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Swedish memory devices face possible price hike

TT/Vivian Tse · 10 Jan 2011, 16:55

Published: 10 Jan 2011 16:55 GMT+01:00

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Attempts by rights organisation Copyswede to negotiate an agreement on the charges with the digital storage device industry have been unsuccessful.

In the end, Copyswede unilaterally announced last month that the charges would apply starting on April 1st despite the industry's protests.

"We have been discussing these for about a year with the industry. They have been reluctant to negotiate with us. They are obliged to pay the fees. We claim remuneration from the companies directly on recordable CDs, DVDs and MP3 players," Copyswede CEO Mattias Åkerlind told The Local on Monday.

"We haven't had any counterpart to carry out negotiations with. This is our way of approaching the companies. Our hope is the companies will sit down and negotiate in the next couple of weeks," he added.

According to Åkerlind, consumers are moving away from copying material onto CDs and DVDs and now use digital storage devices such as hard drives and USB sticks. Copyswede collects all fees on behalf of the rights owners belonging to 14 organisations.

The new fees would make an external hard drive of 250 gigabytes of 160 kronor ($23) more expensive.

"Under Swedish law, the fee is only payable on products that are especially devoted to copying. In addition, the products cannot be widely used for anything else. We believe that it is illegal to impose such a fee," said Anders Appelqvist, CEO of Elektronikbranschen.

The organisation brings together retailers such as large electronics chains and manufacturers of electronic products.

Industry players will meet later this month to discuss Copyswede's demands.

However, Appelqvist believes that since external hard drives and USB sticks are largely used for private files such as personal photos, there are no grounds for the additional surcharges.

Åkerlind would not say whether the organization was prepared to take electronic companies that do not pay the fees to court, nor if the organisation is prepared to alter the fees or implementation date.

Story continues below…

"Our tradition is to negotiate with the industry and copying on these products is covered by the law. However, the industry says they do not want to negotiate and it takes two to tango," said Åkerlind.

"If we end up in real negotiations, the conditions may be different from what we agree upon. We have indications that the industry is ready to negotiate," he added.

According to a statement last month, Copyswede is asking for 1 kronor per gigabyte for digital storage devices of less than 80 gigabytes, 120 kr for storage devices of 81 to 250 gigabytes.

TT/Vivian Tse (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:14 January 10, 2011 by byke
No offense, but who wrote this article?

Was it simply put through a translation program? as its all gobldy gook. (especially the start)
18:09 January 10, 2011 by rquick
A nice kick in the face for all the people working in the media field, who quite often carry their work around on external harddisks. Thans, Copyswede!

(not really)
18:30 January 10, 2011 by mojofat
This is truly bizarre. What will all of this extra money be used for? To pay the executive salaries of this useless "copyswede" organization?
18:48 January 10, 2011 by calebian22

This is an attempt by the entertainment industry to recoup losses from piracy.
18:54 January 10, 2011 by Arturio
Solution: buy devices on the Internet, in that way u will save 20% to 30%.
19:23 January 10, 2011 by tgolan
In any case I can just oreder the stuff on the internet and the losers are the government, MOMs-Vat goes some where else than Sweden and creates jobs in the UK instead of Sweden, Stupid idea
20:17 January 10, 2011 by Nemesis
This is madness.

I go through hard drives constantly. I use them for editing and storing raw footage.

This is just an excuse to make computers more expensive.
20:25 January 10, 2011 by Majick
HA HA. This is a total "Epic fail" moment.

It is clear what everyone will do, buy online, for cheaper, and have a broader choice...

How very stupid.
21:06 January 10, 2011 by nsp

So a 500GB disk, which now costs +- 1000sek, will cost 1300

( I assume that this 120x2sek will be added "before" VAT...)

The beautiful reasoning of "could-be-used-to-copy-illegal-material" behind the tax on CD's etc should expand. Alcohol tax on OJ, coke, tonic and definatelly olives! Let's be honest, who drinks pure tonic anyway? We all know what use of lemons, limes and strawberries people have on weekends... Tax them all, and viva systemet!

Carrots could be used for child abuse, so lets's ban carrots.

Chash could be used to buy sex (especially by swedish football players). Let's tax cash...

...anyway, 300sek for 500GB of illegal schlager mp3 is a bargain!!!
21:25 January 10, 2011 by GLO
Next... Mind tax... Fart Tax...
22:53 January 10, 2011 by maxbrando
Who in the hell is Copyswede??? And why are they able to say they will charge what amounts to a "tax" when they are not the legislature nor the producers of these items? Get your writers in gear and give some basic information.
00:19 January 11, 2011 by mojofat
Are these people willfully ignorant of technology? Anything capable of copying is capable of being written to, which are wholly different things in one important aspect: as a content "creator" I must be able to write my digital content to something. I'm not copying though, so why am I subject to this lame tax? Further, how is it fair that the other members of this legal mafia reap the benefits of this shakedown as well when I'm not copying their crap?

