A crucial vote will decide whether programmes can be legitimately copied to video from televisions or music from CDs duplicated to tapes without a fee being paid to the artist … British consumers are likely to be most affected by the move. Britain is one of only three EU member states … not to levy a blanket copyright fee on each blank tape sold. (The Guardian, 10 February 1999, p7)
Concerns have been raised by consumers and others of the draft EU Directive on copyright in the information society may require levies to be imposed on blank tapes. These concerns stem from proposed amendments to the Directive recently adopted by the European Parliament, which would require right owners to be compensated where exception to their rights permitting private copying are provided in national law. However, the outcome on the Directive is not yet clear since negotiations in the Council of Ministers are still at a relatively early stage, and it cannot be adopted until both the Council and the Parliament agree. In the UK, there is an exception allowing home recording of broadcasts to enable viewing or listening at a more convenient time. The position on private copying of music CDs is different since in general there in no exception in the UK permitting this. It is envisaged that this would remain subject to authorisation by rights owners.