No iPod Tax For Japan

    December 2, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Technophile Japanese buyers of portable media players may have received a break as a government committee declined to support a proposed tax.

The money grab proposed by the recording industry in Japan looks like it won’t happen, the New York Times reported. Crucial support needed for the measure failed to materialize, sparing residents a 2 to 5 percent additional fee charged with the purchase of portable media players like the iPod.

One detail disclosed by the Times showed how the fierce criticism of the proposal led to the establishment of the committee a year ago, and the pool of talent chosen to staff the committee varied greatly from the norm:

The proposal has drawn wide attention in Japan, where committees that help set government policy tend to include industry insiders who work in their own interests and at the expense of those of consumers.

However, in a gesture to the intense public criticism that has greeted the proposal, the Agency of Cultural Affairs took an unprecedented step, filling the committee with university professors, copyright lawyers and other experts instead of recording industry executives.

The tax would have been an extension of a 12-year old royalty scheme that presently covers devices like CD and DAT players. Japan Today noted the extra royalties charged go to artists and copyright owners, though it didn’t breakdown how much each group gets as a percentage.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.