Private copy levy or piracy levy?

French government asked the Conseil d’Etat to review the calculation rules of the levy for private copy. Currently, the government levies a tax on every non volatile storage units. This tax is a levy for private copy. It applies to recordable CD, recordable DVD, hard disks, USB flash memory, memory cards, … Its value is defined by the Commission d’Albis. As an example, the tax for iPhone would be of 7€ (i.e. about $10). The tax is redistributed to rights owners.

In January, three associations of consumers complained to this authority about this levy. The controversy is that the levy takes into account the estimated level of piracy. A recent survey claimed that 40% of the content store on recordable media where coming from P2P. If the levy takes into account piracy, then it covers both private copy (of a legally acquired content) and illegal copy (of P2P downloaded content). Thus, P2P download should not be anymore illegal because integrated in the tax. Meanwhile, the representatives of the consumer electronics boycotted the commission d’Albis for mainly the same arguments.

Thus, they require either to make P2P download legal or reduce the levy. The answer of the wise men will be extremely interesting.

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