Apple Raises iPad Prices in Germany to Cover a New “You Must be a Pirate” Tax

I hope German consumers got their iPad last year, because Apple raised the prices in Germany for its iDevices on Friday.

The gadget maker told the AP today that it had increased the prices to cover the cost of newly assessed private copyright levy. According to Bitkom, the new levy, or more correctly the new tax, adds between five and six euros to the price of smartphones sold in Germany, and between seven and nine euros to the price of a tablet like the iPad.

Apple Raises iPad Prices in Germany to Cover a New "You Must be a Pirate" Tax Apple Taxes

The private copyright levy is a tax charged to consumers when they buy media and electronics capable of making copies. The idea was pioneered in Germany in 1965, and has since spread to most of Europe, Canada, and other parts of the world. It originally applied to cassette tapes, but has since been expanded to include external hard disks, storage media like flash drives, CD-Rs, computers (in Germany, at least), and now mobile devices.

The amount collected, and the devices affected, vary from one country to the next. Spain, for example, repealed its private copying levy in 2012, only to decide to pay the tax out of its own coffers. Finland followed suit this year, and the UK does not collect a levy. The French private copying levy, on the other hand, raised €208 million in 2013, and represents almost 60% of the total collected in the European Union.

Also known as the "you must be a pirate" tax, in many countries the private copyright levy is paid to collection societies with the ostensible goal of compensating creators for the piracy copying that is assumed to be going on.

Apple Raises iPad Prices in Germany to Cover a New "You Must be a Pirate" Tax Apple Taxes

However, due to the archaic nature of the tax, in many places it is still intended to compensate music and film creators, and not book authors (probably because books were so late to go digital). Also, since the fees are sent to collection societies like Gema, there's serious question as to whether creators actually benefit from the tax.

The many inconsistencies, as well as the dubious benefits, has emboldened some to push for the European Union to junk the private copying levy, or at least harmonize it across the EU.

That is still a work in progress, however.

Macrumors, AP

image by avaragadojuanpol

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

6 Comments

  1. Darryl3 January, 2016

    Remarkable! What a great example of having your cake and eating it to! Apple devices are so locked down and so oriented towards forcing legal purchases on ITunes that I suspect piracy on Apple platforms is probably about as minimal as it ever gets. A fantastic marketing and distribution tool to sell your products online, plus a levy on users! The only fly in the ointment for content providers is the dubious prospects of getting anything or at least anything significant from these so-called collection societies.

    It is about time this nonsense stopped.

    Reply
  2. aus4 January, 2016

    Darryl, have you ever used an Apple device? I have multiple Apple and Android devices and never use use iTunes or Apple Music.

    Reply
  3. rtz8h4 January, 2016

    To clarify a misconception about the levy: its is not collected to compensate for illegal copying but for legal copying, since law allows certain kinds of legal private copies. Whether this particular collection mechanism fits into the digital age is debatable, of course. By the way, in Germany at least, such a levy also applies to photocopiers and printers, since these can also be used to make legal private copies. That said, the levy certainly deserves all the bashing it regularly receives whenever it is expanded to new devices.

    Reply
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