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Copyright Loopholes on the Web

Sales of blank CD and DVD discs are growing fast. A Finnish copyright agency is, however, worried about growing sales of discs purchased over the Internet where Finnish compensation fees remain unpaid.

Under Finnish law, a consumer may copy commercial recordings of music for their own use. It is a popular practice and annually some 20 million blank CDs are imported.

Sales of blank DVDs are expected to increase fourfold this year to around two million.

A compensation fee must be paid to copyright agencies such as TEOSTO for blank CD's and DVD's.

Formerly known as a cassette payment, the fee is compensation to the songwriter and artists for use of their material for private copying. These fees are the highest in the EU after Denmark.

Now one domestic net retailer has started marketing blank CDs to Finnish consumers via its Estonian subsidiary. Blank discs are posted from the company's warehouse in Tallinn. Both retailer and consumer avoid copyright compensation fee.

The Finnish copyright agency TEOSTO, and retailers are up in arms. In practice, there seems little they can do.

Reforms to copyright laws due before parliament were drawn up long before this problem arose.

In the continuing battle against musical piracy, TEOSTO wants legal loopholes to be plugged. Retailers demand a dramatic cut in the payment to help weed out dishonest traders.