Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Germany: Levies on Multi-Functional Devices

After computers and printers a German court has now confirmed that levies should also be fully applicable on multi-functional devices, which combine scanning, copying, printing and sometimes faxing functionality. The Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart followed the German Patent and Trademark Office's proposals on the amounts of levies to be applied. This would bring between 38,35 and 306,78 euros for black & white reproductive devices, and a double amount for color reproductive devices, according to Urheberrecht [German].

The exploitation organisation VG Wort sees its demands for remuneration confirmed. It notes that the Court decision has clarified that multi-functional devices have to be treated like copying machines under copyright law and that this also means that users may make copies that fall within the private sphere, having paid a fair remuneration. Branch organisation BITKOM thinks that the amounts for remuneration are excessive, pointing out that for a color multi-functional device of less than 100 euros, at least an additional 76,80 euros would have to be paid. It suggests that it will appeal the decision to Germany's highest court, the Bundesgerichtshof.


Anonymous Karl-Friedrich Lenz said...

I agree with the German court that a copier doesn't cease to be one because it offers scanner functionality as well.

However, the problem seems to be that German law fixes rates for copiers that are not compatible anymore with recent price developments.

Therefore, I think it is a good idea to change the system of deciding the rates for different devices to one of negotiation, as described at www.kopien-brauchen-originale.de.

15/7/05 14:52  
Blogger Rik Lambers said...

A late reaction.... I too agree that extra functionality doesn't relieve a copier from being a copier. However, these are not the "professional" copiers, like in libraries. The copying is an extra functionality, which likely does not represent the main use for consumers/users. Still, VG Word seems to be asking for a "full" remuneration for full functionality (while BITKOM, on the other extreme, just wnated to pay the lowest rate for scanner functionality).

Negotiation would be an improvement, though as far as I know that has been the process till the lawsuit mentioned in this post.

Somewhat ironically, a collective of 20 manufacturers of blanc CDs/DVDs will go to court in Holland over the high rates established by the "Stichting Thuiskopie", and are pointing out that the Dutch rates are not in line with the German rates. (Court date: July 20th).

19/7/05 11:12  

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