#1  
01-13-2010, 12:11 PM
Asterix Asterix is offline
Free Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 7
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hi,

I 'm living in Belgium and due to extensive extra copy taxes I bought my media in Germany on several websites. So media were cheap and it didn't matter which media to buy, so I bought almost always Verbatim or TY (mostly +R media because my Philips DVD-Recorder could only use +R).

Since a while most of these sites can't send optical media anymore to Belgium due to mutch more inspection of the Auvibel (the company who is collecting the copy taxes on behalf of the government). Free traffic of goods and services within the EU, yeah right!!!
So now the situation is quite different. Now ervery penny counts, although I 'm not intended to buy totally crapped discs. So what about discs with other brand names (like MediaRange http://www.mediarange.de/en/index.pmode) but with MMC media code? Are they reliable? I know sometimes such discs are bad (fake ID), but is this also true in this particular case?

Another question: since a few months I have also a Panasonic DMR-EH49 dvd-recorder) that can copy to +R as well as -R. In most cases, a product is better using one type above the other. What is best in this case? +R or -R?

Last edited by Asterix; 01-13-2010 at 12:14 PM.
Reply With Quote
Someday, 12:01 PM
admin's Avatar
Ads / Sponsors
 
Join Date: ∞
Posts: 42
Thanks: ∞
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
  #2  
01-13-2010, 12:43 PM
admin's Avatar
admin admin is offline
Site Staff | Web Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,332
Thanked 649 Times in 455 Posts
MediaRange is not using authentic Mitubishi MCC or MKM media codes, it's faked junk from China and Hong Kong, according to my sources in Europe. There is discussion on cdfreaks/myce forums, with conversations suggesting both fake and legit. Given that information alone, I would suggest just avoiding it.

If it's significantly less than Verbatim, it won't be authentic -- it never is. The odds of the 13-cent discs from Nierle, for example, being "not fake" is unlikely. While the USD~EUR is not 1:1, the prices in units generally are. ($25 USD for blanks is often 25 Euros, for example.) Amazon France has MCC Verbatim listed at 29,90. Nierle themselves offer Verbatim for 24,00 EUR -- double the price of MediaRange.

Sometimes you can get by with a marginal quality burn on a fake, but it's not what I'd consider "archival" grade. At best -- BEST! -- it's duplicator grade media, something cheap but used for content that is easily replaced.

I wanted to point out this news on the Auvibel site:

Quote:
A small clarification regarding the Auvibel levy and foreign webshops

Auvibel imposes a ban?

The rumour is currently going around that Auvibel has imposed a ban on foreign webshops selling blank media (CD’s, DVD’s, etc) to Belgian end users. This is totally untrue! Insofar as is necessary, Auvibel wants to emphasise that it is not at all the intention to prevent or restrict the offer and sale of DVD-R’s and CD-R’s in Belgium through foreign webshops. The aim of the cessation claims of Auvibel is only to get such sales to respect copyright laws. This means that foreign webshops that offer media for sale on their websites must mention the levy for private copying for end users located in Belgium, and must actually charge this remuneration for media sales to end users located in Belgium, declare it promptly to Auvibel, and pay it to Auvibel. Instead of blocking these activities, Auvibel has an objective interest in these sales continuing, but accompanied with the necessary and compulsory declarations.

Must I pay the remuneration for all media, even if I use them for my own videos?


Yes. The law has deliberately chosen (and also for practical reasons) to attach the right to a levy to all media that can be used for the reproduction of audio and audiovisual works, even in the specific case relating to this question, if the media are used for copying personal documents or works that are not protected by copyright. The government justified this in the following way: "the application of the fixed fee technique means that the requested levy applies to everybody, and thus also to consumers who do not make illicit recordings (this is the case for example when videocassettes are only used for recording a family party). The fixed remuneration technique nevertheless seems to be the only practical possibility " (Gedr. St. Kamer, Report, 473/33-91/92, p. 266.)

Free flow of goods in Europe?

The application of the levy for private copying in Belgium does not breach article 28 of the EC Treaty, which deals with equal treatment measures and quantitative restrictions.

In a case similar to one of levy (1), on 2 February 2004 the Council of State judged in judgement No. 127.673 that:
- It has not been demonstrated that the disputed levy (2) is considerably higher than the fees in other member states.
- The remuneration applies to all goods placed on the market in Belgium, imported or otherwise, and it thus has the same de jure and de facto effect on the trade of national products and on the trade of products from other member states.
- The levy can thus hardly be considered as a measure that impedes trade between member states, whether or not directly, actually or potentially, according to the terms of the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Community.

