New copying tax on electronic devices next year
Starting on January 1, 2013, the Dutch government will impose a new "home copying" tax of up to 5 euros on the purchase of electronic devices and media commonly used to illegally copy films and music, such as laptops, smartphones, and writable DVDs, as just announced by the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice.
The new tax is intended to compensate for loss of income to the music and film industries. According to European rules, authors are entitled to reasonable compensation for losses that occur because a Member State allows private copying.
Under Dutch law, downloading copyright-protected content from an illegal source is not expressly forbidden, although sharing pirated content is.
Although a home copying tax already exists in the Netherlands, the list of devices subject to this tax has been frozen since 2008, making it impossible to add new devices to the list.
The Dutch cabinet planned to introduce a new system that is better adapted to technological developments starting in January 2013, but this plan was rejected by the Lower House of Parliament.
In order to remain in compliance with EU rules regarding reasonable compensation, the cabinet has instead temporarily added new devices to the list for a period of one year, pending the development of a new set of rules.
The amount of the tax will depend on the storage capacity. According to the transcript of the new rules, the prices are as follows (in euros):
› CD-R or DVD: 0,03
› External HDD Drive: 1
› Audio or Video Player: 1 (≤ 2 GB)
› Audio or Video Player: 2,50 (> 2 GB)
› HDD Recorder or Set Top Box: 2,50 (≤ 160 GB) › HDD Recorder or Set Top Box: 5 (> 160 GB)
› Smartphone or Telephone with MP3 player: 2,50 (<16 GB)
› Smartphone or Telephone with MP3 player: 5 (<16 GB)
› Tablet: 2,50 (≤ 8 GB)
› Tablet: 5 (> 8 GB)
› PC or Laptop: 5
On the other hand, analogue audio and video cassettes and MiniDiscs will no longer be subject to this tax, because they are hardly used anymore. Furthermore, memory cards, USB sticks, gaming consoles with a hard drive, and e-readers will not be subject to the tax because they are rarely used for home copying.
The new taxes are based on a recommendation from the Private Copying Levy Agency (SONT, Stichting Onderhandelingen Nationale Thuiskopievergoeding), a consultative body comprised of representatives of producers and distributors as well as consumers.