Blank media tax may expand to include cloud storage

first_imgDepending on where you are in the world, blank media may have a secondary tax applied to it. Germany is a good example, as consumers pay both a sales tax and commercial tax to compensate the recording industry for the negative impact blank media supposedly has on sales. That applies to such media as CDs, DVDs, external hard drives, and even USB flash drives.It seems ludicrous that such a tax even be considered, let alone be imposed. Germans even suffered a 2,000 percent increase of that tax earlier this year, but the bad news doesn’t end there. An Austrian rights group called IG Autoren isn’t happy with such a tax covering just physical media, it wants cloud storage included, too.At the moment, consumers in Austria only pay this tax on blank CDs and DVDs. IG Autoren wants to expand that to include the same range of media as Germany, but also feels that services like Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive etc. all fall under the blank media banner because they offer storage, and therefore should carry the tax. A tax consumers would have to pay on top of the existing price of each service.Such a tax would not only make cloud services more expensive, it could threaten to remove the free tiers currently being offered, such as Dropbox’s 2GB account. As storage is offered, the tax would need to be paid regardless of how little there is available. It seems unlikely Dropbox or any other service provider would pick up the tab, so free tiers could disappear in countries adopting the tax.For the moment, the threat of a cloud storage tax will only impact Austria, but if it gets accepted there then it could spread to other European countries. Consumers in general will obviously be opposed to this, as will cloud storage providers. There’s also a coalition fighting against such taxes that includes Apple, Dell, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony as members.Let’s hope this cloud storage tax never sees the light of day. I’d also like to see proof blank media is to blame for lost sales and how cloud storage further impacts that.via GigaOM and Platform for a Modern Copyright Law (translated)last_img

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