In April 2008, the European Commission finalised a new consultation aimed at deepening the understanding of the functioning of private copying levy schemes set up at national level.
Subsequently, in May 2008, the Commission organised a public hearing on Private Copying Levies, in order to try and develop a common approach amongst all stakeholders. At the forum, which focused on levies in the digital environment, Member States’ experiences and the future of policies, Commissioner McCreevy called for the creation of a dialogue of stakeholders. The dialogue started a series of meetings in September 2008 and continued throughout 2009, but no agreement was reached and in early 2010 reproduction machine manufacturers’ industry representatives Digital Europe abandoned the platform.
In May 2011, the Communication on a single market in intellectual property rights announced a new dialogue facilitated through a mediator. In November 2011, Commissioner Barnier announced the mission was given to Mr. Vitorino former Portuguese Commissioner. The mediation process started in April 2012 when Mr. Vitorino began to meet individually stakeholders. The scope of the dialogue is both private copying levies and reprography levies. The mission of Mr. Vitorino has for an objective to explore possible approaches to harmonisation of both the methodology used to impose levies and the systems of administration of levies. He is expected to organise a second round of interviews in June 2012 and issue a report in the third trimester 2012.
The Commission will subsequently decide whether or not to legislate on levies in order to smooth cross-border trade in goods that are subject to private copying levies while ensuring that the rightholders receive appropriate compensation for acts of private copying.