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MP3 player levies

Now this is not chemistry related but it is something I feel strongly about so I hope you will permit me this indulgence.
Just days before it was due to unveil its proposals the European Commission has shelved plans to introduce new laws governing levies on digital music players apparently in response to pressure from the French government. The levies unfairly raise the cost of portable devices and conflict with EU copyright law, by charging a consumer twice for legally purchased music. Whilst the UK, Ireland and Cyprus are levy-free other EEC countries charge consumers a levy on their purchases. The European Commission is also concerned about the uneven amount of the levies, which add €2 to the price of a 30GB iPod in Finland but €90 in Spain! An early draft of the Commission's proposals suggested that the EU was prepared to outlaw levies on a number of goods, including those that employ DRM technology, in addition The UK Government's Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, which published its report last week, found that levies are not necessary to ensure that artists get the 'fair compensation' that they are entitled to under EU's Copyright Directive. Should the UK Government accept the recommendations then a right to private copying, or format shifting by a CD for transferring to an iPod, could be introduced in 2008. The Gowers Review concluded that such a right should not be accompanied by the introduction of levies on music player sales and should cover all types of content.

With more content becoming available online it might be a good time to contact your elected representative and make sure they are aware of your views.

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