There’s a big court case in the offing in Germany that could see a levy on mobile handsets sold in the country. Collecting societies organisation ZPÜ, which sits under GEMA, is planning to go to court to force members of the BITKOM consumer technology association to add up to €36 to the price of mobile phones sold, to cover the cost of copyrighted content accessed by those devices.
“This claim by ZPÜ would make mobile phones between 10 and 20 percent more expensive. Most of the content has already been licensed to the rights-holders, or are free and not protected content,” says BITKOM committee member Volker Schmid. However, GEMA CEO Harald Heker has accused BITKOM of being “not willing to negotiate or take the proceedings to the arbitration board of the German Patent Office in Munich” – hence the court action. The €36 levy would only apply to touchscreen smartphones with large memory capacity, falling to €12 for standard feature phones. The two bodies have been arguing the toss on the issue since 2004.