Royalties and Free Software?

Benoît Sibaud benoit.sibaud at
Tue Aug 5 20:03:43 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,... 

In France, music/video and software are not under the same parts of the
law. For music/video, there is "droit à la copie privée" (private copy
right), meaning you can make as many copies of your own CD, or recording TV
or radio, or make xerox copies, etc, as long as these copies are for
private use. For software, you can only make one backup, "droit de
sauvegarde" (backup right). The tax on VHS tapes, audio tapes, CD-ROM, etc,
is intented as a compensation for artists and copyright ("droit d'auteur"
in fact) owners.

So software should not be concerned by the tax (but they unfortunately are
when you use CD-ROMs...). IIRC, There is some boring never used
multi-papers-to-send way to get back your money, if you can prove you use
your CD for data backup for example.

> 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.

The collected money is not related to software. And taxing free software,
or collecting a tax on it, would look weird (to say the less) to me.

Benoît Sibaud

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