Downloading Movies and Music Stays Legal in The Netherlands

LazyLion

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One third of the Dutch population downloads “pirated” music, movies and games from the Internet, and for a while the government has been wondering what to do about it. In recent weeks a “download ban” was put on the political agenda, but the House of Representatives struck down this plan yesterday. Downloading remains legal, and in exchange rightsholders will be compensated through a private copying tax on various media storage devices.

As in many other countries around the world, downloading music and movies is hugely popular in the Netherlands.

Recent surveys estimate that 30% of the population downloads copyrighted music and video files without paying for them, which is currently legal under Dutch law.

However, since last year there have been discussions on making the activity unlawful.

This fall State Secretary for Security and Justice Fred Teeven reintroduced a download ban, but this plan has now been struck down by the House of Representatives. Several political parties decided that a download ban is not the right approach to tackle the “piracy” problem.

Yesterday the majority of the house accepted a motion that would take the plan off the table, and further ensured that the right to make copies for personal use should not be restricted.

“Luckily the House of Representatives clearly chooses to establish the much-needed modernization of copyright law within the limits of Internet freedom,” says Kees Verhoeven, the House member who drafted the motion.

“We need to strive towards increasing the legal availability, through new online business models. A download ban doesn’t really solve the problem of unpaid downloads but is guaranteed to lead to other problems such as the restriction of privacy of individual users,” Verhoeven adds.

The vote means that downloading movies and music for personal use remains legal. However, the entertainment industry isn’t being left out in the cold. Presently, copyright holders in the Netherlands are compensated through a “piracy tax” on blank media such as CDR media and writable DVDs.

In October it was decided that this piracy tax will be extended to a variety of other media storage devices such as tablets, smartphones, USB-drives, PCs and Laptops. The money that’s collected, up to 5 euro per device, will be distributed to copyright holders.

The piracy tax, however, is not without controversy. Hardware makers Acer, HP and Dell have sued the Dutch Government claiming that they could lose millions of Euros in revenue due to the artificial price increase.

“The excessively high tax for the film and music industry is not in proportion with the economic damage caused to the rightsholders,” they say.

For Dutch downloaders, however, everything will stay the same. Movies and music can be downloaded for free without running into legal trouble, as long as the files are not shared with others.

Not a completely ideal situation for all concerned, but a more sensible one than most countries if you ask me.
Until the Media Distribution companies learn how to use the Internet, it will remain.
 

mercurial

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AfricanTech

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Meh! Started typing a long response about thus being a catalyst for a shift in thinking and that the content providers could stop worrying about the potential revenue loss (since they will be receiving compensation) and instead

Turn their efforts to competition with pirates (yes, shock, horror - setup their own torrent download sites where the content is good quality yet still free) and then monetise via value add) - maybe piracy will go away.

Then I thought, nah!


PS - didn't we use to pay a similar tax on cassette tapes back in the day?
 

Space_Chief

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Meh! Started typing a long response about thus being a catalyst for a shift in thinking and that the content providers could stop worrying about the potential revenue loss (since they will be receiving compensation) and instead

I don't think the content providers will be happy with the download tax on media and so on. So I don't think this will be a paradigm change for them. Neither is it a new thing, I think Canada and/or Australia already tax blank discs already for a number of years.

Turn their efforts to competition with pirates (yes, shock, horror - setup their own torrent download sites where the content is good quality yet still free) and then monetise via value add) - maybe piracy will go away.

Then I thought, nah!


PS - didn't we use to pay a similar tax on cassette tapes back in the day?

Piracy will never go away but convenience factor will help reduce it. As the economy slows down more young people are jobless and with less disposable income. Advertising revenues will also dry up. Of course that doesn't mean these people would have purchased all the stuff they downloaded, but probably some of it may have been purchased or watched in cinema. When every buck counts, FREE is irresistible.

However, I don't think it's fair or just to have everyone pay because some download. Also why should government tax be used to support some industries? Why not all industries? Why should ACER take a cut in their profits because people download stuff illegally? Is ACER promoting downloading of movies and music?
 

Sl8er

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I don't think the content providers will be happy with the download tax on media and so on. So I don't think this will be a paradigm change for them. Neither is it a new thing, I think Canada and/or Australia already tax blank discs already for a number of years.



Piracy will never go away but convenience factor will help reduce it. As the economy slows down more young people are jobless and with less disposable income. Advertising revenues will also dry up. Of course that doesn't mean these people would have purchased all the stuff they downloaded, but probably some of it may have been purchased or watched in cinema. When every buck counts, FREE is irresistible.

However, I don't think it's fair or just to have everyone pay because some download. Also why should government tax be used to support some industries? Why not all industries? Why should ACER take a cut in their profits because people download stuff illegally? Is ACER promoting downloading of movies and music?

Unless you're living in the Netherlands, you really have nothing to worry about :D
 

Space_Chief

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Unless you're living in the Netherlands, you really have nothing to worry about :D

I'm not saying I'm worried. I'm using rhetorical speech. (Obviously it's NOT YOU Sl8er, who is the downloader, etc.)

Why should people who DON'T download, pay for people who do?

Do you think it's FAIR?
 
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