back to article Music biz proposes 'iPod tax' in return for format-shift freedom

A UK music industry trade body has proposed a tax on MP3 players that would not only ensure musicians and labels are paid their dues, but also that consumers who pay their way effectively have to cough up twice. The tax has been suggested by the Music Business Group (MBG), an umbrella body that lists as its members …


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  1. Mike Brown

    Mp3 player? heres an easier idea:

    Lets just tax ears. £10 a year for each ear a person owns. No discount for multiple ears.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fundamentally wrong

    Format shifting fees should never exist, someones legally bought the music already and just wishes to hear it on something else, it's not the same as copying it to then sell it, that'd be illegal even if kept in the same format! Imagine if they required a new license every time you wanted to listen to something on a different stereo or if you upgraded your stereo you had to relicense it or something.

    If they charge extra for the mp3 players, people who wouldve previously been able to afford to buy the music may now be too out of pocket, and be forced to pirate the same music they wouldve previously been willing to buy.

  3. simon ellis

    Seems to me....

    the only way forward is to make all the music free, then place a tax on anything that can play music.

    Job Sorted

  4. Mr_Flibble
    Paris Hilton


    But no thanks.

    I thought I already was legally allowed to format shift.

  5. Rab S


    Between shit like this and annoying priacy adds that I can't skip when i buy the f**king DVD to the latest "thank you for not being a thief" flyer in the last DVD I bought are making me more likley to just go and download whatever i want to see/listen to.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stagecoach proposes train tax...

    As you know Stagecoach the bus company instigated a contract you agree to when travelling with their busses. Under the rules you are only allowed to go to your bus destination and nowhere else.

    People have been flaunting this to the detriment of Stagecoach, and caught trains and gone elsewhere!

    Stagecoach, proposed to make it legal to go on other forms of transport to other destinations, but only if everyone (even people who never use their buses, but only use the trains) pays them a tribute.

    As they bus less and less people around, their profit are diminishing, and it's due to these trains! Damn these metal monsters!

  7. Justin

    Just when music in the uk was affordable

    Downloads are 79p cd's are £9, it's been a long time getting these low prices, and for me buying is now the better option, Put in place an "IPOD Tax" and it will drive people to start to download illegally again.

    How about the Music Biz finds a better operating model for the distribution of their artists.

  8. Chris Haynes

    Well, the CBG says no...

    The Chris Business Group (MBG), an umbrella body that lists as its members organisations like the Bob Defiance Group (BDG), the Association of People Who Don't Want To Be Taxed For Music (APWDWTBTFM), proposes that there is no tax on MP3 players, and that the UK simply changes its law over fair use, to allow people to pay once and use anywhere for their own personal use.

    I like this group much better, because it costs me nothing.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So if I only want to play my ripped CDs via WinAmp...

    ... and not through a portable device I don't have to pay.

    Not that I care about music at all, but this is just a f**ked up, backward regressive tax that does nothing to address the problems of changing the music distribution model from hardware to software.

  10. Lewis Wernham
    Thumb Down

    The idea is bad enough...

    ...but as for this bit:

    "The MBG... wants the levy to be decided by the music industry and device makers rather than government."

    3 words: Feck. Right. Off.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Thieving B%^&*£rds

    Why do the content mafia seem to think that they can conduct business differently to everyone else ?

    If I buy a fridge I don't bloody expect to have to pay the manufacturer again when I move house.

    I wonder if this will also include mobile phones which are also capable of behaving like an iPod/mp3 player ?

    These people have been taking the piss out of consumers for years and now the consumer is fighting back with new tools giving you just deserts.

    Just say no to meglomedia bullies !

  12. Ash

    Hello? Can you hear me in the back?

    When a Music Industry TRADE BODY decides to pitch in, you can bet it's for their own benefit.

    What we want is a group of ARTISTS to speak up FOR THEMSELVES on how THEY would see things done, and we, the customer, will tell YOU if it's suitable.

    Until then, we'll keep using DRM circumvention, file sharing networks, and other services to get the music we want on OUR terms. The wants of the middleman don't come into this; They never have.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    What's this about it being illegal to copy from one media type to another? AFAIK, British copyright law says I can make copies as long as (a) I own (ie someone has paid for) the original source material and (b) it is for personal use only - it does not mention that the copy has to be of the same format or media as the original.