(1) This case concerned the reprography levy charged by Reprobel, but the levy for provate copying charged by Auvibel is based on the same law.
(2) In this case the levy for reprography.
So according to Auvibel, as long as he company collects the tax, it's fine to import media. There's not an actual ban. I would think a number of large respected Europe-wide companies will be doing this. Amazon UK does, for example, according to http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/redirect....creative=19450

So does Amazon Germany: http://www.amazon.de/gp/redirect.htm...creative=19454

Is it no longer possible to order Verbatim from Amazon France? I know they have Verbatim media available. I happened to be on their site just last night. I would bet France collects the tax. Maybe all Amazon sites will be collecting?

edit: I think this confirms proper tax collection by the Amazon.fr site too: http://www.amazon.fr/gp/redirect.htm...creative=19458

Prices going up is definitely not something consumers ever like, but I would ask that you ponder this: What if DVD blanks were underpriced?! In the 1990s and early 2000s (I'm ignoring the 1970s-80s), a cheap blank tape was $1 each in bulk. A good tape was $2-3 each. A VHS tape looks worse than a DVD (unless the source video is trash), often holds less content, cannot be copied without loss, and degrades faster as a medium. I know there's a worldwide recession going on, but even if blank DVDs were $1 each, wouldn't that still be an improvement over just a decade ago? ..... Just playing devil's advocate here. Paying 50 cents for a quality disc isn't unreasonable, but people around here get an attitude when a 100-pack goes to 25 cents a disc (they want it for 15-20 cents, which is a bit silly). The lower prices is one of the reasons media quality is the way it is -- too many cost-cutting measures.

Do post back anything you find out, new information, experiences, etc --- this info will surely help the community.

And don't hesitate to ask if there are more questions. Thanks.

- Did this site help you? Then upgrade to Premium Member and show your support!
- Also: Like Us on Facebook for special DVD/Blu-ray news and deals!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
01-13-2010, 12:55 PM
admin's Avatar
admin admin is offline
Site Staff | Web Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,332
Thanked 649 Times in 455 Posts
For a Panasonic DVD recorder, I would highly suggest using DVD-R, specifically Verbatim/Mitsubishi DVD-R.

And just in case ....
Be aware that Verbatim now has "Value Series" DVD blanks now too, using media from Ritek or CMC. I would suggest not buying those, if they happen to be for sale in Europe. They're just now starting to hit saturation in some online shops in the USA.

- Did this site help you? Then upgrade to Premium Member and show your support!
- Also: Like Us on Facebook for special DVD/Blu-ray news and deals!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
01-15-2010, 05:03 AM
Asterix Asterix is offline
Free Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 7
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for your input. About Auvibel. It is true that it's still possible to buy stuff from websites out of the country (= Belgium). It is still possible to buy for example a 100-disc spindle Verbatim from xmediatrade.com (Germany/Luxembourg). The problem is that a Verbatim spindle costs 23 euro. But if you live in Belgium, this is about 90 euro! Transport costs inclusive, it would be about 100 euro. The problem also is that you don't see it unless you are logged in with an Belgian address (or IP-address?). Then you see totally other prices advertised. Some other webshops do not deliver blank media anymore to Belgium and Austria (with about the same severe regulations). For example cdrwinkel.com. This is also only mentioned on the website when you want to see the site for example in Dutch or French. The reason why some shops decide not to export anymore to Belgium is because it takes extra efforts (both andministration and logistics) that they can't affort or want to take.
About the Auvibel tax: I am willing to pay a little more for my discs, but a taxation of more than 300%? Deuh? I think not. Let's keep it a bit reasonable. And as a reaction of a rebellion (yes, a little bit) I do "up yours" to Auvibel and NEVER buy blank media in the country and will do everything to avoid it.
BTW: if you are interested, I can send you some screenshots of the situation different shops on that matter, if you give me an email-address.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
01-15-2010, 08:50 AM
admin's Avatar
admin admin is offline
Site Staff | Web Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,332
Thanked 649 Times in 455 Posts
I remember the days when Canadians and Americans had postal boxes across the border. Then you could order something cheap from another country, drive across the border to your box, then drive back. They'd tell the customs person that they went shopping, out to eat, sightseeing, or something along those lines. Maybe that is possible where you are?

