Good news for some, not so for others (Part I) – The Spanish government has abolished the “Canon” for private copy

4 January 2012

The 30th of December 2011 the Council of Ministers agreed hastily under the Royal Decree for urgent budget, tax and financial measures to correct the public deficit, to expulse the “Canon Digital” from the Intellectual Property Law.

Such compensation-that mistakenly became popular as “Canon Digital”- which has been paid by manufacturers and importers of equipments, devices and media which allow a copy for private use of works protected by copyright law, in the future will be directly deduced from the state budgets. In consequence from January 1, 2012, the manufacturers and importers are no longer debtors of compensation to holders of exploitation rights; but-so it is presumed, will be collected by the state through taxes and paid directly to the management entities.

The form of payment of such compensation shall be determined in the future by the Government through the corresponding regulation. The intrigue is now on how such compensation shall be calculated in the future. In the circles involved discussions are taking place about it: Presumably management entities will be dethroned and the specific amount of compensation is linked to "estimate the damage caused by private copies".-internet users are already preparing an offensive in this respect, and rights holders may be concerned that their right to compensation is used to plug budget holes of the Spanish state.

Finally: Given the uncertain future it leaves open the question of how manufacturers and importers should act in setting their prices, which for the moment will be their problem. They do not even know what devices and how much should be paid for compensation. The legislature has done a great disservice to them and let them (and not them only, but also consumers) fishing in murky waters.

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