    I've made tape copies of vinyl LPs so I can listen to them in the car, and to protect the original source from wearing out. Surely that's more of a "media" or format change than copying from one digital source (download or CD) to another (MP3 player)? And since when thas this been illegal?

    Next thing you know, they will be making CDs that won't play on a PC just in case someone makes copies...

    Ethically-Challenged Merchants, cos that's how I think the illegitimi are behaving over this...

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Re: I thought I already was legally allowed to format shift.

    Well, you're not (if you're in the UK). It's just that the bit of the law that forbids it is unenforceable.

  15. Eponymous Cowherd


    If I can transcode for free I will pay for the original.

    If I have to pay a tax then I won't pay for the original.

    No way will I pay twice.

  16. An ominous cow herd
    Thumb Up

    Title? What title?

    If I'm made to pay for the possibility of listening to MP3s on my player, why should I pay for the music? Didn't I just paid for that?*

    *I know I didn't, it's just for argument sake... And I bet a whole lotta people would think that way!


  17. Paul M.

    BBC tax is enough

    Dumb idea. But still fairer than the tax we all have to pay on TV sets in the UK. Which you have to pay whether you watch any BBC garbage or not.

    At least with an iPod, you're going to be using it for music, and most of that is "format shifted".

    So will the Freetards be complaining about the BBC, too?

  18. 4a$$Monkey
    Thumb Down

    Transparent money grab

    Is it just me or is this just a transparent money grab? I'm trying to see how they could possibly think this was a fair deal.

    Surly a tax would require either the cooperation of all MP3 manufactures or legislation. If it was a proper legislative tax than people would just order MP3 player from abroad from a country that didn't have the tax. That or you'd get guys flogging cheep player in pubs.

    As for it being illegal in the UK to make an MP3 copy of a CD you have paid for... does anyone care?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And another knee jerk reaction...

    If I buy a CD and choose to copy it to my iPod then why is the iPod taxed? Why not "tax" the CD? Or rather add a levy that says I'm licenced to listen to that music in any format.

    Then again, there is no condition attached to the sale of a CD that says I can only play it in a single player or location. So I can play it in the living room, in the kitchen or the bedroom. I can risk and asbo by sticking it in the old ghetto blaster and listening to it in the garden. I can listen to it in the car. I can put it in the old CD Walkman and listen to it on the train. That's six devices on which I haven't paid a tax, but should I copy the music to the iPod then suddenly I need to pay a tax?

    The real problem facing the music industry is idiots suggesting this sort of unfair and unworkable legislation. The more this happens the more people will be driven away from legally purchasing music and towards pirating. The music industry will lose even more income and will lose even more money and suggest even more levies. In the end they will probably make more money from levies than from music purchases and the artists won't get a percentage of the levies. Thinking about it that could be the industry's big plan, after all they've always considered paying artists for their music to be an inconvenience and they've spent years trying to work out a way of avoiding it.

  20. John

    Still too lax

    As a lawyer, I feel these proposals lack bite.

    Consumers should have to specify the device they use to play the CD and pay to register changes (home to car etc.). Furthermore, rearranging CDs on racks or shelves should be notifiable and chargeable

    With the current recession looming, worried professionals need new revenue streams

  21. Steve Sutton
    Thumb Up

    A breath of fresh air...

    ...from a Reg hack.

    Any chance you could force Orlowski to read your article?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Again, who gets the money?

    I have a friend who is a musician. He records his own work to mp3 and lets people borrow the (cheap) player when they want to hear his work. I doubt he would ever see a penny from this when the player is playing back his IP.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Rob

    utter crap

    what a load of rubbish, I thought you were paying for a license for the music, not a licesnse for that specific cd, next they'll propose we're charged for every song we can remember as it's been duplicated within the neurons in our brains

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >make all the music free, then place a tax on anything that can play music.

