On the 17th of December, the Belgian citizens (like me) had the “good” surprise from our Minister (certainly not a X-mas gift)! A Royal Decree was published in the “Moniteur” about the tax on the private copy of digital data.
From now (or from 1st of January, I suppose), when you buy a device with any type of storage (multimedia systems MP3/MP4 players, mobile phones, USB sticks, hard-drives, etc), you’ll have to pay a fixed amount of money based on the storage capacity! Example for an external hard-drive:
- 1,30â‚¬ <= 256 GB;
- 6,75â‚¬ >= 256 GB and <= 1 TB;
- 9,00â‚¬ > 1 TB;
All the details are available here (in French). My goal is certainly not to revive the endless debate about copies of copyrighted data. I just have some questions: Why do I have to pay some Euros to perform my regular backups (e-mails, documents, etc)? Why assume that my data are always copyrighted? In law, one speaks of “presumption of innocence”. Why are all Belgian citizens seen as potential thieves? Today, basic security for home users is to perform regular backups of their data and they need storage! (more and more)
In my humble opinion, like cars and fuel, the digital devices are now part of our daily life and became a excellent source of extra-revenue for the authorities but, fortunately, it’s easy to buy online or from foreign countries. There are still good places to make shopping! I’m puzzled… not sure that the digital landscape will change…