Germany increases USB flash drive tax by over 2000 percent

first_imgBlank media tax was first introduced when the audio cassette became popular. It was arguedthat such media would have a negative impact on sales of commercial recordings, and so a secondary tax alongside sales tax was required to compensate the recording industry and those it represented. This tax has remained in place as other forms of blank media have become popular, including CDs and more recently flash storage.Many will rightly argue that the blank media tax is unfair. It is applied to all blank media regardless of intended use, so even media that would never be used for anything other than personal file storage e.g. memory cards for cameras, still carry the tax. There’s also a big question mark over whether blank media really does impact sales of commercial recordings.In Germany, consumers are in for a shock as the blank media tax paid on USB flash drives has just been increased by a staggering amount. In the past the tax added roughly 10 cents for any size USB drive. That has now increased to $1.93 for any USB flash drive up to 4GB in size. A storage device larger than that now carries a $2.42 storage media tax. The increases work out to a 1,850 percent and 2,338 percent increase respectively.No clear reason has been given for such massive increases, other than to point to “compensation for private copying” in the latest publication of the Federal Gazette. In other words, German music industry organizations GEMA and VG Bild-Kunst have pushed for the higher tax as a response to a German individual’s right to make a fair use backup copy on to such media.The increase seems ridiculous, especially considering there doesn’t seem to be any evidence offered as to how fair use copying has changed to the point where a 2000 percent tax rise is justified. All it has done is to make buying blank media significantly more expensive for everyone living in Germany.Read more at Heise Online (translated) and TechDirtlast_img read more