    Yeah, then I can write a few hundred crap songs and insist on a slice.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Bloody Taxes

    So I bought the LP, then I got the CD when it came out as my LP was a bit worn (can I have my money back on it please?) and had to pay for that and now the Rip Off merchants want to tax me AGAIN if I buy an MP3 player to listen to the music I've already bought TWICE for feks sake.

    Still it could be worse - Garth Brookes was demanding at one point that he should get loyalties from second hand CD sales because people bought them, found out his music was shit and resold them and unlike LPs the second hand value of CDs is quite good and they don't wear out and so he was being "deprived" of income.

    How much of all these taxes gets through to the average artist anyway?

    I'm buying my next MP3 player in the US, using it there and bringing it in my pocket (I did a similar thing with £1500 of Digital SLR) and not paying duty on it.

    Its the one with the hidden pockets in it

  27. Derek Bez


    What if I never, ever listen to 'their' music on my PMP? What if I only ever listen to podcasts? Do I still have to pay?

    What about my mobile phone that can play MP3s? Is that going to be taxed too? In which case, we'd better petition S-E now to stop making mobiles with built in MP3 players for those of us that don't want to be taxed.

  28. Darren Lingham

    Too Slow

    The music industry was basically behind the times and got caught with its pants down with the internet revolution. They're now paying for years of over indulgences and corporate wastefulness - including the many layers of middle management and the extravagant contracts given to artists... as well as the lack of investment in finding new talent.

    Myspace Music is a treasure trove of up-and-coming bands; yet musical innovation in the charts has been poor for some time now. Why aren't record companies giving these plethora of bands an outlet for their music, when Apple, via Itunes, is happy to sell almost anything?

  29. Charles Kemp

    The music business

    I buy cds and rip them to mp3s then my cds go in to the safe and or never used unless I get a corrupted files or loose a drive. I never have more than 1 album or song un use at a time. This is a bunch of crap that I must pay twice. And it is a reason that I research with artist are complaining and are the activist on this process and I WILL not buy or listen the their music.


  30. Jon

    better than paying student fees to these people!

    At least people with ipods play music. What scares me more is the labels thinking that all students must be sharing the cr*p music currently in the chart thefore part of the student fee is to go to the labels to support mediocre artists drug habbits.

  31. Steven Jones

    Format Shifting etc.

    There is one type of formatting shifting in the UK and that is for broadcast TV as the law was explicitly changed to allow it. However, it is only allowed for so-called time-shifting, and not making permanent, archival copies. Of course that is completely unenforceable, and it's a good job that some people ignored it or even more BBC programmes of the 1960s and 1970s would have been lost for ever due to the corporation's policy of wiping an reusing tapes.

    As far as format shifting music onto MP3 players go, well it isn't explicitly allowed by law and the copyright terms on CDs are such that they do not permit any form of copying at all. That does mean that there is a breach of copyright in transferring to a PC or MP3, at least in theory. Of course the beauty (and some of the unpredictability) of common law is that this would actually have to be upheld in court and it is open to a suitably senior court to "clarify" the rules in a common-sense manner.

    I actually had a deal of sympathy for the plight of many musicians, although not some of the big-names. Commercial music is a feast for famine game. A very few make obscene amounts of money, whilst most get by on scraps. In real terms recorded music fans get a vastly better deal than before; the costs of CDs are often not much more than the price of a couple of bottles of beer in a major music venue (and as everybody knows, beer is rented and not bought). They also have flexibility of where they listen and when in a way never possible before. Even a legitimately purchased CD is often copied onto several family MP3 players, PCs and the like.

    The principle of a capacity-based charge for MP3 players is not necessarily wrong as such, it's the practicalities that are the problem. FIrst is who sets the price, second is what about the multi-purpose devices (there might be a case for a per-GB charge for dedicated MP3 players, but how could that be justified for hard disks which may not be used for that purpose at all). Finally, there is the little problem of distribution of the revenues - who gets them and by what formula?

    In all it's a conundrum, and there are far to many people that don't recognise the real plight of many musicians and continue to think that free access to their creations is a right.

  32. sleepy

    Watermarking should do it.

    The problem is that format shifting and replication is precisely what the so called music industry was set up to do, but they are now entirely redundant for that purpose. Artists can easily set up their own recording studios, and consumers can easily "press" unlimited perfect copies of music. Perhaps the music biz should be paying us for doing their work for them.

