Private copying levies 'under constant attack'
VCR’s and Walkmans may have been replaced by MP3 players and smart phones, but the levies traditionally paid to artists from the production of these devices are under attack in Europe, according to a number of creators’ bodies.
A collective of European organisations representing creators expressed their concerns earlier this week, outlining why private copying levies were introduced in the first place, and why they are so important now that copying content has become ‘more prevalent than ever before’.
In their declaration, the Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA), along with 11 other bodies, sent out a reminder that levies were introduced as a compromise; they allow consumers to privately copy content, as long as manufacturers agreed that creators should be remunerated by a levy. This system was an improvement on consumers having to seek out creators on an individual basis for permission of each copy they made, and better than making the copy and not paying the artist.
“It [the levies] enables consumers to use new devices legally while still compensating creators.” The declaration also said: “The companies which market copying devices are systematically attacking the system through European and national courts, lobbying and through the press.”
The fear is that private copying levies, which were recognised at European level in 2001, will diminish if they are constantly undermined by manufacturers and creators will no longer be remunerated for the copying of their work.
Deputy Chief Executive Barbara Hayes commented on the declaration:
“Levies are a small price to pay when considering the money generated by sales of devices. They ensure creators receive recompense for their work. Without the benefit of access to content, the need for devices that are making huge sums for manufacturers would be redundant.”
Read the full declaration and see a list of all the bodies involved.
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