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Spanish authorities prepare for implications for Padewan case

By | Published on Monday 15 November 2010

Various local and city governments in Spain are reportedly preparing to demand the country’s collecting society SGAE return some of the money it has charged to the makers of recording devices over the years following a legal spat between them and electronics company Padewan.

As previously reported, some aspects of the Padewan v SGAE case went to the European courts because the private copying levy – whereby a levy is attached to some recordable media or devices in return for the public having permission to make private copies of music they buy – is in part governed by European laws.

The nature of the levy system varies from country to country (in the UK there is no such system). In Spain the levy, which is administered by SGAE, is charged on all CD, DVD and MP3 players.

Last month the European courts ruled that Padewan was right when it claimed SGAE was wrong to charge the levy on all such devices, rather than only when a device was sold to a customer likely to exercise the private copying right. Padewan also alleged SGAE applied the levy indiscriminately, though European judges said it was the for Spanish national court to rule on that claim.

The final judgment in the Padewan v SGAE case, being heard in a Barcelona court, is still to be made, but it is assumed that, because of the European ruling, the collecting society has definitely been charging levy payers too much. Therefore, Billboard’s Madrid correspondent reports, the regional government in Catalan and local governments in numerous towns and cities, including Barcelona, are preparing to order SGAE to make some substantial refunds.

For their part, SGAE have played down the significance of the trial on past payments, while stating no regional or local government had as yet been in touch to make any repayment demands.