Royalties and Free Software?

Wouter Vanden Hove wouter.vanden.hove at
Mon Aug 4 20:18:10 UTC 2003

In Belgium, and probably in other European countries copyright-law
allows you to make a copy for your own personal uses. Educational and
research copies are also allowed,but what many don't know is that you
actually pay for these copies through small, almost neglible taxes, on
blanc cdroms, printers, scanners, copiers,... 

This money goes to certain copyright-organisations that redistribute the
money to copyright-holders. Typically one has to become a member of
their organisation to get a part of the share. 

So when I buy a blanc cdrom,a small amount of my money goes to
copyright-holders, typically the established publishers, record
companies. They receive royalties because the law assumes I'm going to
put some of their copyright material on these cd-roms. But what if I put
Debian on it?

How does this fit into the paradigm of Free Software?

Would it be possible for FSF Europe to become a member of such
organisations in order to receive some part of this money, that
rightfully belongs to ourselves? It could be used for funding  Free
Software Projects, now mostly stockholders of large publishing-companies
receive them.

Or should the law be changed to exempt copyleft-holders from that kind
of royalties? Have this issues ever brought up before? In all legal
documents on Free Software Licesnes I've till now, I never came across
this discrepany.

Or does this situation exists in Belgium alone?

Wouter Vanden Hove

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