Fujitsu-Siemens has been ordered by a German court to pay a levy every time one of its computers is sold in the country, as part of a “tax on piracy.”
Ok, go read the article, then ponder with me the ramifications of such a ruling.
The assumption appears to be that if it is *possible* to use a product to commit a crime (even if we accept that it’s a crime, which I will skip for now) then we must assume that the the product indeed *will* be used to commit that crime, and fine the manufacturer for making the product.
Taken one or two more steps, we must assume that every sale of a pen should generate a fine to be paid to publishers, because the pen could be used to make copies of copyrighted materials.
Or, how about this. Why should that fine go to VG Wort? Isn’t it just as likely that those computers may be used to violate my copyright? Haven’t I, in fact, found bootleg copies of my own books, on various websites around Asia and Europe? Certainly I should get some compensation from that?
Anyways, I find the precedents in this ruling to be very troubling. Particularly if you extend the thinking to non-technology arenas. That, in fact, seems to be the problem with technology law. The courts *NEVER* seem to extend their thinking to non-technology arenas, and so they don’t see the fundamental problems with their rulings. Somehow, they think that laws should be completely different if technology is involved, and that’s very troubling.