Is it now OK to do piracy in Slovenia?

On 20th of October 2006 the Slovene government imposed an act of self reproduction compensation reproduction for personal use. Actually I don't know the proper English term so I'll describe what it is about.

The government wants us to pay some sort of compensation (tax) for every amount of storage we buy to compensate the damage to the authors done by piracy. This tax is applicable for all sorts of media: CD, DVD, tapes(what's that?) and other. There is more, even devices are included: hard drives, CD/DVD drives, tape recorders, video recorders, photocopy machines, mobile phones(!!!) etc. The tax is valued as €0.033 (or $0.04) per gigabyte of storage (and by some other mean for devices that don't have storage).

I am sure that's beautiful for the authors (or for the greedy government?). However, what does it mean for an user

  1. that uses licensed software only: Great, I am just buying a new computer with 4x320Gb hard drives and a DVD drive. That roughly means 4*€320*0.033 + €0.8 =~ €43. I am using licensed software only and paying for a piracy compensation. Does this mean I can use pirated software now? I paid for its compensation afterall.
  2. that uses non-licensed software: User pays for piracy now - is the piracy legitimate now?

Every (stupid - isn't it a requirement for politicians?) politician here has full mouth of e-[everything]. According to them we are going to be the most advanced/developed e-country by 2023 or something, yet they can't care less in reality. I strongly doubt that they even understand what e- means - it sounds nice and attracts crowds though.

So, while they have full e-mouths they keep adding taxes to devices and storage media. Aren't they supposed to lower the tax pressure and as consequence the prices instead of adding taxes to legitimate users?

What is the next step? We could get a stupid politician damage compensation: we would pay a tax when we vote to compensate the citizens for the damage done by elected politicians.

Anyway, since I am an author of my applications I'll apply for compensation...

Comments (7) -

  • Mladen

    10/27/2006 12:02:58 PM | Reply

    I was wondering the same thing.

    This kind of legalises having the emuled MP3's and movies on your disk.

    I'm thinking about starting to sell the movies
    in the paper adds Smile)

    hey i paid for the pireacy compensation. Smile

  • Matija Lah

    10/27/2006 12:47:02 PM | Reply

    First of all, the term is "reproduction for personal use". "Self reproduction" would be something entirely different, more of a biological thing, if you know what I mean.

    No, piracy is not legalised (what a nice oximoron that would make). However, there are other more significant implications that should be made more apparent to the general public.

    The Slovenian Constitution declares the presumption of innocence (i.e. "innocent until proven guilty") and the right to a free trial as two elementary human rights, while on the other hand this new law presumes we are all guilty without a trial.

    There is a catch though - both these rights stand in place unless declared otherwise by law. There have already been several discussions among legal experts of whether the new law is in fact in breach of the Constitution. I say - let's wait and see.

  • Miha Markic

    10/27/2006 2:16:52 PM | Reply

    Hi Matija,

    Thanks for the correction and for the lawyers point of view.
    "this new law presumes we are all guilty without a trial" - isn't this a trend set by the most democratic and righteous nation? Hopefully we won't get beaten in the process.

    Another point would be: if I buy now and pay this stupid tax. What happens if the tax is declared unconstitutional (and it should be) - will i get the refound of refound back?

  • Miha

    10/27/2006 2:27:24 PM | Reply

    Miha, in that case, what happens when you get something out of it as an author? Do they than take that away from you? Smile

    Is this "tax" already in-place? And if so, does it show up on your bill, or is it something the store has to "deduct"?

    Miha

  • Miha Markic

    10/27/2006 2:55:36 PM | Reply

    Miha,

    I have no idea what happens in the case when I get something out of it. However, note, that it is very unlikely that I'll get something out of it.
    AFAIK the tax should be in place since 20th of october and I have absolutely no idea how does it show on the bill - I guess the price is higher without explanation and store has to forward the tax somewhere. I'll get one invoice next week for my 4 HDDs and I'll carefully look into - on the online invoice there is no mentioning of this tax.

  • Matija Lah

    11/11/2006 9:15:51 PM | Reply

    If the Constitutional Court decides that a law is unconstitutional then the most likely outcome would be that a new law will be passed, and refunds are going to be made - perhaps even with interest. Full refunds should be provided by the state (i.e. the tax payers) and any unlawful gains returned, but more likely (as histroy shows) the new law will provide no reimbursements.

    Currently, there is great controversy in the EU on this subject - after all, this new law is not based on any indigenous Slovenian know-how, but rather the result of yet another legislative copy/paste operation.

    I say - let's wait and see. The trouble is - most of us can't wait.

  • Miha Markic

    11/12/2006 11:35:39 AM | Reply

    I just saw a reader's (from a guy involved in this crap) post in latest paper edition of Mladina that states that the price won't be changed, just taxes will be redirected. That's a bit better but still... About Constitutional Court in Slovenia - I don't think they have any power. Politicians don't follow its decision if it doesn't suite them.

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