Yeah, 300% is a bit insane, a knee-jerk reaction, kowtowing to the overly-greedy copyright czars of the world. It's just plain sick. Government is supposed to help people, and I don't know who that stupid tax is there to protect.

You can post screen shots here, just upload JPEG, GIF or PNG images. See http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...ages-1529.html for instructions. I'm always interested in blank media topics.

- Did this site help you? Then upgrade to Premium Member and show your support!
- Also: Like Us on Facebook for special DVD/Blu-ray news and deals!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
01-15-2010, 03:36 PM
Asterix Asterix is offline
Free Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 7
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I did some research about extra taxes on blank media in Belgium (it is with some minor changes also applicable in Austria and I think France). I've put my findings in a five-page report. Is it possible to upload it or mail it?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
01-15-2010, 03:47 PM
admin's Avatar
admin admin is offline
Site Staff | Web Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,332
Thanked 649 Times in 455 Posts
Oh yes, please do share this information.

You can upload PDF, DOC and XLS here. Just attach it to a post. Instructions for it are at http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...ages-1529.html

If you run into problems, PM me, and I'll give an email address where it can be sent. And then I'll post it.

- Did this site help you? Then upgrade to Premium Member and show your support!
- Also: Like Us on Facebook for special DVD/Blu-ray news and deals!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
01-15-2010, 04:44 PM
Asterix Asterix is offline
Free Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 7
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Unfortunately, it seems I have no permission to use attachments. So we have to do it otherwise...
Reply With Quote
  #9  
01-15-2010, 04:56 PM
admin's Avatar
admin admin is offline
Site Staff | Web Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,332
Thanked 649 Times in 455 Posts
What kind of file is it, and how many megabytes is it? I'll go fix the permissions!

- Did this site help you? Then upgrade to Premium Member and show your support!
- Also: Like Us on Facebook for special DVD/Blu-ray news and deals!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
01-15-2010, 05:38 PM
Asterix Asterix is offline
Free Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 7
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It's about 3 MB as a Word DOC file. I included some JPG screenshots in the text. If you wish, I can send it also as a PDF. Maybe the best is both ways.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
01-15-2010, 05:48 PM
admin's Avatar
admin admin is offline
Site Staff | Web Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,332
Thanked 649 Times in 455 Posts
I've changed .doc to 5MB. (I don't have .docx in there, the Office 2007 extensions. Do you need those?)
PDF is set to 8MB.
Free Member usergroup has permissions to upload both types, at the max allowed sizes stated.

Both types attached to a post would be great, yes.

You're also welcome to add the content in a post, and forego attachments.

Thanks for the submissions, it is most appreciated!

- Did this site help you? Then upgrade to Premium Member and show your support!
- Also: Like Us on Facebook for special DVD/Blu-ray news and deals!
Reply With Quote
  #12  
01-15-2010, 06:25 PM
Asterix Asterix is offline
Free Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 7
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It seems silly, but I think I still don't have the rights to post attachments. That's what the small window "Posting Rules" says:

You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


What's wrong? I think everything in my profile is correct. What kind of button I'm supposted to see to upload attachments?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
01-16-2010, 06:00 AM
admin's Avatar
admin admin is offline
Site Staff | Web Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,332
Thanked 649 Times in 455 Posts
Fixed it! I really like vBulletin, but it has a LOT of granular permissions settings, and it can be easy to forget about one of them. Try it again one more time -- it should be okay now. I tested it with a Free Member test account.

Click Go Advanced in the quick reply box at the bottom of a thread page -- you'll see a Manage Attachments area on the full editor page -- and then follow the instructions at http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...ages-1529.html

And again, thanks. I look forward to your report.

- Did this site help you? Then upgrade to Premium Member and show your support!
- Also: Like Us on Facebook for special DVD/Blu-ray news and deals!
Reply With Quote
  #14  
01-18-2010, 03:01 AM
Asterix Asterix is offline
Free Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 7
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hereby I send some findings about some Auvibel issues (extra Belgian tax on blank media) and the problems of ordering blank media outside of Belgium. This report has text and screenshots and is in Word.

