In an attempt to cut down on music and movie piracy, Spain has decided to impose a new tax on blank media: CDs, DVDs, memory sticks, even cell phones. In creating this law, the Spanish government somehow overlooked hard drives as a possible storage device for illegal copies of software and media, and elected not to impose it on the ADSL lines commonly used for downloading such material. (Here in the US, we wouldn’t need to tax DSL lines: the slow speed of our so-called high-speed connections makes downloading ripped DVDs too much trouble.)
The problem, as the outraged people of Spain have quick to point out, is that there are more uses for blank media than violating copyright laws. (There are more problems than that: the law apparently lacks any mechanism by which the money collected through this tax will be returned to copyright holders.)
The amount of the tax has yet to be set (or at any rate, to be revealed to the public), but it probably won’t be so large as to deter people from buying blank media. And if it does, the hard drive manufacturers will be sitting pretty.
It’s quite possible that such a tax will come to the US. Spain isn’t the first European country to attempt to curb copyright violations in this manner, and the film and recording industries appear to have decided that since they can’t prevent piracy, they might as well try to get a piece of the action.
So go make your backups while media is cheap!