    With watermarking and a bit of prosecution of those who sell bootleg copies or distribute their personal copies freely, it remains for consumers to simply pay for the convenience of getting a copy when they feel the urge. In fact this can easily keep successful artists in mansions, cocaine and limos; it's just redundant "industry" execs whinging.

    How about some protection for the computer business? The price we get for the same goods has fallen far, far further that the price the music biz gets for their product. I remember 33 pence (well, 6/9d) buying a single, and £17000 buying 1MB of disk storage. Today the single sells for about double, but costs nothing to make, but the storage sells for far less than one ten thousandth the original price, and still costs something to make.

  33. John Macintyre
    Thumb Down

    2 things

    1) @ justin - the ipod tax applies to players, not music. even if they added the tax the intention is not to change the cost of the music, so it won't directly affect illegal downloads

    2) of course this is just a sneaky way to get the tax through the door. once in, you get people like the story earlier - - which means your downloads get taxed. That will increase illegal downloads, though it comes down to how much. if the cost of an mp3 rises from 79p to 89p will anyone stop downloading? I doubt it. push it over £1 then it probably will

    I'm sure the words 'more tax' will mean the labour party will jump at approving it, no doubt being labour it'll come into practice by 5pm tonight

  34. Michael Compton


    Umm is that not the current situation with the big label music industry :)

  35. Dave

    Don't let them

    mess with your UK copyright laws, or you might wind up with something as bad as our DMCA. The pols might give you little people's opinions a few seconds of thought, but they give their full attention to the Industry. Or at least, that's how it works here in the good-old USA, maybe it's different over there.

  36. Dave

    I know nothing

    From many years working in a record shop and dealing with these parasites (they are...they make their living off of someone else's ideas and talent) it is my understanding that when you buy a cd or other format what you are actually paying for is a copyright license to the music on the cd for personal use, the cd is merely the media that they use for you to obtain the items you have purchased a license for.

    Therefore if I have a license I should be entitled to use the media on the cd any way I see fit as long as it is personal.

    Changing the rules after the game has started? Bad music industry...go stand in the corner

  37. Anonymous Coward

    So it's already paid for?

    So I've paid for the content via an extra tax on my ipod (other devices are available)?

    Cool, off to the pirate bay I go, if it's already paid for, I can't be doing no wrong ;-)

  38. Anonymous Coward

    When is enough enough?

    Just how far will people let the music industry go with these double standards money grab? At what point will this taking the piss find itself answerable?

    Lets not fool ourselves or be deluded by one point though, the money... these taxes one would pay and most of the money people already do pay, you'd be lucky if the artist gets even 5% of it, it'll mostly be the label execs scouring up money for the purchase of their next private gold plated liner cruise.

  39. Red Bren

    @AC - Re: Stagecoach

    But Stagecoach also run trains, so its more like them asking you to buy both a train ticket and a bus ticket, regardless of which type of vehicle you travel on. This is a ridiculous idea that reputable companies like Sony would never stoop to. Like selling you a CD player and an MP3 player and insisting you but the same music twice from them to play it on each format. Oh wait...

  40. Anonymous Coward

    A much SIMPLER answer ...

    would be to declare that the seller of any CD or similar is required to deliver along with the product a free licence for the current legal owner to make non-profit copies in any chosen medium and to keep them for as long as they own the original.

    People shouldn't be asked to pay a second time to re-use something they've ALREADY paid for.

  41. Bronek Kozicki

    as long as levy is reasonably small and money goes to artists ...

    ... I would support the idea. Still, outlawing format shifting was bad decision in the first place and this only goes to slightly reverse effect of that bad decision. It does not go far enough. In my personal belief format shifting is covered by fair use, thus is legal no matter what greedy corporation lawyers say. There is also issue of video formats conversion, which in next few years will raise in priority - when folks start converting their (legally purchased) HD DVD collections to Bluray Disc.

  42. James Dunmore
    Thumb Down

    Why not....

    ....Have a slice of my TV Tax, sorry I mean license.

    What next - Tax buskers, Tax people listening too buskers. Sorry, even better, Tax people sitting next to people on the train with their mp3players too loud !!

