In Germany, You Pay Extra To Appease The Rights-Holders - gHacks Tech News

In Germany, You Pay Extra To Appease The Rights-Holders

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:

  • Smartphones without touchscreen - 12 Euro extra
  • Smartphones with touchscreen and memory < 8 GB - 16 Euro extra
  • Smartphones with touchscreen and memory > 8 GB - 36 Euro extra

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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  1. Roebie said on May 25, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Germany is not the only country with such a fee. In Belgium we have to pay that fee too. It’s called Auvibel. You can find the Belgian fees here (in German) or (in English). Of course these fees are completely ridicoulous. But I guess that’s the result of having governments without common sense.

    1. FighttheChristianTaliban said on May 25, 2012 at 9:21 am

      It is caused by corporations owning our governments.

      1. JohnMWhite said on May 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm

        Sadly, it is as simple as that. There’s no other reason these laws exist, and we know the artists aren’t actually seeing any of this revenue anyway. It’s simply a legislated revenue stream. So much for the free market.

  2. Maurizio said on May 25, 2012 at 9:05 am

    The same happens in Italy too … then maybe it’s a sort of disease that’s spreading all along Europe. :-(

  3. Wen said on May 25, 2012 at 10:44 am

    it’s the same thing in France

  4. Bernard said on May 25, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Same in France ;-((((((((((((((((((((((((

    In continental Europe, only Luxembourg ignores this tax. And DVD & co are 3 to 4x cheaper vs french prices (1 euro tax for 4,7 DVD, 0,35 euro for a 700MB CD)

    And the so-called ‘taxe copie privée’ is more and more expensive each year.
    Concerns CD/DVD, external HDDs, Usb keys, SD cards (yes, for photos !!!), ipod &other tablets, and even GPS with can read mp3s !

    And even professionals usage (for radiologic usage, etc …) have to pay it, and ask for a reimburse, with a enormous lot of documents. Many professionals never ask, because lot of annoyances.

  5. ilev said on May 25, 2012 at 11:09 am

    The same in Canada.

  6. Yoav said on May 25, 2012 at 11:20 am

    If you are paying so many taxes directly into the pockets of the collecting societies, why are they making such a big deal about sharing – as in setting up the HADOPI mechanism, trying to block sharing sites and so on?

    1. ACow said on May 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      Because if they can go after even more money, why wouldn’t they?

  7. Anon said on May 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    It also happened in Spain years ago, and nobody ever made news of it outside Spain itself.
    The “digital canon” was also more expensive in practice. And after our SOPA-like forced law, the prices did not go down.

  8. Kenoodle said on May 25, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    And I thought “America, Inc.” was the only country where its citizens are a sustainable crop.

  9. Lin said on May 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Same stupidity in Sweden. I think the fee only used to apply to CD/DVD/Cassettes , but they added HDDs and similar things last year. Funny thing is that the fee was only added to *external* HDDs, not *internal*. Electronics companies countered by selling packages containing internal hard drive (no fee) and external hard drive casing for own deployment :)

  10. Anonymous said on May 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    This is insane!!

    In many countries have “separation between church and state” which was in response to 400 years of Vatican tyranny, aka “The Dark Ages”

    Looks like we need “separation between corporation and state” to prevent another tyrannical force. Hopefully it won’t be as bloody as the Protestant revolution.

  11. Anthony said on May 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    There is something like that in Russia. It is something like 1 or 2% of device price and is paid for devices like DVD-recorders (not sure about flash drives). The worst thing is that actual creators of content get nothing from that.

  12. Ola Andersson said on May 26, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    The same in Sweden

  13. BSOD said on May 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    The same in Latvia

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