When you buy blank media, hard drives, printers, or USB drives in Germany, you not only pay for the device or item, but also an extra fee that goes right into the pocket of rights-holders, represented by a collecting society. Even if you do not plan on reproducing anything, for instance by using the storage for your backups, you still pay extra. This is similar to not owning a TV, but still having to pay for it which all Germans will have to do come 2013.
In Germany, you have the right to make a private copy of media that you have bought, provided that you do not circumvent copy protection. And it is this right, that led to the extra payments. I have already mentioned that you pay extra even if you do not copy at all. But even if you want to copy, you may not be able to do so, as you are not allowed to make a private copy if the media is copy protected. This again means that you pay for a right that you may not be able to take advantage of.
Yesterday news broke that two collecting societies have announced plans to increase the fees Germans pay when they buy USB flash drives. From 0,10 Euro for each flash drive sold to a maximum of 1.56€ per device, and for memory cards to a maximum of 1.95€ per card. Remember, that is paid on top of the actual price of the drive. Cheap flash drives start at about 6 Euro, which would mean that you would have to pay about a third of the device's price on top of it.
If you thought this was crazy, then wait until you see the following figures:
There seem to be fees on everything that you can store data on (yes paper included). Many Germans cope with the situation by making their purchases in neighboring countries where people do not have to pay these extras.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.