Hardware – Refurbishment

Smartphones, PCs, notebooks, and tablets (etc.) can be refurbished so that they are as good as new. Refurbishment thus makes it possible to save a considerable amount of money on the purchase of hardware from brand manufacturers. Refurbishment also protects the environment; the production of new hardware, on the other hand, requires large quantities of rare earths, precious metals, and other raw materials.

But: Copyright collecting societies from Germany (ZPÜ) and Austria (Austro Mechana) are increasingly confronting suppliers of refurbished devices and storage media with demands to pay a levy for devices and storage media. They are thus endangering the refurbishment business model.

It is already questionable whether such an obligation to pay a levy for used equipment exists at all. In principle, the manufacturer, importer, or dealer of new devices is already obliged to pay the levy. The demands of the collecting societies would therefore often lead to a prohibited double payment if the levy had to be paid again for a refurbished device.

In any case, it is questionable why collecting societies demand payment of the same amount for refurbishment as for new devices and storage media.
Collecting societies also demand the levy in cross-border trade when suppliers from third countries sell refurbished hardware to customers in Germany / Austria.

The first proceedings on the alleged obligation to pay copyright levies fir used devices (tablets, PCs, and mobile phones) are now pending; here we represent suppliers of the refurbished hardware. In addition, manufacturers, importers and dealers of devices and storage media have been among our clients for many years in disputes with collecting societies about copyright levies. We have also represented our clients in a number of proceedings regarding copyright levies before the European Court of Justice.

Let us know if you would like us to inform you about new developments in this area.