Arlington, VA (October 13, 2005)–Representing a formidable cross-section of the global technology industry, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the European Information & Communications Technology Industry Association (EICTA) and the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) issued a joint statement of principles regarding the current state of the global copyright levy system for high-tech and consumer electronics products. The principles advocate for a shift from copyright levies to encourage industry-driven, voluntary initiatives as copy protection technologies become available.
The statement came as the global technology industry convened in Brussels for the 2005 Strategic Global Industry Roundtable on Levies and Digital Rights Management, sponsored by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the European-American Business Council (EABC). While the Roundtable examined the use of copyright levies globally, the keynote address to the Roundtable by Charlie McCreevy, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, was particularly timely as the European Commission is presently reviewing the current European copyright levy system for electronics products.
The CEA, EICTA, and JEITA statement specifically calls for a freeze on the further extension of levies, as well as a levy phase-out. With regard to those countries that currently use the copyright levy system, the three organizations suggested the following principles:
* There should be a baseline established with regard to a rational and justifiable fee structure and a limited universe of products on which the levy may be applied;
* The levies-setting process must be modernized to become more open and transparent so that stakeholders (content owners, equipment manufacturers and consumers) are involved in, and informed about, the process of how levies are calculated; and
* Collecting societies must be more open and transparent, publishing accounts that give a true and fair view of their activities.
“Copyright levies are not the solution for protecting the rights of copyright holders,” said CEA President and CEO, Gary Shapiro. “If indiscriminate and nontransparent fees continue to be set by collecting societies, digital devices will soon be so heavily taxed that the consumer will be forced to pay unfair and inflated prices. Likewise, the manufacturer will have no incentive to develop digital rights management technologies. CEA is pleased to join with EICTA and JEITA in this statement, and we applaud the Business Software Alliance and the European-American Business Council for facilitating such an important discussion,” Shapiro added.
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)