Articles & Notes — December 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm

What country allows free online downloading of movies and music?

piracyThere are countries in the world where things like downloading pirated movies and music from the internet is considered legal.

One of the better known countries, where it is legal, is Netherlands, according to Torrent Freak.

Recently, a “download ban” was put on the political agenda, but the House of Representatives struck down this plan about a week ago.

As of yet, downloading remains legal in Netherlands, and in exchange, the rights holders are being compensated through a private copying tax on various media storage devices.

Anonymous survey says that some 30 percent of the Netherlands’ population is freely downloding movies and copyrighted music without paying anything. This is currently legal under Dutch law.

This fall State Secretary for Security and Justice Fred Teeven reintroduced a download ban, which was later put down by the House of Representatives.

The reason for declining the “download ban”, according to several political parties, was that it was the wrong approach to fight the problem of piracy.

Less than a week ago, he majority of the house accepted a motion that would take the plan off the table, and further ensured that the right to make copies for personal use should not be restricted.

“A download ban doesn’t really solve the problem of unpaid downloads but is guaranteed to lead to other problems such as the restriction of privacy of individual users,” a member of the House, Kees Verhoeven said.

The vote means that downloading movies and music for personal use remains legal.

Presently, copyright holders in the Netherlands are compensated through a “piracy tax” on blank media such as CDR media and writable DVDs.

In October it was decided that this piracy tax will be extended to a variety of other media storage devices such as tablets, smartphones, USB-drives, PCs and Laptops. The money that’s collected, up to 5 euro per device, will be distributed to copyright holders.

The piracy tax, however, is not without controversy. Hardware makers Acer, HP and Dell have sued the Dutch Government claiming that they could lose millions of Euros in revenue due to the artificial price increase.

For Dutch downloaders, however, everything will stay the same. Movies and music can be downloaded for free without running into legal trouble, as long as the files are not shared with others.

In the U.S. the situation is not far from the one in Netherlands, statistics wise.

In May 2012, according to one of Mashable’s infographics, 46 percent of Americans are skipping the theater or rental store in favor of pirated movies.

Now, if we mix it all up, what we get is roughly 144 million of those 313 prefer pirated movies (mostly downloaded online).



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