Greetz,

Dirk Peeters


Attached Files
File Type: doc DigitalFaq.doc (2.06 MB, 0 downloads)
File Type: pdf DigitalFaq.pdf (1.46 MB, 2 downloads)
Reply With Quote
  #15  
01-19-2010, 12:03 PM
admin's Avatar
admin admin is offline
Site Staff | Web Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,332
Thanked 649 Times in 455 Posts
I've created a new post from the contents of the PDF. Thanks! -admin


************************************************** *******

I used to buy my blank media from CDR-Winkel (www.cdrwinkel.com). It is a web shop located in Luxemburg. Since about mid-2008 it’s impossible to buy blank media from this shop from Belgium. See the “Algemene voorwaarden” (= general conditions).

auvibel-dvd-000.jpg

Especially the item “Belgische bedrijven” (Belgian companies) is interesting. It is in Dutch (my mother tongue), but I translate it: “We still deliver to Belgium CD and DVD media only to companies who are not entitled as ‘end user’ (= only to resellers). I.e.: computer shops and other companies who are reselling the media. Other items than CD/DVD we will continuing to deliver to Belgium. By agreeing to our General Conditions, you accept that you are not going to use these media for your own purpose”.

The English version of the same webpage is quite different (see next page). Here it is mentioned only in general terms that extra local taxes are not included in the price and that it is possible that you have to pay them separately.

You must be logged in to view this content; either login or register for the forum. The attached screen shots, before/after images, photos and graphics are created/posted for the benefit of site members. And you are invited to join our digital media community.


So after a while, I discovered Xmediatrade (www.xmediatrade.com). Officially it’s a German site, but also located in Luxembourg. In that tiny country there are practically no taxes. That’s why so many international companies and especially banks are to find there. At Xmediatrade I still can order my goods, but…

Here you’ll see the site when you order a 100-disc spindle from Verbatim:

auvibel-dvd-001.jpg

But when you sign on from a location in Belgium, it looks like this:

You must be logged in to view this content; either login or register for the forum. The attached screen shots, before/after images, photos and graphics are created/posted for the benefit of site members. And you are invited to join our digital media community.


Look at the extra red lines. 59 euro extra! That’s more than doubled! And it’s getting even better. Suppose you’re going to order that anyway. You put it in your shopping basket and want to pay. After a few screens, you’ll see this:

auvibel-dvd-002.jpg

As you can see, the Auvibel tax is now 70,21 euro and not 59 euro. That can only mean that the 59 euro from the other screenshot is the tax WITHOUT the VAT. This ‘Value Added Tax’ is a special tax you have to pay for everything you buy in de EU and the percentage of it depends on the country. You can roughly compare it with the Local Tax in de US, but the percentage is much higher (between 15 and 21 percent, depending on the country), except for food (nothing to 6%) and books (also 6%).

Adding an extra of 8,9 euro for packing and shipping costs, brings us to an astonishing amount of 103,06 euro!!! You would be mad for less…

So it is now time to look elsewhere (again), but what do we see? Take a look at MMD (www.mmd.lu) for example:

You must be logged in to view this content; either login or register for the forum. The attached screen shots, before/after images, photos and graphics are created/posted for the benefit of site members. And you are invited to join our digital media community.


Yep. Door closed. Another one:

auvibel-dvd-003.jpg

The same. BTW: this one (Nexxtbuy.com) is the formerly MatrixxMedia (located in Luxembourg), but now located somewhere in Germany. The warehouse is somewhere in Poland. And driving from Belgium to Poland for a few discs… Mmmm. I don’t think so.

Another big known seller and webshop is Nierle (www.nierle.nl or www.nierle.de). And yes, we poor little Belgians are the suckers, again.

You must be logged in to view this content; either login or register for the forum. The attached screen shots, before/after images, photos and graphics are created/posted for the benefit of site members. And you are invited to join our digital media community.


The same with Opus (www.opus.nl).

Amazon is something special (I tried UK, France and Germany). Advertised media is practically always ordered and send by third party companies and in many cases they also don’t deliver to Belgium, although I did only some random checks. Maybe that needs more research.

Conclusion

The statement of Auvibel that they are not obstructing the free trade of goods and services in the EU is simply not true. They do everything to prevent people buying their blank media elsewhere outside of Belgium. The only way out I see, is to drive a few times (once or twice a year) to Luxembourg (about 150 miles from where I live (city of Leuven in the center of the country)) and buy my media there. In that case, I can still prevent paying these exorbitant taxes.

I know these Auvibel tax (and similar in some other countries in the EU) is to prevent people making illegal copies. I’m not a fool nor na´ve and I’m aware of that. Illegal copying s a big problem. But I use the discs mainly for copying content I recorded on my dvd-recorder and that is completely legal here. That’s also why I refuse to pay these extra tax. I don’t see why I have to play the victim when some other guys aren’t playing the game according to the rules.

