Senate debating IT tax

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The general law committee of Argentina's senate will start debating a bill to implement a digital tax in the country, the upper house said in a statement.

The bill proposes a tax on products that can record content, including any device that has memory - from external hard drives, pen drives, CDs and DVD players to cell phones, among others.

This type of tax has already been implemented in countries such as Spain, the US and Germany. In Argentina, the aim is to stop illegal copying and offset its effect on content producers. "The bill aims for the most appropriate balance between intellectual property rights and technology use," the statement reads.

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Article 12 of the bill specifies the tax increases for each product. In the case of CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray it will be 10%, memory cards 5%, hard drives 10%, set-top boxes for cable or satellite TV 10%, mp3 players 10% and mp3 phones 1%.

The money raised from the taxes will be earmarked for copyright organizations to compensate content creators for possible illegal copies.

The initiative has been criticized as an "abusive tax" by several detractors, such as local blog No Al Canon, arguing that the bill has "unscrupulous" goals. The blog's editor, Fabio Baccaglioni, has been quoted as saying by local press that the bill only aims to collect more money, branding everyone as "presumed criminals."

According to the blog, the taxes seek to revive an industry that has not made serious efforts to adapt to the current environment.

On the other hand, one of the bill's proponents, senator Miguel Pichetto, has been quoted as saying that it is "a compensation mechanism that is recognized in most countries of the European Union. It is an act of compensatory justice and fairness."