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Belgian Media Group Demanding Copyright Levy for Internet Access 162

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mighty-morphing-copyright-rangers dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this tidbit from PC World about Sabam's latest demand for copyright levies: "Sabam, the Belgian association of authors, composers and publishers, has sued the country's three biggest ISPs, saying that they should be paying copyright levies for offering access to copyright protected materials online. Sabam wants the court to rule that Internet access providers Belgacom, Telenet and Voo should pay 3.4 percent of their turnover in copyright fees, because they profit from offering high speed Internet connections that give users easy access to copyright protected materials, the collecting organization said in a news release Tuesday." Sabam has previously demanded money from truckers for listening to the radio, and wanted to charge libraries royalties for reading to children.
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Belgian Media Group Demanding Copyright Levy for Internet Access

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  • Two-edged sword? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @12:46PM (#43601591)

    From what I remember, in Canada making copies CDs is legal because of the copyright levy on blank CDs. If the media companies get there way with this copyright levy for internet access, will that make all online copyright infringement legal?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, shut up. Give us more money.

      -- SABAM

    • by FilmedInNoir (1392323) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @12:59PM (#43601725)
      Sorta... well no, It's still highly illegal and you can get sued for making an illegal copy.
      For example: some Canadians got sued for coping "Hurt Locker" (The erotic comedy about two gay shoe store employees and their love of leather uppers.)
      The tax was a socialist attempt to remedy the issue but in reality it's just a tax for the sake of tax.
      IMHO: I don't even think it's the money Sadam and the other organizations are after, it's more about the distribution control, since it gives them credence to exist at all.
      • by Tester (591)

        Sorta... well no, It's still highly illegal and you can get sued for making an illegal copy.

        For example: some Canadians got sued for coping "Hurt Locker" (The erotic comedy about two gay shoe store employees and their love of leather uppers.)

        This is entirely untrue, in Canada, making copies of AUDIO recoding for personal use IS legal.. This only applies to Audio content, not to movies, etc. This is also why the levy is only on CDs, not on DVDs for example.

        • Re:Two-edged sword? (Score:4, Informative)

          by FilmedInNoir (1392323) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @02:02PM (#43602419)
          No, P2P sharing is still illegal: http://www.musicbymailcanada.com/privcopy.html [musicbymailcanada.com]
          If you borrow your friend's CD and make a copy that's fine, but if you rip that CD (or MP3 from iTunes) and share that copy online, it's illegal.
          That's what they are talking about in the article above. Canada has sane laws in regards to copyright, but it's not free-for-all anarchy either.
          • I think "for personal use" and "CD" is a pretty clear definition that doesn't include p2p. Apples, oranges, both fruit, right?

            • I think "for personal use" and "CD" is a pretty clear definition that doesn't include p2p. Apples, oranges, both fruit, right?

              It has been ruled that using P2P is equivalent of me going to your house to make a personal copy using your equipment. Done 'over the intertubes' doesn't change the fact that it is a personal copy for personal use using personal equipment. eg: It is in no way commercial.

              IMHO this is very sane and fair copyright ruling. Don't ask me for source, that was decades(~1.4 decades) ago in the Napster era. This has been common knowledge for all Canadian since.

              • I should add that, while downloading copyrighted materiel is not illegal, making it available could still get you sued. The original person that make the rip could be sue by the copyright holder. But in practice this never happen because it is extremely difficult to find him, and prove his guilt beyond all reasonable doubt. Also IANAL, but you already know that.

        • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @04:07PM (#43603655) Journal

          Sorta... well no, It's still highly illegal and you can get sued for making an illegal copy.

          For example: some Canadians got sued for coping "Hurt Locker" (The erotic comedy about two gay shoe store employees and their love of leather uppers.)

          This is entirely untrue, in Canada, making copies of AUDIO recoding for personal use IS legal.. This only applies to Audio content, not to movies, etc. This is also why the levy is only on CDs, not on DVDs for example.

          ...but but but.... I like to play video files through the speaker, for the sound it makes.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        For example: some Canadians got sued for coping "Hurt Locker" (The erotic comedy about two gay shoe store employees and their love of leather uppers.)

        Well no one has really been sued yet, people have gotten a notice but that's it. The ISP(Teksavvy) who got the main notice has been fighting tooth and nail against disclosure. And so far it looks like with a bunch of other things going on, they're going to fail in this case.