But, on the bright side, I suppose this legitimizes our use of bittorrent to download very last bit of music and movies we can right? I mean, we did pay a tax to copy that stuff on our hard drives.
01:02 January 11, 2011 by Puge Henis
The big question that nobody has asked:

Since we are paying extra for these hard drives, is it now like we have paid for what we have downloaded and hence cannot be sued for "illegally" downloading something?

After all, we have *paid" you already for something, you should not be able to take our money and then later sue us when we use the product for what we have already paid you for (downloading music/movies),

Or does all reason take a dive when it comes to the dealings of the music industry?

In the time of 1 and 2 tb disks... how much does that add to those disks and the next generation of 3+ tb disks? All just to support a low down scum industry of course.
08:20 January 11, 2011 by crofab
As if electronics weren't expensive enough in Sweden already!
08:42 January 11, 2011 by calebian22

Interesting point and valid in my opinion.. The industry has already been tariffing CD's and DVD's to recoup their losses due to piracy. Additionally, look at the cost of concert tickets. The three to four fold increase in prices over the last decade has far outstripped any inflationary percentage. The entertainment industry is doing just fine, but they will always scream foul.
08:44 January 11, 2011 by Keith #5083
What a load of negative thinkers!

As I understand it, CopySwede exists to remit payments to artists for Swedish copywright material and support Swedish authors and performers.According to it's website.

Ergo, everything you personally write in your computer is copywright.

Ergo, you can submit a claim to CopySwede for financial support/compensation for the potential/theoretical copying of your work by others.Note - you do not have to prove it has been copied, only that it has a potential to be copied - just like the film/music industry.

We should all submit such claims to Copyswede to be sure we qualify for compensatory support under the proposed new Private Copying levy.
08:55 January 11, 2011 by GOOD KARMA
We will all be buying or external drives and memory sticks from the back of some dodgey guys boot at this rate! It will be interesting if the industry makes a stand on this one, about time idiocy is revolted against.
09:00 January 11, 2011 by Jools33
If you need any further evidence that the Swedish state is corrupt to the core - look no further than CopySwede - how can they have ever agreed to provide a levy to an organisation for usage of digital storage. It is a gross tax to keep a dying industry afloat and nothing more.
09:39 January 11, 2011 by Keith #5083
As an interesting quirk, I recently tried to buy (from Amazon) some MP3 tracks of Neil Young songs. I was not permitted to do so in my geographical area,Sweden. They would have cost me about SeK 6 per song.

Even if you want to buy, you cannot unless you buy a grossly overpriced cd.

Check out Copyswede to find out how much is paid to tv companies. I don't have (and don't want) tv. So under this proposal I will have to pay a tax on material I do not want.
11:19 January 11, 2011 by karex
Well, there's mental retardation and greed at its best folks! I do genealogy research and that's mosty what is in my hard drive, DVDs, CDs, etc... so as to backup more than 10 years worth of research in case of a computer crash. So why should I pay for an activity that I don't do?
12:42 January 11, 2011 by Mb 65
If the music industry drop it's prices then people would buy their product. 149kr for a album that is 30 - 40 years old and the artist is dead is absolutely ridiculous. Lets face it there is nothing new out there. Anyway music is not the only thing down loaded.
17:50 January 11, 2011 by Puge Henis
199kr for a CD with two or if you are lucky 3 good songs.

Try to buy from Amazon or iTunes and a lot of times you cannot. A lot of places still use DRM so if you buy from one place you can only play the songs on one music player... want to play the same song in your car's MP3 player and you cant.

And then the industry is "baffled" as to why piracy is so huge.

Download from a p2p network and there is no DRM, no restrictions where you can play it or from where you can download it. Its faster than going to the store.

Pick exactly what songs you want. Easy. All in one place.

Yep, big mystery as to why pirating songs is so popular.
08:01 January 13, 2011 by rquick
So it's all good then. You get a levy for copying. That means if you pay it, you are entitled to copy.

Yeah, bring it on! Let me see, shall I copy Robyn's latest, or maybe go for some Swedish House Mafia?
15:32 January 14, 2011 by mikewhite
I am sure the manufacturers could easily come up with a technical method to limit the drives' capacity as sold in Sweden to, say, 32 MB which would be ridiculous to tax since it could not even hold a single audio CD of 650 MB.

Of course there would be nothing to prevent the new owner running a disk "utility" which would release the limit - at their own risk, of course ;-)
01:18 January 17, 2011 by goprint
The will just have to import tiny up to 16gb devices from the internet from online sites like Amazon & other sites. In Australia if theyt tried anything like this we would vote them out of office at the next election so fast it would make their head spin & they wouldn't get back in for 20 years.
17:35 January 18, 2011 by rquick
Australia is still struggling with their National Firewall......
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