UK artists seek 'luvvie levy' on new gadgets to make up for all the media that consumers access online

'Smart Fund' would be redistributed among creators and performers


Leading lights in the world of "the arts" have called for a techy tax on mobiles, laptops, and PCs to help finance creative industries they claim have been ravaged by lack of revenue and funding.

DACS – the visual artists' rights management nonprofit – reckons a levy of 1-2 per cent on the sale of new tech gadgets could help raise £250m-£300m a year.

Part of the reasoning behind the initiative, it said, is that it would help redress the balance caused by people accessing music, films, and other creative material online without paying for it directly.

Instead, the cash would be paid into The Smart Fund – described as a "collaboration between writers, artists, performers, technology manufacturers and government" – which, in turn, would be distributed to finance creative industries.

As the organisers behind the scheme explained: "The fund would work by placing a small levy on the sale of mobiles, laptops, PCs and devices that are built to allow people to store and download creative content, solving the problem that creators are not recompensed for the use of their work.

"Small payments, the equivalent of 1-3 per cent of the sales value of the device, would be paid into a central fund that is distributed to creators and performers to help them sustain a living from their content, support and bring together communities."

Although some in the arts world are making a great song and dance about the idea, it seems others are less than enthusiastic.

El Reg contacted a number of leading consumer tech brands including Apple, Samsung, and Sony to see whether they would be happy to sign up to the scheme and either pass on the cost to consumers or take a financial hit themselves. We're still waiting to hear back.

A spokesperson at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said they had been made aware of the Smart Fund but that it was too soon to comment. ®

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