  43. Dennis

    How about ....

    Why doesn't the music industry simply buy Apple and Samsung and Motorola and every other company that makes an MP3 player. Then simply close down the MP3 player production lines. No more MP3 players. Problem solved.

  44. Mark

    Re: Re: I thought I already was legally allowed to format shift.

    Well copyright is a civil tort and so any damages must be proven (at least when the law was written, there's no money in giving ordinary people rights, they can't pay for them). And if you're copying for personal use, there's no loss provable.

    Also format shifting is estopped anyway. Sony is boned big time because they've sold ATRAC and MP3 players when there WERE no MP3 or ATRAC stores, so the only way to get music on them was to format shift. And they sold it with software to copy CDs, tapes and records to them.


    And if they put a tax on, I'll take them to the small claims court for the cost of the item purchased because they are

    a) estopped from asking for payment (the fee)

    b) fraudulently enriching themselves (which is a crime)

  45. Richard Porter
    Thumb Down

    They just won't give up!

    We had all this before with the tape levy proposal. Now they're trying the same money-grabbing tactics with other media. People can use MP3 players for playing their own music or recorded speech for which they own the copyright so they shouldn't be forced to pay the music companies when purchasing media or equipment.

    The idea that you can make a different charge depending on capacity is daft. What about MP3 players which take memory cards? You could buy the player without any memory, and get the card separately. Would they want a royalty on all memory cards, microdrives, hard discs... Where would it end?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    April Fool

    This is an late April Fool yes? Shirley they cannot be serious? Oh wait, they are music "execs" (executable?) and so they aren't joking.

    Oh well, another stupid law in the making.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Deja vu

    ... remember the blank tape "levy" of the 80s ? (Which never happened either)

  48. Spleen
    Jobs Horns

    "music fans clearly deserve legal clarity"

    You know, I can barely go to sleep at night for worrying about legal clarity. Thanks music industry!

    Legal clarity is exactly what a music tax doesn't give. Quite the opposite. Legal clarity is when you buy something and then it's yours, and you can do with it what you like, like you have when you buy a dishwasher or a loaf of bread. If I'm not allowed to move my music from one format to another without paying a charge or a tax, what else am I not allowed to do that I used to think I was? Can I still use software to turn the volume up on tracks that come out too quiet? Can I still share the music with someone else by lending or sharing earphones or do I need a "second listener" licence a la car insurance? Absurd rhetorical questions? No, that's legal doubt, doubt I wouldn't have if the music industry hadn't embarked on this crusade to make me pay for something I ALREADY PAID FOR.

    What else do they have up their sleeve? I came up with two possibilities in one minute of writing, and I'm not a team of paid lawyers. They have more ideas. Be 100% certain of that.

  49. Bronek Kozicki

    some relevant links to parties directly involved

    this is government side of the story and this is corporate side

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Copyright lasts to long

    Copyright law is far to generous to the "artist". If you invent a cure for cancer you get exclusive rights for your invention for 20 years. If on the other hand someone writes a song about your invention they get exclusive rights to the song for their lifetime plus 50 years. The length of a copyright should be severely curtailed, but unfortunately this will never happen.

  51. Chad H.

    Any Media tax is inheritly unfair to artists.

    I dont know how any record company can claim with a straight face that a media tax is fair to artists.

    I mean, who decides on the split? Do you use the Top 40/Billboard Charts? Are the folks buying the recording media a representative sample size of top 40 buyers? Or are they more likely to by niche items?

    What if I never use my MP3 player to play music? What if I use it for Audiobooks? What if I use it to learn a forigen language, is it fair that money is being given to music artists for what is clearly an unsupplied product?

    The Music industries current business model might be flawed, but this is even more flawed.

  52. Edward

    Obviously Unfair to FLDS!

    Such taxes would obviously be unfair to fundamentalist polygamist sects like the FLDS- they are only allowed to listen to the sermons of their imprisoned leader on their iPods. If they had to pay this tax, they would be forced to support evil heathen satan-spawn musicians!!!!

  53. Spearbox

    Brilliant stuff this....