    • by stanlyb (1839382)
      Their constitution is different, so the answer is NO. But here, you could argue that you have already paid for the copyrighted material, and could make a precedent....
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:03PM (#43601765)

      I have content online too. It's only fair to charge them copyright or get a recipcal agreement.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In Belgium, where Sabam is active, there is also a copyright levy on blank CDs. But who's still burning to CD in days of streaming and huge hard disks?

      • But who's still burning to CD in days of streaming and huge hard disks?

        Me. My car's got a CD player, but no Bluetooth/Line-in.

    • by SirGarlon (845873) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:15PM (#43601857)
      I think you will run out of money before you run out of people to pay off. First it's a Belgian company demanding a tax. Next it will be a French company demanding a tax on Belgian ISPs, because hey, Belgians read French books too. And some Dutch trolls will want their cut for what the other half of Belgium reads. Then some Americans will want a piece of the action and all hell will break loose.
    • by mark-t (151149)
      Actually, thanks to Bill C-32 being passed, it's not legal anymore if the media has any kind of copy protection on it whatsoever.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Of course not. Why make money on your IP only once when you can charge consumers on their purchases and their Internet connections, and thereby make the same money twice?

      In fact, while we're at it, let's implement a global head tax on the basis that if someone is a living, breathing human being, they could be infringing on copyrights. That way we can make the same money three times! The shareholders will love it!

    • by 91degrees (207121)
      Nope. The fact that the loss is partially mitigated by the CD levy doesn't automatically make it legal.

      If there is explicit legislation making an exception to copyright for CDs then it's legal but that has nothing to do with the levy.
    • Re:Two-edged sword? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by EEPROMS (889169) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @04:25PM (#43603785)
      or the ISP's can copy what Google did in German, block all copyright material then watch the perpetrators of the legal action have a nervous break down when they realise they have just blown their own foot of with a 22mm canon. Media needs exposure to survive, even illegal downloaders assist in sales (most downloaders are also their biggest $$ customers). So when the media reps lose a major exposure channel trust me they start to hurt especially when they realise their advertising budget is now 5x higher to get the same income.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @12:48PM (#43601611)

    If they are going to charge across the board and assume we are all pirates, perhaps we should get a discount when we do legally purchase something to offset this cost? I'm sure the Belgian Media group has done the math and with so few legal purchases they'd be more than happy to reimburse me every time I do it the right way.

    • by PsychoSlashDot (207849) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @12:58PM (#43601713)

      If they are going to charge across the board and assume we are all pirates, perhaps we should get a discount when we do legally purchase something to offset this cost? I'm sure the Belgian Media group has done the math and with so few legal purchases they'd be more than happy to reimburse me every time I do it the right way.

      Yes, the discount should be 100%. If they're going to assume we're pirates and build their kickback on the basis that we're getting their product for free, we should... get their product for free.

    • No I we should get a royalty on every successful purchase someone makes from their services or the publishers they represent. Since that is obviously one copy we did not pirate ;p

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How does that work in practice? Oh, you want a 10% discount? Well our price just went up 11%.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:18PM (#43601889)

      TFA doesn't mention pirating. They're complaining that people now use iTunes, YouTube and Spotify, where the money goes directly to the artists or record labels, and not through the little media group that they set up.

  • Oh yes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RenHoek (101570) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @12:49PM (#43601627) Homepage

    As a Belgian ISP I would demand 90% of all profit Sabam makes them, since they enable them to sell digital goods..

    Greed, plain and pure.. all copyright groups should be shot.

  • by Kaenneth (82978) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @12:50PM (#43601635) Homepage Journal

    I'd pay a 3.4% tax if granted immunity from copyright infringment suits.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They'll be demanding more soon enough. There's never enough blood for vampires.

  • by donnie Freyer (2881319) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @12:56PM (#43601695)
    Muppets.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    by that logic the council who built our roads are also responsible for enabling people to go and rob banks or any crime that involves travelling!. Get real.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Have these extortionists shot in the streets.

  • Hello (Score:5, Funny)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:03PM (#43601757) Journal

    Welcome fellow Belgians. We at Sabam, being sociopaths, wish to tax your internet usage, your radio, and yes, even your libraries. You should be pleased that a group of malicious psychopaths like us have latched on to this particular game, because otherwise we'd probably be stalking playgrounds and public washrooms for victims that we could molest, beat and possibly even cannibalize to fulfill our obscene lusts.

    So fork over lots of cash to us, or we'll be forced to start fulfilling our other fantasies, and you will never feel safe in a public space again.

