03 Sep 2019

Joint call on the European Commission to urgently address copyright levies as part of its new mandate


We, the undersigned associations, represent companies that provide thousands of products and services and jobs across the European Union. With the change of political leadership in Brussels, we call on the European Commission to put copyright levies back on the agenda and address the still existing barriers to a well and properly functioning Digital Single Market.

With the adoption of the Copyright reform, the issue remains one of the last outstanding items inEurope’s legal framework that urgently needs to be addressed. The current system of applying levies to hardware to compensate for private copying continues to cause considerable legal uncertainty, market distortions and plague the free movement of goods and services in the internal market of the EU. This has been universally recognized; the Member States1, European Parliament2 and the European Commission3 itself have on repeated occasions identified the issue and called for EU intervention. National levy systems are fragmenting the EU market and increasing the cost of technology for European consumers.

We urge the European Commission, under its new mandate, to make private copying levies a key priority of their agenda for the next five years and to initiate a broader policy debate for a long-term, more transparent and fairer solution, taking into account market led licensing solutions that have increasingly replaced private copying.

There is undisputable evidence that private copying is playing an increasingly insignificant role intoday’s digital world. New technologies and distribution models have given rightsholders more control over the exploitation of their works and new remuneration opportunities, which has fundamentally changed the business models. We fully support the right for authors and artists to be fairly compensated for the use and exploitation of their creative works. However, the device- based levy system, which is the legacy of a by-gone analogue era, has turned into an ineffective means of achieving this objective. It is, in fact, ill-suited to modern multi-use devices and no longer reflects how copyright protected content is distributed and consumed.

Now is the time. We need strong and ambitious political will to review the existing private copying compensation and remove the remaining obstacles to the EU internal market. The EU should aspire to bring more transparency and fairness to copyright compensation scheme.

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