Often lagging behind new technologies, the legislator is, in these times of budget scarcity, quick to find new taxes, especially when justified.

Thus, the graphic tablets – whose release of the Ipad has highlighted the alternative they proposed against the paper book – could be the object, in France, of a tax. No doubt other countries will follow suit. This could be quite legitimate if the publishers and writers, in short, the true creators of this cultural value are directly beneficiaries. Nothing is less sure…

An article by Anne Confolant

Private copy: the iPad and the digital tablets will be well taxed
The Commission responsible for managing the private remuneration system has approved the principle of taxation on the iPad and other digital tablets. But the scales are still unknown.

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The « Copie Privée » Commission  is at the forefront of the news. The members of this committee are responsible for managing the system of remuneration for private copying set up on certain high-tech devices in order to remunerate authors, performers and producers of phonograms or videograms for the reproduction of their works for private use.
It is with this in mind that on 16th April last, as envisaged in the professional newsletter Edition Multimedi @, this Commission Copie Privée has decided to submit digital tablets, like the new Apple iPad, but also the Kindle of Amzon or the Sony Reader – to name only the most known – to this fee for private copying, in a vote of principle, to 12 votes against 9.
The Private Copy Commission, chaired by Raphaël Hadas-Lebel and attached to the Ministry of Culture and Communication, but also to the Ministry of Industry and Consumer Affairs, had already imposed this system of remuneration several months ago for media as diverse as DVDs and CDs, multimedia players, hard drives, USB flash drives, smartphones or digital video recorders.
The studies of uses before forgetting?
The voted work program also stipulates that the Commission Copie Privée is also considering taxing recordable Blu-ray DVDs, video game consoles and multimedia equipment on-board in cars.
But with regard to the submission of digital tablets to the private copying remuneration system, there is a problem: the Commission wants to immediately impose this tax on this type of product without having drawn up a preliminary study which normally better to determine the harm suffered by the holders of copyright and neighboring rights and thus to estimate the amount of the tax as well as possible.
Scales still too opaque
The amount of this fee for private copying ranges from a few euros to a few tens of euros, in particular depending on the media targeted and the « nominal recording capacity of the medium (in bytes, MB or GB) or recording time « . But the amount of this remuneration is rarely known to the general public, since it does not yet appear on the label of the sale price of the support in shop or on the Web.
According to information revealed by Edition Multimedi @, some members of the Commission Copie Privée spoke of the possibility of setting up « provisional scales » before making them final « in the light of the conclusions of the » studies and analyzes « on the actual uses of private copying on new media « .

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