Swedish Court Imposes User Tax on Internet Video24 Jun, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
The ruling could up what it costs Swedes to access Netflix, which streams TV content
A Swedish court June 24 ruled it will begin imposing a user fee on computer, smartphone, tablet and related portable device owners accessing television programming over the Internet.
The Scandinavian country currently imposes a $26 monthly tax upon its citizens to underwrite funding of public TV broadcasting. The additional levy comes at a time when increasing numbers of Swedes access TV content from the Internet, including subscription video-on-demand service Netflix.
The SVOD pioneer recently launched service in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. Netflix currently charges about 79 Krona ($11.66) a month for unlimited streaming in Sweden.
"Even if a computer is primarily used for other purposes, one of its uses these days is to receive TV programs," the court said on its website, according to Reuters, which first reported the news. "Since it is the ownership of the equipment that is subject to a fee, it is of no significance to that liability whether the person maybe does not use the computer to watch TV programs."
The court is currently addressing multiple appeals to the ruling before implementing it.
A Netflix spokesperson said the service is researching the implications, if any. The SVOD pioneer plans to launch service in Holland later this year.