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Dutch iPod tax could squash digital audio player industry

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The only thing remotely comforting about this story is that at least we in the States are not alone as consumers wrestling with legacy industries. In the Netherlands, the old guard recording industry has managed to persuade the government that they ought to tax any storage device that could ever possibly harbor a pirated work, which means levies of up to $4.30 per gigabyte on all MP3 players sold — imagine adding $240 to the price of an already expensive 60GB iPod. Unless the European Commission intervenes, the law proposed by Stichting Thuiskopie foundation will likely pass. It's possible the law could also include a provision similar to legislation already in place in Germany, which establishes levies on PC hard drives. If left in place, the sum total of the levy will actually exceed the revenue of the entire PC industry in that country within two years. If implemented in the Netherlands, a 1 terabyte drive would sell for the, uh, bargain price of only $4,300 — far outweighing the cost of the computer itself. Yeah, sounds like a very sane and reasonable way for the record companies to discourage piracy, doesn't it?

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