September 28, 2022

New approach to levy on electronic devices (reprographic tax)

A proposal for a new law on professional artists was published at the end of June [1]. The main precept of the law is to specify the conditions of artistic work and to ensure minimum social guarantees for artists with the lowest incomes by giving them access to social security and health insurance benefits. Equally important are the new reprography royalty rules.

The reprography royalty is a fixed royalty intended to reward, paid to artists by manufacturers and importers of electronic devices allowing personal use allowed, that is to say the use of works for personal purposes. The authorized use of works for personal purposes certainly increases the demand for electronic devices. In many cases, a special royalty is built into the price of devices and data carriers, and this is intended to reward copyright owners for the deficit caused by the fact that users do not always buy new works, but sometimes only make copies of them.

Device manufacturers and importers are required to pay the reprography levy, although it is clear that the financial burden of the levy is usually passed on to the end user.

The situation today

Currently, a reprography royalty is due for:

  1. audio cassette players, video cassette players and similar apparatus,
  2. photocopiers, scanners and similar reprographic devices which can be used to make copies of all or part of a published work,
  3. blank data carriers used for the recording, for personal use, of works or elements protected by related rights using the devices listed in points 1 and 2.

At present, the royalty does not exceed 3% of the selling price of these devices and data carriers.

When amendments are enacted

The royalty for authorized personal use of protected works or objects protected by related rights will apply to the placing on the Polish market of:

  1. electronic devices for recording or reproducing, by any means, in whole or in part, for personal use, sound or audiovisual works in verbal or animated form, or in the form of graphic symbols or mathematical symbols, photographic works or artistic, and elements protected by neighboring rights;
  2. blank data carriers allowing the recording or reproduction by any means, in whole or in part, for personal use, of works and elements protected by related rights using the devices listed in points 1;
  3. electronic apparatus which may be used to record or reproduce by photographic means or other process of similar effect in whole or in part for personal use, works in the form of words or in the form of graphic symbols, photographic and artistic works , and multifunctional devices with at least two of the functions of copying, scanning or printing, with the exception of the devices listed in point 1;
  4. blank data carriers that can be used to record or reproduce by any means, in whole or in part, for personal use, the works described in point 3, with the exception of the data carriers described in point 2.

The specific types of devices will be specified in a separate ministerial regulation. In practice, the reprography levy will apply to almost all devices intended for access to video and music, in particular televisions, computers, laptops, tablets, audiovisual equipment with the possibility of recording or playback of external media, as well as mass storage media, set-top boxes with recording function, e-book readers and digital cameras. Interestingly, in terms of products covered, the fee probably won’t apply to smartphones, although the fee is already doubled smartphone taxbecause smartphones were originally supposed to be covered by the tax.

Placement on the Polish market does not only mean primary sale; it also means the first delivery or acceptance of a device for use. Use of a Product may include, but is not limited to, a lease, rental, leasing or similar arrangement, or provision for personal use.

The levy is planned between 1% and 4% of:

  • the gross receivable for the first sale of devices, or
  • the market value of the devices on the day of the first delivery or commissioning.

The obligation to pay the royalty will apply:

  • manufacturers, importers or companies carrying out intra-Community acquisitions of goods, which are commercial companies,
  • companies engaged in intra-Community distance selling of goods from an EU Member State other than Poland in Poland for a natural person who does not exercise a commercial activity,
  • companies carrying out the distance sale of goods imported from third countries in parcels with a real value not exceeding 150 euros to private individuals within the EU.