Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

More on Germany's copyright levy on hardware....Sam Vaknin, Analysis: Germany's copyright levy, United Press International, March 12. While outlining the developments that led to the German levy, Vaknin surveys the array of similar laws throughout Europe. Unlike other reporters on this story, Vaknin finally asks whether the levy on hardware, designed to repay copyright holders for unauthorized copying, will come with universal permission to copy. (He asks the question by quoting my FOS News entry on this issue from last Saturday.) Let's hope the high profile of this UPI story elicits some helpful answers. Vaknin closes with a rare reflection on the copyright wars that applies as much to scholarly publishing as it does to entertainment. "[T]he disintermediation brought on by digital technologies threatens to link author and public directly, cutting out traditional content brokers such as record companies or publishers. This is the crux of the battle royal. Middlemen are attempting -- in vain -- to sustain their dying and increasingly parasitic industries and refusing to adapt and re-invent themselves. Everyone else watches in amazement and dismay the consequences of this grand folly: innovation is thwarted, consumers penalized, access to works of art, literature and research constrained."