Europe Gone Mad: Printer Companies Will Be Forced to Pay Copyright Holders Because of Possible Piracy

By Sam Gibbs on at

I'm not normally one for hyperbole when it comes to Europe, but this is just plain insane. The European Court of Justice has just ruled that printer companies will have to pay levies to copyright holders because you, the user, could print out something copyrighted without permission. What the actual hell?

The ruling revolves around a case brought by the German Courts, in which a publisher was suing Canon, Epson, Fujitsu, HP and Xerox over payments it argued were due because the printers the companies manufacture allow people to reproduce copyrighted works in the home.

Now that the ECJ has ruled, it's up to the individual member states to implement the copyright tax levy in their own 'fair' way. What that really means is that the cost of printers, ink and toner is going to rise, because the manufacturers will have to build the cost of the levies in there somewhere.

Now, I don't often print things, and sometimes I wish printers would hurry up and die already, but this is just crazy. It's like expecting chisel makers to pay sculptors money because you could use them to copy a work of art, or a tax on blank CDs because you could copy a disc, oh, wait. OK, it's all crazy. I'm sure this'll have a knock-on effect on 3D printing too, considering you could essentially print out a copy of a car or something. [Europa via V3]

Image credit: Printer from Shutterstock