Business Software Alliance lobbies against copyright levies

By EDRi · October 20, 2005

The Business Software Alliance has issued a report on the growing online
music market. According to the BSA, in western Europe alone it is expected
to grow more than 500% by 2008 to 559.1 million euro, from 106.4 million
euro this year. The BSA states most of this content is protected by
digital rights management, thus making the current levies on recordable
media superfluous.

Quoting a report from the powerful German industry association Bitkom
about the fact most Germans pay around 150 euro per year on levies on
recordable media such as CDs and tapes, BSA calls on all national
governments in the EU to phase out the levy system.

The UK, Ireland and Luxembourg do not have a levy system, but in other
countries the levies are continuously rising. A previous BSA study
forecasted a 500% rise in private copy levies from 2002 to 2006 in France,
Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy.

“With DRM technology’s expanding role in the market, levies have become a
superfluous double tax on consumers,” Francisco Mingorance, director of
public policy in Europe for the BSA, says in the press release. “Levies
were designed to compensate for unpoliceable private copying. But with
DRM, the rationale for levies disappears.”

Civil rights activists arguing against the ever-expanding scope of
copyright levies might not use the same arguments. Digital rights
management brings many serious challenges to privacy and to the right of
access to information. In the worst scenario, DRM will allow the
entertainment industry total and minute control over every second of music
or film we listen or view, on what device and where.

BSA press release (13.10.2005)