The Portuguese government is considering a tax on digital storage devices. This is an apparent action to try to fight copyright breaches, but it also rather looks like an attempt to gather funds in a time of economic crisis.
According to a report in TechEye the legislative update is being proposed by the Portuguese Socialist Party which is currently in opposition.
In Portugal, storage devices like DVDs and CDs pay a 3 percent fixed surtax, besides VAT. Under the new system memory cards, USB sticks and the like would all be taxed at 6 cents to the gigabyte, while internal storage on mobile phones and other similar storage devices will be charged 50 cents to the gigabyte.
Think for a moment how much storage you have on your phone or ipod. The price of that item in Portugal would increase considerably if the new legislation is passed.
If this does happen, regular consumers could be paying an extra €0.2 per gigabyte in tax, almost €21 extra per terabyte of data on hard drives. The capacity of storage devices is growing, which is making a terabyte more accessible to average users as an option, but the added cost of this tax might put people off and make life harder for those who wish to keep large ripped files.
Not aimed at domestic users
TechEye references local news source Exame Informatica with a quote from a Socialist Party member who says that home users not would be affected so much and that the tax is aimed at professionals who use larger capacity drives.
That’s still not great news for indie film makers and other creatives who work with larger files and need to store them, or the average citizen considering a big device for their own use.
Familiar domestic devices for digital storage are not the only focus of this idea, photocopiers and printers that scan and copy would also be taxed according to the number of pages copied per minute. So, a 70 ppm printer could cost up to €227 more per device.
It might seem like an oddity for EU legislation but stranger things have happened. In a country already suffering in the current economic climate it’s a possible solution to raising funds. However, it is unlikely to be welcomed by the general population.