    • by lgw (121541)

      We at Sabam, being sociopaths, wish to tax your internet usage, your radio, and yes, even your libraries. You should be pleased that a group of malicious psychopaths like us have latched on to this particular game, because otherwise we'd probably be stalking playgrounds and public washrooms for victims that we could molest, beat and possibly even cannibalize to fulfill our obscene lusts.

      Oh? I just assumed they did both, possibly the same time.

  • by Shoten (260439) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:03PM (#43601767)

    Well now, the result of last week's competition when we asked you to find a derogatory term for the Belgians. Well, the response was enormous and we took quite a long time sorting out the winners. There were some very clever entries.

    Mrs Hatred of Leicester Said 'let's not call them anything, let's just ignore them'... ...and a Mr St John of Huntingdon said he couldn't think of anything more derogatory than Belgians.

    But in the end we settled on three choices:
    Number three ... the Sprouts (placard 'The Sprouts'), sent in by Mrs Vicious of Hastings... very nice.
    Number two..... the Phlegms (placard) ... from Mrs Childmolester of Worthing.
    But the winner was undoubtedly from Mrs No-Supper-For-You from Norwood in Lancashire... Miserable Fat Belgian Bastards!

  • by fallen1 (230220) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:06PM (#43601779) Homepage

    While I'm sure they would LOVE for this to be their new business model as it allows them to profit without doing a fucking thing, I am equally sure the majority of Belgians would prefer a different business model for them - called "Out Of Business - Permanently".

    Or, perhaps, the Belgians would agree to the "tax" on their internet connections in exchange for the ability to consume any and all content they can reach using said internet connection. Including downloading any material copyrighted by those said organization covers without ever needing to worry about getting sued for infringement. Basically, since Belgians are paying for copyright through a "tax", they are now allowed unfettered consumption.

    And fuck Sabam if they want to have their cake and eat it to. Then all of the Belgians should reintroduce the "Out Of Business - Permanently" model to them. It is time for "the people" to take back control from the corporations. Maybe the Belgians can get the ball rolling?

  • sabam being trolled (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    a few years back there was a troll program to defend the people's rights and they did a concert with fake artists in front of sabam hq. they were actually charged for the concert even though there was no such artist as "suzi wan" and "kimberly clark" or also "ken wood". they are actually made up brand names of toilet paper and blender equipment! it was quite amusing. there is a youtube video of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZAsa9QmQO8

  • The premise of this is absurd. You can't stop people from viewing the material so blame the the providers of the connection... right... That's like blaming your ears for hearing nails on a chalkboard instead of remedying the sound in the first place. So basically if search engines sucked and material was hard to find there would be no issue? Libraries sort their books so that material (both copyrighted and not) is easy to find, I suppose they should be forced to pay too? High speed Internet offers high spe
    • by cjpa (796302)

      The reasoning of SABAM in this matter follows their tax on radio-broadcasters. Radio stations are obligated to pay SABAM for broadcasting copyrighted songs. So to rationalize their greed, they just followed that logic for internet providers. Since internet providers are now broadcasting a lot of copyrighted material, they should pay for it, just as well as the radio stations are.
      It's just a bit sad that at the same time, there's a very steep price for internet streaming radio websites(to the point that you

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:29PM (#43601985)
    All the copyrighted materials that you download from Amazon or iTunes store or elsewhere, all those copyrighted materials that you download through streaming services like Pandora, or things like BBC iPlayer, are perfectly legal and paid for. Shouldn't they charge the post office when I order DVDs or CDs with copyright materials through mail?
    • by rwise2112 (648849)

      All the copyrighted materials that you download from Amazon or iTunes store or elsewhere, all those copyrighted materials that you download through streaming services like Pandora, or things like BBC iPlayer, are perfectly legal and paid for. Shouldn't they charge the post office when I order DVDs or CDs with copyright materials through mail?

      Well don't stop there. Charge the guys who make the delivery vehicles as well, because those trucks will be carrying the post with the DVDs and CDs. And box companies as well, because those DVDs and CDs will be placed in boxes for shipping.

  • ... but a whole fucking shitload of it is being freely distributed.... LEGALLY.

    So unless they are going to take those additional fees and distribute them internationally to absolutely every human being alive who has ever put something copyrighted online, *EVER*... they really should stay away from the issue.

    This post is copyrighted by me, for instance. And people can access this post by going on the Internet and reading comments on Slashdot under this article. Will *I* receive even the tiniest sliver of the funds they collect? No? Then they shouldn't be trying to touch that Pandora's box with a pole of any length.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, sure, using spotify is legal. they know that.

      but they argue that because that cuts into their local copyright mafia branch profits, the isp's should pay.

