Vodafone no longer pays home copying levy to Stichting Thuiskopie

Vodafone wants clarity about the private copying levy and the amount thereof. Until that time, the telecom provider only pays part of the levy to Stichting Thuiskopie. The other part is kept and possibly returned to customers.

From now on, Vodafone will pay only part of the home copying levy charged to consumers to Stichting Thuiskopie. The company does not want to say how much Vodafone pays exactly. The reason is that a judge in a case brought by Acer ruled that that company only had to calculate half of the private copying levy.

Until it is clear whether this also applies to Vodafone, the company will only pay a part. The money that is not paid out to the Thuiskopie Foundation is deposited into a special account. Should Vodafone indeed have to pay less private copying levy, the money will go back to the consumers. If not, the Thuiskopie Foundation will receive the remaining money. That writes Vodafone CEO Rob Shuter in a blog post. Since last year, private copying levies have to be paid on telephones, among other things, of a maximum of five euros.

The same happens with the private copying levy that Vodafone charges business customers. Last year, a judge ruled that the Thuiskopie Foundation may not charge a fee on blank discs supplied to professional users. “Can we spare our business customers? Can the consumer levy be lowered? Until there is clarity, we have chosen our own course,” writes Shuter.

Vodafone wants clarity about the private copying levy and whether the amount is correct. That may take a while; Earlier this month, the Advocate General of the European Court ruled that the private copying levy cannot be used as legitimacy for legal downloading from ‘evidently illegal source’. If the European Court adopts that conclusion, this will have consequences for the amount of the levy, but it could take another year before a judgment is reached.

“Of course we fully support compensating rights holders. Only the implementation is rather lacking,” writes Shuter. The company promises to treat the money withheld well. “We don’t build antennas from it. We reserve it for the moment when there is finally clarity from the judge.”

Update, 16:15: Vodafone says it will not make any statements about how much it pays to Stichting Thuiskopie. The piece has been adapted accordingly.