By: Gigaom
December 10, 2012 at 13:20 PM EST
European rights holders want levies on Dropbox, Google Drive
Consumers in Austria could be forced to pay rights holders for accessing cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive, if an authors' rights group has its way. The plan is being vehemently opposed by a group of CE makers and internet companies.

Austrian rights holders group IG Autoren made waves this past weekend with a statement that suggests it wants to broadly expand levies on storage media. Consumers in Austria already pay levies on blank CDs and DVDs. Rights holders have been advocating to expand these kinds of fees to hard drives and other forms of storage media as well, and apparently aren’t just thinking about local storage. In its newspaper, IG Autoren wrote:

“We not only want a hard disc levy, we also want a levy for the usage of the cloud.”

The statement got a lot of attention after it got picked up by a coalition opposing any kinds of levies on storage media that was founded in October by CE makers and internet companies like Apple, Nokia and Sony. The coalition is arguing that these kinds of levies lead to a double-taxation of consumers who already pay for their media, and that it harms local businesses.

Rights holders on the other hand point to Germany, where levies are already in effect. German consumers currently pay €13.65 ($17.66) for every PC and between €7 and €9 for external hard drives. However, there is no fee for cloud storage services in Germany.

Image courtesy of Flickr user sushi♥ina.

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