      I guess the labels didn't want to send them money for music played on spotify so they had to find someone to pay 'em(they get money from radio plays so it's flawless logic that SOMEONE must pay them for streaming music, too, and not just the labels ;D ).

    • ... but a whole fucking shitload of it is being freely distributed.... LEGALLY.

      So unless they are going to take those additional fees and distribute them internationally to absolutely every human being alive who has ever put something copyrighted online, *EVER*... they really should stay away from the issue.

      This post is copyrighted by me, for instance. And people can access this post by going on the Internet and reading comments on Slashdot under this article. Will *I* receive even the tiniest sliver of the funds they collect? No? Then they shouldn't be trying to touch that Pandora's box with a pole of any length.

      I bet you agreed anything you post to Slashdot is no longer yours. It's pretty common so I would think they now own the copyright.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        You may want to reread the terms of use on Slashdot again. It explicitly says that submitters retain ownership of anything that they submit.
  • No moral high ground (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kalvos (137750) <bathory@maltedmedia.com> on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:45PM (#43602205) Homepage

    There's no moral high ground for SABAM. I know Slashdot's readers don't much like ASCAP, but they're my licensing agency and part of my small income as a composer comes from those royalties. Problem is, SABAM has yet to pay (via ASCAP) a cent of the royalties owed me for performances in Belgium for the past eight years. (Same goes for SPA in Portugal, which has never forwarded any royalties due.) Until they actually turn over the royalties they collect in composers' names, they have no excuse to collect them in the first place.

    Before you engage in the screw-you comments, please know that I provide all my sheet music for free download and only expect the performance royalties in return. The performers and venues pay those royalties, but Belgium and Portugal just pocket the money.

    • by Bigby (659157)

      But is the sheet you write your music on copyrighted?

    • by steelfood (895457) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @02:15PM (#43602557)

      I don't think anyone except the trolls are going to reply with "screw you"-type comments. I think most people here respect the fact that you're trying to make a living doing what you like to do, and would root for your continued success.

      Now, if your continued success was contingent on you trampling over the mostly-dead body of civil rights, then things might turn hostile. But unless you're working for one of these groups, and in fact, you're an executive in one of them, I don't see how that could possibly be.

      As they say, you're welcome to make a living doing what you want to do, but you don't have the right to do so. And that applies to engineers, scientists, academia, and artists alike.

      • by Kalvos (137750) <bathory@maltedmedia.com> on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @03:14PM (#43603211) Homepage

        I'm always of two minds about this issue. I oppose long copyright terms, draconian prosecutions, DRM and most of the lot of the law since the DMCA.. I also oppose work-for-hire exceptions as permitted under U.S. copyright law (mostly with respect to the transformation of the work into other media, its excerpting and repurposing without compensation).

        As a senior composer (yikes!), I made a societal deal five decades ago that my work would be granted a reasonable time to recoup the effort that went into its creation.

        The definition of 'reasonable' can be surprising to those whose work is immediate (pop, software, etc.). In my genres (what I call 'nonpop') that time can be very long indeed. Many pieces composed in the 1970s (I'd guess before most Slashdotters were born) are just getting their first performances now as the younger performers discover them. This is a long time -- and I have a lot of trouble believing that such work should drop into the commons even before its first performance. So I appreciate the extension of copyright that recognizes both the longer life of artists now and the longer time to market on certain kinds of art and music.

        • If it took you around 40 years to finally start making money off of it, what did you do to earn money in the meantime?

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          I oppose long copyright terms, draconian prosecutions, DRM and most of the lot of the law since the DMCA.

          Yeah, but you favor taking away money from other people as a tax on unrelated products and then enriching yourself with it, because that's what we're talking about here. And in addition to the numerous taxes that are already levied in Belgium, they now want to impose charges on Internet access.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_copying_levy#Belgium [wikipedia.org]

        • by devent (1627873)

          Did you do actually anything in those 40 years to promote the music? Or was it just sitting around on some Youtube channel; or in some old audio tapes; or on some old music CDs in a bin in the basement?

          How are you deserve any money from work you did 40 years ego, and for which you did not do anything at all since now?
          Now I would understand it if you would actively promote the 40 years old music, like write to the younger performers, or offer them your music. But no: you just sit on your ass and wait for the

  • Sounds like a good deal to me. All the written material; music; films I can watch for £3 / $6 / €3.5 per month. Though how authors; musicians etc will be up to Sabam. Though I think Sabam owes me a few pounds as I wrote (and a number of people used) software in the '90's.
  • There are different countries that do have levies for copy-written works. Canada has/had levies on different writable material like blank music cds cassettes and that sort of thing, they also wanted it to apply to ipods but thankfully itunes proved that content could generally be purchased legally so they didn't. I think that's a good case to look at here. If all you could use your internet connection for was piracy or the majority of people were using it for piracy then maybe I would be OK with this. B

  • How much media content can there be that deals with waffles?


