A major blow to device manufacturers and importers who just don’t want to be involved in the compensation of creators.
Private copying seems to be taking up quite a bit of the European Court of Justice’s time just lately.
July 11th saw the court issue another judgement in the field (just two weeks after publishing the Judgement in VG Wort case), this time dealing with an Austrian case. The response was unequivocal –it can be presumed that recording media are being used for private uses and that private copying compensation can be used to support cultural and creative institutions set up to benefit rightholders. The strategy of the device manufacturers to discredit the system and break it down through country by country attacks is failing. Each decision has confirmed the validity of the private copying mechanism and underlined the need for rightholders to be compensated for their inability to authorise reproductions. Make no mistake – these are both massive victories for Europe’s rightholders. The European Parliament will start work on a report on the issue in September. Let’s hope they put their support behind Europe’s creators and consumers and back a system that provides freedom to copy for consumers while compensating creators. Spare a thought for Austrian creators after last week’s case. This case concerns monies that should have been paid between 2002-04 – ten years ago! Despite the positive outcomes in support of private copying compensation, these extremely lengthy court cases are undermining the system and withholding money from rightholders.