    Seeing as it's about the ipod, time for piratebay to create an mp3 player in sealand, or the equivalent and sell it to the masses with no tax! Hurrah?

    All this news, it's starting to really really end up being pretty bad PR for the music industry? Have their marketting and PR teams that they probably pay millions for ventured out into the world on a holiday and never returned? Looks that way. Otherwise rediculous proposals would have been nailed on the head before it even had the subject line added onto the email.

    Fools. on it's way to a town near you!

  54. Alan Paul

    Format Shifting Promotes Sales

    Well, it does in my case. Without being able to rip CDs and play them on my Sansa when on the move, I wouldn't buy around 90% of the music I do, as there simply wouldn't be enough time to ever listen to it all.

    There's also the issue that the player has podcasts on it, and music that I created myself, and I use it occasionally as a portable data drive....

  55. A J Stiles


    This is extortion, plain and simple.

    Format shifting is ALREADY among your statutory rights -- it's called "fair dealing". It is a defence to a charge of copyright infringement that you were dealing fairly with the material.

    If you are ever up on such a charge, insist to be tried in Crown Court. The jury is your friend. Where are they going to find twelve people, eleven of whom have never taped an LP or CD to listen in the car? Once you are acquitted, other people up on similar charges can cite your case as precedent. (There's a minuscule possibility that you could be sent down; but this would have consequences whose most probable outcome, barring the complete downfall of the government, would be formal legalisation and a royal pardon.)

    The fatal flaw in this plan is the difficulty of getting to court in the first place. Possession of illegally-copied cassettes and CDs is generally only ever used as leverage to get a search warrant for a fishing expedition. When something juicier comes to light, the original taping is soon forgotten. If home taping is the only thing the police have against you, then you can expect a long wait for your appointment with the beak -- and the evidence to go walkies in the meantime.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    This is why I will never buy music again

    Those scum sucking b@$t@rd$. The only hope left is for the entire music industy to collapse upon itself and rise from the ashes anew. I just can't believe these greedy pigs they have got to be making 10x the money they used to make. I mean what costs more to them: Manufacturing a CD and sending it stores for sale or putting an MP3 on server for purchase?

    Just cause they were late to the party and didn't think digital music was for real that's their problem not ours. I am sick of hearing this Tax needed to help compansate the artists blah blah blah hey well maybe you shouldn't have been ripping them off to begin with.

  57. gothicform

    Format Shifting and the Law

    It *is* unlawful to rip your cds to mp3s however only in a civil sense of the matter. Damages are determined during copyright infringement cases based on the harm done by them... in this case the harm is zero pence so they could get a judgement against you but no damages which makes the whole process rather pointless.

    The law did work fine the way it was because people never worried about things that had no harm, but now they seem to understand the letter of the law rather than the spirit of it. As record companies have become so utterly stupid perhaps the law needs to be changed (it's already bad because the damages for commercial copyright infringement are the same as non commercial copyright infringement).

  58. Anonymous Coward

    Looking forward to it...

    ...because when my iPod tax is paid (for what, £10, £20 extra?), then this must surely mean I have just paid for all the music in the world and I am now legally allowed to fill it with 80 Gb of Pirate Bay. Sounds like a bargain, no?

  59. Liam
    Thumb Down


    am i right in thinking that i'm still being charged additional tax on blank cds as they seem to think all CDs are for pirating purposes :(

    this is just theft - pure and simple - as said before i also have a lot of my vinyl ON CD - THEN MP3 - i used to dj a lot so why should i have to pay more for this??

    the problem is that our government are simply wet - and uninformed :(

    imho we all stop buying music - everyone get on mininova - let them dissappear up their own corporate fat arses.

    if format shifting is illegal isnt M$ et al breaking the law by supplying methods of ripping music?

  60. g e
    Paris Hilton

    They need only do two things to make things right...

    !. Wake up and smell the coffee

    2. Fuck off and die from Ebola

    I think the musicians will still manage to get heard (and importantly, paid) without these utter cocks pretending they're somehow giving the muso's a living.

    Paris cos even SHE can get seen and heard when people would rather she didn't.

