As reported RIA Novosti, Russian ministry of communication (Mincom) considers opportunity to impose more taxes on foreign companies providing their clients residing in Russia with its services. The chief of Mincom believes foreign internet companies should pay taxes at the place where the end customer resides. And it is not about Google and Apple. It should concern all foreign companies.
The current EU rules allow these institutions to carry out preservation, indexing and similar copying operations (through a “preservation exception”), to allow for consultation of materials on their premises for research or private study (based on a “consultation exception”), and, in the case of public libraries, to make physical loans (allowed by a “public lending exception”).
User Generated Content (UGC) is understood as referring to cases where a pre-existing work is taken by a user as a starting point for his/her own expression, modified or transformed in one way or another, and then made available online. It may also include the merging of two pre-existing works (“mash-ups”). The threshold may be lower than “a certain amount of creative effort”. It excludes the case of “mere upload”, where a user merely distributes on the internet (by uploading and sharing it) pre-existing works without having intervened in any way on the work. It also excludes “creation from scratch”, i.e. the case where a user creates a new work “from scratch”, without relying on a pre-existing work.
EU directives provide for a list of exceptions to rights and are at a limited level of harmonisation. In most cases, Member States are free to reflect them or not in their national legislation. This, combined with the broad formulation of many of the exceptions has resulted in rather heterogeneous implementation. An exception present in the law of a given country may not exist in a neighbouring country or be subject to very different conditions.
Legislation in force before the decision
According to Article 17 of the consolidated version of the Law on Intellectual Property (Texto Refundido de la Ley de Propiedad Intelectual; ‘TRLPI’) ‘[t]he author has exclusive rights of exploitation of his works regardless of their form and, in particular, reproduction rights …which cannot be exercised without his permission except in circumstances laid down in this Law’, and by the following articles which extend that reproduction right to other holders of intellectual property rights. Article 18 of the TRLPI specifies that reproduction means: ‘the fixation of the work on a medium which enables communication of the work and copying of the whole or part of the work’. In accordance with Article 5(2)(b) of Directive 2001/29, Article 31(1)(2) of the TRLPI provides that works which have already been circulated may be reproduced without the author’s permission for ‘private use by the copier without prejudice to Articles 25 and 99(a) of this Law, provided that usage of the copy is not collective or for profit’.
ASCAP became the first PRO in the world to announce record-breaking revenues of more than $1 billion for calendar year 2014. ASCAP also delivered historic high royalty distributions of over $883 million to its songwriter, composer and music publisher members, up $32.3 million, a nearly 4% increase from 2013. In addition to historical revenues and record breaking distributions to its members, the number of musical performances captured, identified, matched and processed for payment by ASCAP doubled from 250 billion in 2013 to 500 billion in 2014.
According to Vedomosti, such idea has been discussed at the meeting in administration of Russian president. But not only Google was under fire. Other foreign internet companies have been also considered as a target for new taxes. If EU wants more tax revenues from IT companies, why Russia should forget about similar opportunity? At the meeting participants have come to common opinion that Google and Apple certainly don’t pay enough taxes to Russian budget. When Russians buy apps, music or movies in such online store like AppStore, iTunes or GooglePlay, their payments are not imposed in Russia because they buy directly from foreign companies. Google pays taxes much less than Russian Yandex, for example.
In the light of coming copyright reforms in EU the draft impact assessment concerns some important copyright issues. One of them is enforcement.
Pirated material can literally be sent by everybody from everywhere to anybody anywhere. Moreover, infringements of copyrighted content online have become do frequent that they are no longer considered by consumers as illegal or even if illegal, as causing economic harm. At the same time, given that technology allows for almost perfect copies at low cost, piracy has become an even more profitable business. The exclusive rights that are recognised, with the appropriate boundaries, should be meaningful in the online environment, and the tools to enforce those rights should be available. At the same time the framework should guarantee the protection of fundamental rights, namely the right to property, the protection of personal data, the right to privacy and to information as well as the freedom of expression of all citizens.