Fujitsu-Siemens hit by 'tax on piracy'

A court in Germany has ruled that the computer manufacturer should pay a levy on every computer sold, as part of a crackdown on copyright fraud

Fujitsu-Siemens has been ordered by a German court to pay a levy every time one of its computers is sold in the country, as part of a 'tax on piracy'.

The judge ruled that since the company's PCs could be used for copying material -- and doing rights holders out of their due royalties -- Fujitsu-Siemens should make it up to those who are out of pocket by way of a €12-per-machine contribution.

Similar levies are already in place on other media that can be used for copying, including blank videos and audio tapes, in other European countries.

The German copyright holders association VG Wort initially brought the case in 2001 and had been demanding a €30 levy, although it agreed to the court's revised €12 penalty.

VG Wort is expected to bring similar suits against other computer manufacturers in the country.

Fujitsu Siemens did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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