( Reuters ) - A European Union copyright tax on MP3 players and blank CDs to compensate authors generates benefits and needs only tweaking rather than fundamental reform, a report for an industry body said on Thursday.
EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy was forced to abandon his proposal to reform the levy that varies enormously across the 20 EU states that apply it. Britain and Ireland have no levy at all.
The tax at import level is often passed on to consumers and raised 560 million euros ($819.7 million) in 2005.
Last year's retreat came after then French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin intervened to say McCreevy's initiative would threaten Europe's cultural heritage.
Some of the cash raised goes to national coffers to fund cultural activities in states such as France and Finland.
Top electronics firms including Philips (PHG.AS) were angered but national collecting societies who pass the tax on to authors and artists were jubilant.
GESAC, which represents the national collecting societies, unveiled a report on Thursday which it said rebuffed arguments used by the electronics industry for drastic reform.
"We don't want any more emotional debate. We want a concrete discussion and concrete proposals," GESAC Secretary General Veronique Desbrosses, told reporters.
"We know the Commission is still willing to address the issue," she added.
The report debunked two key arguments of the electronics industry, that differences in tax rates among EU states severely distorted the internal market, and that digital rights management does away with the need for the tax, she said.
The report by Econlaw, a consultancy, found modest negative short-term effects but longer-term benefits such as giving incentives to create new content and freedom for consumers to use copyright material in many ways.