The appeal to the European Commission for a reform of copyright levies

Digital and advanced technology industry of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary – associated in Digital V4 – have appealed to their national governments and to the European Commission for picking up a reform of the system of financing artists’ work based in copyright levies. In their opinion, the current fee is obsolete, does not fit the present and cannot keep up with a rapid growth of new, digital business and service models.

Digital V4 is an initiative of digital and advanced technologies industry in the countries of Visegrad Group: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, which holds a common goal of building a policy supporting innovation and digitisation in Central-Eastern Europe and tightening economic and political cooperation in the Visegrad Group. According to Digital V4, current solution requires a thorough reconstruction, because copyright levies, established in the 60s, do not keep up with the technological progress, which took place since their introduction, while modern and future digital tools are far out of levies’ obsolete framework. „We are obliged to draw our governments’ and the European Commission’s attention to the fact that the archaic model of copyright levies does not keep up with the rapid growth of new digital business and service models. It is necessary to immediately adjust the system to current technological reality and methods of distributing works of culture online” – the joint statement says.

The industry: a constant expansion of the devices’ list – crude and inefficient
As the digital industry of Visegrad Group points out, it has been struggling with the constant extending of lists of devices affected by regulations. Continuous expansion of range of devices and media subjected to copyright levies is, however, a crude solution, extremely vulnerable to lapse of time. The method is legislatively ineffective and bound to fail in the face of ongoing digitisation and dynamically developing market, which generates new solutions before regulations are provided for already existing products and services.

Digital V4 points to the fact that copying work of culture is becoming a relic of the past. – The scale of copying is far from what we saw back in the days of common use of tapes and CDs and is becoming almost non-existent. Citizens of the Visegrad Group and the European Union enjoy the work of artists by new channels, mostly via streaming services, which keep on gaining in popularity and steadily push out the practice of copying – highlights Group. Digital V4 also states that consumers already bear the costs of experiencing pieces of culture in the form of monthly fees, subscriptions or agreeing to watching ads as a part of any given service. There is no justification then to hold on to the system based in a disappearing phenomenon, which does not fit modern forms of experiencing culture and is outdated in regard to technological progress.

Levies opposing the Digital Single Market
Copyright levies having a non-uniform legal character around the EU is yet another issue. This stands in opposition towards the European Union’s attempts to build a Digital Single Market and deepen the integrity. „As organisations operating on the ever-growing Digital Single Market, we are well aware of a dire need to build a new efficient system and to unify regulations and mechanisms across the modern European Union, stepping into the age of digitisation” – Digital V4 argues in its statement.