MP3 War Hits The Hague

The Hague — possibly best known as the site of international war crimes trials — was the site of a very different sort of trial Tuesday, with the Dutch RIAA being soundly defeated in their attempts to raise taxes on MP3 players.

Norma — the Dutch version of the RIAA — went to court in an attempt to overturn the Dutch government's decision to block any further taxes on MP3 players. The group already levies taxes on blank CD's and DVD's, though the government argued, successfully, that they haven't even been able to keep up with those levies. Norma claims that the use of MP3 players makes artists into "victims" without taxes to compensate them, and that new taxes are urgently needed. The Dutch government, for its part, says plans are in the works to overhaul the whole system.

Meanwhile, the real RIAA — the U.S. version, that is — continues it's war on users. A column in the Washinton Post was "corrected" this week after a pro-RIAA crusade pulled out the torches and pitchforks over the assertion that the RIAA doesn't believe users have the right to rip MP3's of legally-purchased music. Other press, including Wired, have been quick to characterize the RIAA's statements in court and on its website as denying that users have such a right.

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