1cc Blog


May 2024

Copyright Levies for Game Consoles – the next step

On 15 , May 2024 | In | By Wolfram Kühn

A raid – this is how one reporter describes the publication of new copyright levies for games consoles, digital toys with integrated memory, virtual reality, data glasses with integrated memory ,and media centres ("high-performance multimedia hard drives" or NAS in Austria). From a factual point of view, this is not an inaccurate description of the process. Without prior negotiations and with quite surprising content, the responsible collecting society is claiming very high tariffs for new product categories. With this package of new copyright levies, the Austrians have created uncertainty for companies in many respects.

Since February, manufacturers and retailers have had to pay copyright levies of up to almost 70 euros for games consoles, video glasses and large storage media. However, it is not only the amount of the levies that is astonishing. Even after the necessary product categorisation, the new tariffs cannot be integrated into the processes – as is usually the case with tariff adjustments or other changes. This is because these claims are questionable in several respects:

  • Firstly, the claim is not entirely unexpected. 1cc only recently reported that there is movement in this area. The technical nature of consoles and their typical use, i.e. the gameplay, allow private copies to be made. Nevertheless, there were and are good reasons why game consoles and data glasses are not covered by the levy. This applies to Austria and other countries, and there are explicit special arrangements for products that can copy, store and reproduce, but are not typically used to make private copies.
  • Secondly, the new claim break through a tried and tested system of negotiation. Until now, the industry and rights holders have worked out a common understanding and approach. As in other countries, the result of the negotiations are contracts that give both sides legal and planning security for a longer period of time. However, the current new tariffs are claims outside this system and even contradict existing agreements. Companies must therefore decide individually how to respond to the claim. Depending on the risk assessment, different approaches appear advisable.

An arbitration procedure is currently underway between industry representatives and collecting societies regarding the new claims. This gives companies some time to plan how to proceed. This primarily includes obtaining data on the company's products and distribution channels, as well as relevant information on the tariff calculation and reporting obligations.


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