Achtung! Apple customers in Germany will now pay slightly higher prices for iDevices thanks to a new copyright levy in the country designed to benefit creative professionals and content producers.
As reported Sunday by the Associated Press, Apple raised prices for the iPhone and iPad in Germany by 5 to 7 euros ($5.50 to $7.70) at the start of the new year to comply with the levy, which was finalized last month following negotiations between the tech industry and representatives for Germany's content and media groups.
Affecting all smartphone and tablet makers who sell devices in Germany, including Apple rival Samsung, the agreement is based on the theory of "private copying:" that owners of digital devices will undoubtedly make otherwise unauthorized copies of their media, intentionally or not, and that content creators should be compensated for this unauthorized use via a shared pool of money generated by a small levy on each device sold. The theory was codified by a 1965 German law, the first of its kind, and is similar in purpose to one implemented in Canada for recordable CDs and "digital audio recorders," which for several years was interpreted to encompass devices like the iPod.
The agreement currently in effect is valid through 2018, and includes back payment for smartphones sold since 2008 and tablets sold since 2012. Markus Scheufele, a copyright expert and representative of tech lobbyist group Bitkom, told the AP that the industry hopes future agreements of this nature move to direct levies on media subscription and pay-per-use services and away from the fixed surcharge on devices. Content creators disagree, however, noting that consumers "will always find ways to copy material for free, without paying for it," which makes the upfront device-based fee a fairer approach.
Of note, the new agreement covers all categories of digital media that are able to be copied without authorization, meaning that even the producers and artists of pornographic films are eligible to share in the revenue.