    The Belgians love waffles!!
  • they should be paying copyright levies for offering access to copyright protected materials online

    Access doesn't imply use. Should record stores pay an additional percentage of their profits simply for providing "access" to people that don't end up buying anything? I haven't, and don't intend to, ever buy or unlawfully download digital content over the Internet (I just don't have that need) so why should some of the money I pay my ISP go to an industry I don't use, simply because they cling to an outdated business model?

    Okay, for you youngsters, a "record store" is an actual place you can go to, walk

  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @02:11PM (#43602519) Homepage Journal

    Every Belgium citizen paying a 3.4% tax year after year, or Belgium citizens pooling their money to hire a hitman to kill every last top-dog in this organization?

  • FUCK YOU. Assholes.
  • Just read http://www.amazon.com/Pirate-Cinema-Cory-Doctorow/dp/0765329093 [amazon.com]

    There isn't really much more to say about it...

    Executive summary: allowing this is a really bad idea because it sets a legal precedent.

  • Owning a car in Belgium means Belgians have the ability to speed on the roads, therefore the only sensible course is for all Belgians to pay a fine for the speeding they otherwise would have gotten away with. Children! They can grow up into criminals, so new parents should have to pay for possible future crimes by their children. Pets! Laundry! Toilet paper! Where will it end?
  • Sabam has previously demanded money from truckers for listening to the radio, and wanted to charge libraries royalties for reading to children.

    And I want a pony, and a brand new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport [wikipedia.org], and a solid rhodium toilet.

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      The difference is: you don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting it, they do.

  • FTA:

    >>the Belgian association of authors, composers and publishers,....

    Ok, so we block all references to anything named by those authors, composers and publishers, so no trace of them exist on the internet (in Belgium anyway) so no one can pirate their stuff.

    No?

  • This type of thinking is so idiotic. So should high speed internet access be illegal since some users can use it to pirate easier? Why should the ISPs share in the blame for what their users are doing? All they are doing is giving them access. What's next? It's illegal to talk in groups of more than three people because you COULD be planning a terrorist attack?
  • And the idea behind government is to protect us from these kinds of things and make the playing field fair. In a legal sense. This is the very definition of a lawful and good society vs a tyranny or oppressive one.

  • In several European countries, people already have to pay a significant fee on printers, computers, and cell phones, money that then is funneled to select publishers and other copyright trolls.

  • Those freeloader children getting stories read to them from the library without paying royalties? The monsters! Every time my parents read me a story we put a nickle in a jar, how could ignore the poor Belgian company?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would not mind paying small extra copyright fee as long as it grants me right to download latest tv shows, movies, etc.. But somehow i think there up to money for nothing again. Too bad content industry cant modernize there business models to better serve modern consumers. I think it joke that i have to wait 6 months or more before tv shows become available here in scandinavia.

    Yep did try netflix, even thats lagging behind badly.

  • It seems like the music licensing companies in many countries are equally evil. This latest move by the Belgians is just business as usual, disgusting as it may be.

    But, why do they then choose acronyms that are so easy to make fun of?

    ASCAP: Ass-Cap (put a cap in yo ass)
    SABAM: Sa-*BAM* (like punching someone in a Batman comic book)

    I'm sure there are fun mis-pronunciations for the equivalent associations in other countries as well. Anyone from other countries want to contribute more?
  • I think a simple solution to this asshattery should be a policy, or a law, among all Belgian ISP's and Wireless providers to refuse to take on SABAM, their members, and their families as customers. If they cannot get internet service, besides begin really fucking funny, it should send a clear message to the rest of the world.
    Also, given this level of mental retardation, what are the laws in Belgium surrounding having someone committed to mental illness facility. Surely they qualify?

    Thoughts?

  • Yes, we should be demanding a large share of their profits for:

    -- Allowing them to live on OUR planet;
    -- Breathe OUR air;
    -- Drinking OUR water and then contaminating it by pissing it out;
    -- Tolerating their greed, foolishness, short-sightedness, and stupidity; and
    -- Poorly mimicking the behavior of politicians.

    These people truly are a waste of skin.

  • FOAD. Seriously. Get a productive job.
  • shame if anything were to happen to it..

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"

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