updated 04:15 pm EDT, Fri October 6, 2006
Dutch iPod levy looms
Electronics manufacturers rallied against a European tax on recordable media, even as a proposed Dutch tax threatens to raise the cost of portable music players -- such as Apple's iPod -- to compensate artists for private copying. Executives from Nokia and Philips Electronics said that the tax is out of date and that consumers are already paying for digital content twice, once as they purchase tracks legally via the internet and once for recordable media to store those tracks, according to Reuters. Those electronics manufacturers also said they are still at odds with the entertainment industry, and that the chairman of their joint industry group SONT is prepared to set levies for new devices. The new levy would raise the price of Apple's iPod by about $32, according to the report.
"This will lead to double or triple taxation," said electronic industry attorney dirk Visser. "Soon, a consumer will pay rights to the artists when he buys on iTunes, then again when he buys a blank disc and undoubtedly it will be extended to mobile phones which can also store music."
A Dutch entertainment industry representative said no decision has been made to implement new levies for devices such as iPods. "The chairman has to execute the law, but whether the levy will be one or 100 euros still needs to be discussed," said Paul Solleveld of the Dutch entertainment industry organization NVPI.
Distribution of the funds collected in the Netherlands among artists has led to major delays and complaints, however. An investigation ordered by the Justice Ministry criticized the system in a 2005 December report. The levy, which was enacted in the 1960s to compensate performers for private copying of copyrighted music, is said to be "antiquated" by electronics industry executives.
The European Commission is scheduled to publish its views by the end of the year, but could encounter resistance to change from individual states. One third of the funds raised currently go to government coffers to promote cultural activities, according to Reuters.