Dutch to tax PVRs and tablets

October 29, 2012 11.25 Europe/London By Robert Briel

The Dutch government is introducing a ‘home copying’ tax levy on all devices capable of recording sound and video content.

From January 1, 2013, a charge of €5 will be introduced on each new device sold, which includes PVRs, hard disk recorders, PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Hard drive recorders will only be charged on devices of 190GB or more.

The levy is charged in order to compensate ‘losses’ for the audio-visual industry. Dutch authors rights organisation Buma/Stemra said it expects to collect €27 million during 2013 and claims this is by far not enough to compensate for the ‘losses’ caused by home copying.

The new tax is not meant for compensating illegal downloads, which is still ‘not illegal’ in the Netherlands. The income should compensate for ‘home copies’ that people make of their legally obtained audio and video content.

The tax will also be charged on all physical media, including USB sticks, writable DVDs and CDs, memory sticks, flash memory cards and the like.

Under the Dutch law, all storage devices are included. In France, only PVRs with an integrated hard disk were subject to taxation – leading to manufacturers making hard drives outside the PVR.