Austrian rights holders want levy on cloud storage

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Austrian rights holders want levy on cloud storage

IT vendors band together.

A group of Austrian authors is pressing for the taxes levied on storage media such as compact discs and DVDs to be extended to hard drives and cloud storage. 

"We want not just a hard disc levy, but a levy for using the cloud, and we want that for each use of our work," the Interessengemeinschaft Autorinnen Autoren or Authors' Syndicate of Austria writes in itsAutorensolidarität (Author Solidarity) newsletter.

The demand is made in conjunction with a review of Austria's copyright laws that has seen interest groups making submissions.

An Austrian IT manufacturers' lobby group opposed to storage media levies, the Platform for a Modern Copyright, which includes Apple, Asus, Canon, Dell, HP, Samsung, and Sony as members, claims this would lead to consumers having to pay fees for cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, SugarSync and Skydrive.

The IT industry lobby group, which reproduced the Authors' Syndicate demands on its Facebook page, is calling for a modernised copyright in Austria, with greater transparency.

It called the authors' proposal a double taxation on mobile devices and computers that have already been paid for and taxed elsewhere.

Levies on empty storage media are used in several countries in the European Union as a way to compensate rights holders for losses incurred by users' copying material.

According to Intellectual Property Watch, European rights holders groups issued a declaration in September this year, demanding that electronics vendors should continue to pay copyright levies on devices.

However, IT vendors are now grouping together with industry associations such as DigitalEurope calling for the fees to be replaced with other forms of compensation to rights holders.

Other vendors are taking legal action against governments to have the copyright levies abolished.

In November this year, HP, Acer, Dell and Imation sued the Dutch government over a set of new levies on hard discs, smartphones, tablets and MP3 players as a way to compensate movie and music industries for losses caused by home copying.

The vendors allege that claimed entertainment industry losses of 40 million Euro (A$49.5 million) are excessive and completely unfounded, and includes compensation for illegally downloaded music and movies.

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