Friday, September 19, 2014

Portugal about to apply copyright levies on all digital storage

Forgive me for bringing you something that is only relevant for people in Portugal, but the thing is so absurdly ridiculous that I can't help sharing it with you. Times are tough for everyone, and here in Portugal music sales have been dropping a lot over the last few years - also due to the fact that no one wants to buy CDs anymore, opting to buy music on iTunes or using streaming services like Spotify.

But more than the artists complaining, their so called "representatives" are in panic, as their cut (from royalties) is also shrinking - and this lead to the point where we stand: where any portuguese buying any kind of electronic device with any kind of memory, will have to pay an extra tax that will go these "artist associations".

Yep, you're reading it right: whether you buy a smartphone where you'll never store music, a external hard drive where you'll store your family photos and videos, or even a memory card for your digital camera, you'll be paying a tax that will revert for portuguese artists!

Don't get me wrong, I'm all in for the support of authors and artists (and have thousands of CDs and DVDs to prove it). But this is completely unfair.

More so, this tax won't actually make it to the portuguese author's pockets. The money will go to a "association", which will take a nice big cut out of it - then pass a part to another association, that will also take a big cut, and only then a small part will be allocated to the artists, proportionally to their sales (this means a dozen or so might see a reasonable amount, but the vast  majority of the 25000 or so registered artists will most likely see something like... 1 cent of royalties!) To show the kind of people we're talking about, it's the same association that, when this tax was first proposed, falsified author's signatures as being in support of this tax! Yep, this had been tried before and failed, so what did they do this time? They made all the preparations "silently", discussing matters during the holidays when no one was around to actually bash some sense into them.

To also show how this tax is completely disproportionate, it's estimated that the tax alone will represent something like 3 to 4 times as much money as the music industry makes on actual sales. Meaning... why should any artist even want to produce any new works... as they can just sit idly by and still make more money than ever, with every hard drive, printer, memory card, smartphone, tablet, and so many other devices, that are sold?

In the UK, there were talks about this sort of tax, but they quickly realized that it would be unfair and that the "people wouldn't stand for that". In here, the thing is about to be approved (today)... Sad, but true.

1 comment:

  1. Exist in France for ages, and was applied to digital media as soon as in 2001 (CD/DVD) , 2006 (for Hard Drives and USB sticks) , and 2011 (for Smartphones, tablets or GPS(!) )...

    Does it legalize use of copied music/movies on digital media ? No.
    And (real?) artists are the last ones to see real money.


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