In 2007, the Amazon group refused to pay a private copying levy on recording media sold online to customers in Austria. Amazon was taken to court by the Austrian collective management organisation Austro-Mechana (http://www NULL.akm NULL.at/) and found liable by the European Court of Justice to pay the levy. Consequently, however, the court referred the case back to the Austrian judiciary to look into the criteria for the distribution of the rights revenue.

In Austria, 50% of the funds generated with the private copying levy are distributed to individual right holders, while the other 50% are used for social, cultural or educational purposes, i.e. for all kinds of projects by individual right holders and institutions alike. When the Court of the First Instance concluded that Amazon was not liable to pay the levy for a number of reasons, this important source of funding for arts and culture as well as the whole system of collective rights management in Austria was jeopardized.

Luckily, in spring 2017 the Austrian Supreme Court confirmed that Amazon was indeed liable to pay the private copying levy on all kinds of recording media (including mobile phones) and that the Austrian system of collective management of copyrights was in line with both national and European law.

The court decision can be found here (https://tinyurl NULL.com/yb2tuu9g) (in German).

Tagged on: