Argentina to assume everyone is a pirate?

These past few days there has been quite a buzz about a law being discussed to add a tax to all “writable media” (such as CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, flash drives, etc) in order to create a fund to “compensate” and “incentive” artists.

Of course, leaving aside that the funds would be distributed in a very greedy and unhelpful way, it would also assume that anyone who buys a recordable CD is actually going to pirate music/video in some way.

By now I assume you can see how this is wrong on so many levels. I would actually have to pay a tax to record a CD with Ubuntu, or a personal backup, or even just use it as a coaster.

I can’t stress enough how absolutely stupid something like this would be, this has already been implemented in Spain and has failed miserably.

A blog has been setup to follow up on the issue, and there is a copy of the proposed law available too (both in Spanish).

21 thoughts on “Argentina to assume everyone is a pirate?

  1. This has existed in Canada for quite some time now. It is called a Copyright “Levy”. The word levy is used because the money isn’t being collected by the government, it is instead being collected directly by a specific group.

    http://neil.eton.ca/copylevy.shtml

    The above website explains it very well. We’ve lived with it here, and no one even really notices it’s there. I think it’s something like 21 CAD cents per disc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_copying_levy#Canada

    There’s a wikipedia article too. Apparently, because this levy is in place, we are in turn allowed to burn songs onto the CDs we buy, and use them for personal use, legally. At some point we had an MP3 player levy, but I guess that’s been abolished since 2004. Although they keep trying to bring it back.

    The wikipedia article says we have some form of distribution that gets the money to the artists that would be most likely to be pirated, I would translate this to the record label getting the money, not the artist him/herself. I have no evidence to back up my claim, it’s just a gut feeling.

  2. Sadly, a law like this has been in effect here in Hungary for years and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. 🙁

  3. Es una de las peores cosas que pueden hacer, esperemos que no se vuelva realidad. 🙂

  4. There’s already such law in Croatia. ZAMP (local RIAA) even tried to enforce media (CD, DVD, hard drive, USB stick, basically any device that can store information) resellers to pay retrospective charges (for media that has been sold a year BEFORE the law is made!). Some of the distributors are battling this in court and so far ZAMP couldn’t collect money from them, but nobody knows how it is going to end. Other distributors are paying, and the price of all media has risen because of that levy.

  5. This is also the case in the Netherlands. Of course none of the money being collected by this media tax is being redistributed to any artists. It’s all ending up in the pockets of the organisation collecting the tax.

    I’m in the fortunate position though that if I need CD/DVD media I can just pop across the border to either Belgium or Germany.

    I think at some point the government wanted to tax mp3 players for the same reason but I don’t think anything came of that. I might be wrong though.

  6. Same thing in Iceland. Been like that for a couple of years and the money seems to go to artists according to the tried and tested ‘buddy system’.

  7. And we have the same law in Hungary too. It’s because actually downloading or copying music or movies is legal here (uploading isn’t), if it’s for your own, not for profit etc.

  8. This “tax” was introduced years ago in Italy as well.
    It’s damn crazy I have to pay a tax to “someone” even if I just make a CD/DVD with my backup.

  9. Same in France.
    We have to paid an additional tax on every support now (even a HDD !!!), that get right to the SACEM (organisation that support majors… oups sorry artist (or bullshit on top ten, depend how your musical taste are)).

    Sorry to know that it’s the same now in Argentina 🙁

  10. In the Netherlands we have similar legislation. It constitutes almost 50% of the price of blank maedia. Recently there has been discussion about also adding this tax to mp3 players and harddisks, but luckily that isn’t going to happen.

  11. One of the possible benefits of these laws is that if you pay a tax, then it basically says that you are paying the royalty that would have been paid when you bought a physical copy, a cd. So it sort of ‘allows piracy’ because you pay for it, in advance. Hence, no lawsuits.

  12. It does exist in France. It was expanded to external HDD, USB keyrings and some MP3 readers.
    But if you buy an internal HDD and a box without a HDD, the tax doesn’t apply.

  13. I’s a shame. In the first place they said that paying the tax would grant you the “right of private copy” which would mean that any copy is legal if you don’t sell it, thus making edonkey/bittorrent/any p2p legal.

    Once the copyright management entities (ie. the spanish RIAA equivalent, the SGAE) got their law (with 2000000 signs against it, I mean politicians heard their budgets, not the population), now they are trying to ban the “right of private copy”. It is all very evil.

    Por mi parte, lo único que puedo sugerir a los Argentinos es que miren el dedo y no lo que señala. Cuando una propuesta como esa se convierte en ley, los máximos responsables son los políticos que los permiten y afortunadamente a esos se les puede sacar del cargo. Eso y que monten mucho follón. Y por supuesto que no se crean a las sociedades de gestión, en España quieren cobrar impuesto y a la vez perseguir a los melómanos a la americana (si, si, niños pequeños y viejecitas, aqui vienen a cobrar a las galas benéficas y si no pagas a la mafia la policía cancela el evento).

    En Argentina pasará exactamente igual, os cobrarán el canon y luego intentarán poder denunciar a los usuarios del p2p. Quieren leche y chivo.

  14. This is also the case in Finland, and has been for (probably) decades. The “tax” applied originally to C-cassettes, but nowadays includes CDs, DVDs, iPods… pretty much anything at all that could conceivably be used for recording music. The biggest problem I see here is that I don’t see how copying music can be taxed _and_ be illegal at the same time. The mere existance of a such a tax would indicate that copying music is OK.

  15. in a perfect world this would be perfect solution…but in reality this would be like in Canada, where no one knows where’s this money go (and for sure not for the artist)…

  16. As Tony says, Canada has a levy on all recordable media that is supposed to go to artists. It’s a bit of a farce, since the money doesn’t go to the artists as intended, but it has prevented the Canadian RIAA from goin litigation crazy.

    The assumption that “everyone is a criminal” is a little crude, but the upside is pretty strong: filesharing hasn’t been criminalized to the same extent as elsewhere.

    (Please note: I’m not an expert on this issue, but this is the impression I’ve gotten from reading Canadian newspapers and blogs)

    e

  17. Sweden has this also. It’s almost exactly the same as in finland described above.

  18. We have a similar thing here in Hungary and it’s pissing me off — and I bet most of the more serious photographers too: the fee on flash memory is ridiculously high here…

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