  61. IR

    I know where they got the idea

    I know where they got the idea. All these dumb teenagers buy a CD, then want the song on their phone as a ringtone, so they pay twice the cost of a legal mp3 (of a song they already own) to get a 30 second version.

    If people are dumb enough to pay more for less of something they already have, then getting them to pay more for the right to make a low-quality version of a CD must be even easier.

    I notice that they haven't said how they plan to divide up their new tax money with the small independent labels. Something tells me that only the fattest pigs will be eating from that trough.

  62. Mark Scott


    I use my iPod for podcasts only - listening to it whilst walking and on the bus to and from work every day. Why podcasts? Because it's 1 hr 40 minutes a day and podcasts are always different - I'd have to have an awful lot of music to give me 8 1/3 hours of variety a week. I don't want the player to be taxed - I have already paid for the podcasts because they are from the BBC and I am a UK TV licence payer.

    Charges on CDs are unfair - you might not transcode it - and charges on players are unfair - again, you might not be transcoding from anything. Clearly, there needs to be an alternative solution taking payment at the point of transcoding, or no charge at all.

  63. A J Stiles

    @ Ringtones

    I always thought that "paid-for" ringtones were a stupidity tax for people who couldn't work out how to use the sound recorder on their mobile.

    Again, making a ringtone from a CD you own is probably fair dealing, because only a small portion is reproduced (after the first couple of bars, you are going to answer the phone) and this is unlikely to be enough to count as copyright infringement.

  64. Walter McCann

    Not the point

    The music industry has got it all wrong, the problem is a lack of decent material - the stuff that is being produced today has little to no artistic merit - it is all about hype (as a result Xfactor type program, Louis Walsh type bands etc), It is all manufactured music (and they would make it in china if they could get away with it).

    As a result, people buy fewer CD's (I have a collection of 500+ CD's bought over the years, but I have probably bought only 10 disks in the last 8 years!!!!!)

    So we have what is called in Ireland "Dublin Bus Economics" - Dublin Bus used to put up the prices everytime it's passenger numbers fell, thus causing it's passenger numbers to fall further etc etc..... In this case we have a worsening product being sold to fewer people for a higher price..

    Rhetorical question: How many bands that formed in the last 5 years will be around in 30 year???? - I suspect probably 0 but maybe 1 at most.

    I lived in Germany in the mid 1990's and there the music industry anounced that they were going to raise the price of CD's to 50DM (approx 25 euro) as they felt the market could support that. They never got over 30 as surprise surprise sales started dropping.....

    Another issue is the amount they pay big bands - the invest a huge amount of capital upfront into bands that might or might not pay off - REM went through years of producing rubbish until Accelerate!!!

    So over priced junk, and paying too much to artists is the music industry's fundamental problem, they can complain about mp3 players etc etc but until they sort these things out "the only way is down baby"

    My 2 cents worth...

  65. scott

    We need more levies

    1. I want to see a software levy. Lots more software gets illegally copied than Garth Brooks.

    2. I want to see a news levy. Lots of people read the news online, robbing the news industry of revenue.

    Lets get some things straight.The UK is actually one of the few places in Europe which doesn’t have a levy.There is pressure to make *not* charging a levy, and attempting to circumvent it, a *criminal* offence across Europe. Be sure of one thing– it will come to the UK.

    In sunny Belgium, where I reside, I pay 2.20 euro per month on my cable connection as “levy” for just having the infrastructure which would allow me to illegally copy content. With that levy, I have no additional rights – i.e I still have to buy a CD or DVD, and downloading off of BitTorrent could well see fully armed cops breaking down my door and hauling me off to jail

    I also pay about 60 cents levy – separate from the 21% VAT – for a blank single sided DVD; yes – that’s a lot more than the manufacturing cost of a DVD. Hence I don’t buy blank DVDs in Belgium. Note – it is illegal for me to order blank media from the UK for instance without paying the levy.

    For 2006, the levy netted Auvibel about 25 million Euros. Remember, that’s just Belgium.

    I hate the music industry, and have done the vast majority of my adult life. I don’t buy CDs, or download (legally or otherwise) music. My hatred of the music industry is so strong, I don’t actually *listen* to much music (that and there’s next to no modern music I like). I will on occasion go to a live concert.

