of it! And finally, once you DO obtain your MP3 player, there's no longer any restrictions. Without DRM, you're basically getting a free licence to pirate. Maybe you have less people pirating overall. But that's unlikely- people can pirate just as much as they want on their computers. So long as they don't buy a taxible device, they're never even affected.

    Based on all that, DRM is the FAR superior of the two choices. Emposing a tax just creates a chilling effect on people whereby they will have to stop and think if the cost of embracing a new technology is worth the price imposed. That is NOT the kind of message you want to send to your people. Technological innovation should be encouraged, not taxed into oblivion just because someone might use it wrongly.

  1. FireWire

    Joined: Dec 1969


    DRM AND tax :P

    Don't worry, the government will soon find that these two propositions are not mutually exclusive, and will happily charge you both a tax on hardware, and a fee for your songs, like they do here in Canada...

  1. Clive

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The EU didn't decide to do anything yet. Some countries have a levy (ie France), others don't (ie the UK). And France isn't the only country to do this, nor Europe the only continent it happens on - Canada has a similar levy too.

    Personally, I think I'd vote for the levy if it meant easier movement of tracks - not that I'm in favour of unlicenced copying, but the easier it is for the consumer to use the music the more they will buy (if they are buying it in the first place)

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