Government: private copying levies to be lowered

Private copying levies will be lowered by 30% with effect from 1 January 2015. This means a levy of EUR 3.50 on desktop PCs, notebooks, smartphones, telephones with MP3 players, tablets, HDD recorders and set-top boxes with a hard drive. A levy of EUR 1.40 will be imposed for portable audio/video players. An amount of EUR 0.70 will be levied for external HDD drives and e-readers. The lowest rate of EUR 0.02 will apply when purchasing a CD-ROM or DVD.

This is stated in an Order in Council to which the cabinet agreed on the recommendation of State Secretary Teeven (Security and Justice). Earlier this year, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that making a private copy of works protected by copyright and related rights from unlawful sources is forbidden and not subject to levies either.

State Secretary Teeven asked the Private Copying Levy Agency (Stichting onderhandelingen thuiskopievergoeding, SONT) to state which private copying levies are appropriate after the judgement of the Court of Justice. The SONT recently issued recommendations based on which the new private copying levies were determined.

The private copying levies were introduced to compensate for the loss incurred by entitled parties as a consequence of copies being made of protected works such as music, books and films, for own study or use. The Home Copy Association (Stichting de Thuiskopie) collects and distributes these copyright fees for and to the copyright owners through distribution agencies.

The cabinet agreed to the Order in Council being sent to the Council of State for an urgent opinion. The text of the new regulations, the opinion of the Council of State, as well as the SONT's recommendations will be made public when the Order in Council is published in the Bulletin of Acts and Decrees.