Thursday 31 July 2014


UK decides against introducing private copying levies

Source: here
Over at the IPKat, Leo-friend, Eleonora Rosatireports that the UK Government will be introducing further exceptions into its copyright regime, but has decided against a 'levy'. Readers may remember that this blog reported the introduction of private copying levies in Nigeria [Afro Leo is interested to know how this is going and whether it's fulfilling the objective. Evaluation in a year or two?]. It's instructive to note how and why the UK Government finally arrived at its own decision. Below is an excerpt on the private levy point:

"Personal copies for private use do not come with a levy

With regard to this exception, the IP Minister started by saying that "[c]opyright law should not stand in the way of people being able to use and enjoy their own property.

However, compared to private copying in other EU Member States, the forthcoming UK exception for "personal copies for private use" will be narrower.

In particular "it will not allow someone to give or sell a copy they have made to someone else, or share copies from their personal cloud; it will not allow someone to obtain a copy from sources they do not own, such as rented copies, broadcasts or on-demand services; it will not prevent copyright owners from using technology to guard against copyright piracy, such as the copy protection for films found on DVDs and Blu-ray discs; and it will not prevent copyright owners from licensing additional services, such as cloud services which allow shared access to content."

Because of its narrow scope, UK Government decided against the introduction of private copying levies [which, for instance, have been recently at the centre of heated discussions in Italy], also on consideration that British consumers would not tolerate them. 

"They are inefficient, bureaucratic and unfair, and disadvantage people who pay for content", said the Minister, who added that the InfoSoc Directive leaves Member States free not to provide compensation where an exception is likely to cause minimal or no harm, or where appropriate payment has already been made. This view is also supported by UK-based IP profs. In any case, as readers might probably remember, the de minimis rule as per Recital 35 to the Directive is among the issues at stake in the pending Copydan reference [Merpel, who likes drama, says: it would be fun if the Court of Justice had a different opinion from UK Government and IP profs ...]."

Is it a levy, or is it a tax, or both? Try here



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