    Yet, the audio/video industry has successfully managed to gouge about 10% of the pre-tax cost of my internet connection. So, gun toting, homophobic, drug taking, child molesting no-talent “stars” and their fat cat media conglomerates can rest easy – the gravy train is gonna keep on rollin….

    Personally, I’d rather have a “news” levy. I’ve stopped buying newspapers as I get my daily fix from the free online versions. The newspapers have clearly suffered as I now get for free content I used to have to pay for. And as the “press” is a cornerstone of democracy – it makes infinitely more sense than a levy on recordable media.

    Oh, and as an IT professional – I want to see a code levy. Shed loads of software gets illegally copied; more than music/video by unit cost I’d say. In 50 years time, when I’m in my rocking chair – I want to see the money rolling in for that one-hit wonder code I wrote back in the 90s!

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Digital Rights

    If the record industry (and if this goes ahead, I?m sure that the film industry will want their share as I have a couple of DVD's copied to my iPod) wants to charge us for transferring the music from one format to another, surely they are getting into the realms of selling us the rights to the music. Therefore if I have an accident with a CD, they should be required to replace it (at no cost to me) as I have purchased the right to listen to the music, independent of format, and not just brought a CD that I currently have to replace if I gets damaged.

    Also, if a new format is launched e.g. Blueray I should be able to upgrade at minimal cost as I have already paid for the right to watch/listen to the material. This could be a good thing for the consumer, although I doubt that the industry will go this far.

  67. Ronny Cook

    @Too Slow

    "...including the many layers of middle management and the extravagant contracts given to artists..."

    Most artists get peanuts, basically. You need to be consistently in the top 40 to have a chance at any decent money.

    This is because the payment to the artists usually has a boatload of expenses deducted from it. So a million dollar advance will have recording studio fees, touring expenses, and so on deducted. In the end the artists are lucky to break even while the distributor makes a mint.


  68. Mark

    Re: Not the point

    I don't really think that music has gotten worse. What is happening is that what music is marketed is based solely on what's a safe bet.

    In the 80's there was a LOT of complete and utter crap. In my estimation, it was crap. But the variety of what was available was huge so there was also some fabulous stuff there too. In my estimation.

    However, the stuff I thought crap was loved by someone else and what I thought great was their cruddy pap.

    Now there's no longer the real depths of awfulness but then again, there's nothing of sublime beauty either. And what remains is mere pablum. Everyone can listen to it but there's no deviation. So when you've heard one boy band ballad you've heard them all.

    When something "new" turns up, it's played to death. Duffy was quite good and I enjoyed listening to it on the radio. For the first twenty or so times. Now I reckon I have no need to buy the CD at all because it's been played so much. And when it's been so long since it was played I'll be thinking "well, I liked it, maybe I ought to buy the CD so I can hear it again" it's no longer produced. Because the return on investment isn't high enough.

    So it isn't that there's only crap on, but that there's only mediocre on and after a while it ALL seems to be crap. We used to have stuff rated 0-10 (crap to fantastic). Now we get a range of rates 4-7 (meh to meh).

  69. Darren Lovell
    Paris Hilton

    Stupidest thing I ever heard and I've heard Paris Hilton speak

    So what about people who actually pay for their music legitimately (FTR, I'm not a paytard)? Firstly, they'll be paying a tax for an MP3 player to ensure record companies/recording "artists" get their royalty/cut just in case he or she who buys the MP3 player pirates their music; then when they pay for the track/album, the record companies and recording "artists" get yet another royalty/cut.

    The only people who'll benefit from such a stupid idea will be the record companies and the recording "artists". Obviously, paytards i.e. those doing the "right thing" will be the losers.

    Surely this proves that no good deed ever goes unpunished.

    What's next? Will DVD/Blu-Ray players/games consoles/TV sets/computers* be taxed even further to ensure that the motion picture companies/video game developer/satellite TV providers/software devlopers* are paid whatever royalty are entitled to?

    * delete as appropriate

    Paris because even she would be hard pressed to suggest something so stupid.

  70. Steven Foster


    Pure and simple. Another ridiculous idea by a ridiculous group of middlemen.

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