Position of the CEE Digital Coalition on the current shape and reform of copyright levies system

As the digital and advanced technologies industry of the countries from Central Eastern Europe represented by the organisations signed below, we would like to share our position in regard to the system of financing creative works based on copyright levies in the European Union.

CEE Digital Coalition shares a common goal of strengthening the idea of a Digital Single Market in our region and across the European Union and strives to create a unified policy environment fit for the modern Europe. We believe that current system of compensating the creative community based on copyright levies is obsolete and unfit for modern landscape.

Artistic work deserves a system of honest financing and compensation. Such a system, however, should be considerate of all the parties affected. Being bound to include an additional private copying levy in the prices of devices according to home state regulations and to pass the collected financial resources to local copyright collectives, manufacturers and distributors of electronic devices are a vital link in the current system. This system however is failing to adhere to current technology and emerging social habits.

Firstly, since the 1960s, when copyright levies were introduced, massive progress has been accomplished in terms of technology, devices used, and ways consumers experience artistic work. When first implemented, copyright levies were designed to compensate artists for any detriment they may suffer as a result of consumers copying their work. To achieve that, devices and media capable of generating or storing such copies has been subjected to the fee ever since. However, as cassette tapes, VHS tapes and compact discs became obsolete, so did the premise of copyright levies. Copying of artistic work is a dying phenomenon.

Countless new ways of consuming artists’ work are now in place with streaming services serving as the best example. Novel models substituted the habit of making copies to experience creative work. Meanwhile, the mechanism of copyright levies did not evolve, causing it to become obsolete. New business and services models have surpassed the outdated framework of levies, unfit for the ways of consuming and experiencing artistic work today. As the very basis for copyright levies’ mechanism is disappearing, the system fails to keep up with technology, developed devices and current methods of experiencing culture and does not solve the issues it was established to counter.

The technological landscape has changed drastically since the introduction of copyright levies and the aged system does not serve parties it affects anymore. A reform of this outdated system is long overdue and should be proceeded in order to provide means of compensation and financing of hard work done in the artistic community, while answering to current technological environment and respecting the crucial role of our industry in the mechanism.

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