Authors’ and performers’ organisations welcome Castex report on Private Copying

Authors’ and performers’ organisations congratulate Legal Affairs committee on forward-looking report that looks at how to sustainably modernise the implementation of the private copying levy system to cater for permanently evolving consumption patterns of copyrighted works and to ensure its efficient functioning within the single market.

The organisations, that represent the interests of screenwriters, directors, composers, journalists, visual art authors, writers, actors and musicians, welcome the balanced report at a time when the European Commission is consulting on copyright.

Mrs Castex’s report includes a number of detailed clarifications on different elements of the virtuous system that provides legal certainty for booming device manufacturers and importers, freedom to copy for consumers and fair compensation for creators.  The report correctly identifies where the implementation of the current system needs to evolve to match modern consumers’ expectations (through updated lists of leviable devices) and the demands of the single market (improved levy setting and cross border declaration systems).

Presented as the European Parliament’s response to private copying “mediator”, Antonio Vitorino’s report from last year, the committee has countered a number of Vitorino’s suggestions. Phasing out the system is completely unrealistic as consumers will still seek a freedom to copy that would be untenable in the absence of the exception.  Shifting the levy payments to retailers has also been demonstrated as excessively burdensome.

The report also casts a shadow over the UK’s attempts to introduce the private copying exception without any fair compensation for rightholders and the Spanish government’s inexplicable decision to give a 115m€ discount to device manufacturers and importers while further challenging an already stretched public purse and failing to guarantee a drop in prices to consumers.

We would like to place on record our thanks to all the MEPs and particularly Mrs Castex for their tenacity in bringing this report to such a successful conclusion.