Reasons for Vitorino’s recommendations on private copying and reprography levies: establishment of the level of tariffs

It can take several years to decide whether a given category of devices should be subject to a levy, and if so, what its level should be. Furthermore, the payment may reach rightholders only a long time after a given product is put on the market and the ‘harm’ has occurred.

The process of tariff setting should be conducted under the auspices of national authorities. The latter should not intervene unless it becomes evident that an agreement is impossible. In such instances, however, Member States should assume the responsibility for taking decisions (on an interim or final basis), as this is the only way to avoid legal uncertainty and ensure the effectiveness of the whole process.

The different legal traditions in Member States result in a variety of procedures for setting levies and, in line with the principle of subsidiarity, practical modalities should be left to Member States. It is necessary to apply some general minimum standards:

1) In the case of a new product being introduced on the market, the decision as to the applicability of levies should be taken within 1 month following its introduction. The provisional level of tariffs applicable should be determined not later than within 3 months following its introduction.

2) The ultimate level of the applicable levy should, to the extent possible, not be superior to the one imposed temporarily. If nevertheless this were the case, the resulting difference should be payable gradually and could be split into several instalments.

3) The final tariff applicable to a given product should be agreed or set within 6 months period from its introduction on the market.

Ensure more coherence with regard to the process of setting levies by providing a procedural framework that would reduce complexity, guarantee objectiveness and ensure the observance of strict time-limits.