A few words about MediaRange

The reason I mentioned this particular brand, is because I see it very frequently at those web shops and also they were tested as very good by Computer Bild, a German computer magazine (issue 7, 2009). So, it could not be all that bad, or is it?

auvibel-dvd-004.jpg

(Belgium)



- Did this site help you? Then upgrade to Premium Member and show your support!
- Also: Like Us on Facebook for special DVD/Blu-ray news and deals!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
01-19-2010, 12:31 PM
admin's Avatar
admin admin is offline
Site Staff | Web Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,332
Thanked 649 Times in 455 Posts
That's an unfortunate situation. Hopefully my country will not make such a silly decision, but I won't hold my breathe. We did pass PATRIOT and DMCA, after all -- something that doesn't seem to really help most people (or rather, is used in a way that wasn't necessarily intended when it was written). Anyway, I digress...

The MediaRange award is part of a larger conversation about marketing, lies, and idiotic reviewers --- my writing on this often resemble rants because of it.

Not living in Belgium, I'm at a slight disadvantage on knowing what's what -- but I can give you some anecdotal information that can help you make a good decision.

PC World and About.com are two well-known "magazines" here in the USA. PC World is available in print and online, and then About.com is an online-only pub owned by The New York Times. Sometimes the "awards" that are given, or the article/reviews that are written, are very questionable.

A few years ago, some giblet-head writer in Germany wrote up this big scary anti-DVD piece that made its way in PC World. It was all fluff, the research was unfounded garbage, and the source of the information was heavily biased against DVD tech. Nonetheless, the piece ran, scaring people needlessly, and the myth that a DVD will die in 2-5 years lives on to this day. (A well-stored DVD should last 25-50 years, easy.)

The writer guidelines at About.com pretty much state that you're not allowed to leave a bad review -- it sort of pleads with you to find something positive to say (as many good as bad), and to first converse with the maker/seller of the product. This would explain so many of those silly review you see, where "nice remote" and "pretty color" are noted. (Who cares about the color if it doesn't work right? Seriously?)

A lot of magazines are afraid of saying anything bad. They don't want to lose an advertiser. This is a pure breach of journalistic ethics, although this gets downplayed a lot by non-journalist publishers and owners. (Anti-media zealots then chime in with their "all news is biased" garbage.)

A lot of writers are afraid, too. They don't want to anger a publication in a day where writing/media jobs have shrunk. I can't blame them. (On the other hand, I feel ethically obligated to point out all the blaoney that goes on. The "Fox News" affect hasn't gotten to me, where you only report on things that play to your favor.) I've watched fellow writers buck the system, only to adapt slowly, watering down their writing year by year. Others chose to leave the field, rather than become something they couldn't respect when they looked in a mirror. (A friend at the Dallas Morning News did this last year, after it was announced that the advertising department would oversee and "help align" news to marketing interests. That was apparently the last straw for her.)

So when you think about a "Computer Bild" review, examine how often (never?) that they leave a negative comment. Find out what makes a product deserve an award. Sometimes it's nothing more than being cheapest. If that magazine is Belgium-only, then maybe they can't afford to anger the only Belgium DVD brand? Some magazines here still give the Memorex brand of blank disc 4 out of 5 stars when it's a infamous among consumers for being unreliable or crappy.

What I love most is a trend in recent years, where a product (usually some scammy-type junk off TV), says that their item was "featured in Consumer Reports" or some other pub. I actually followed up on this last month, finally tracking down the year-old issue of CR, only to find that the "featured" product was something CR said not to buy! SERIOUSLY! How funny is that?

Few people would check up as I did, so they take awards, testimonials, and related schlock at face value. "It won an award, it must be good!"

Judging from the many, many comments I've read online about MediaRange (including some from very knowledgeable folks at myce/cdfreaks), consumers dislike this brand about as much as folks in the USA dislike Memorex branded CD-R and DVD-R. "Sucks" is a common descriptor.

I'd love to see the "tests" made by the magazine, if an issue is available online, or if you can scan a print copy.

In the end, the only way to know for sure, is to buy some, burn them, test them, and then monitor them over a long period of time. Not everybody wants to do that, however -- it's one reason so many folks come to this site.

Hope that helps.

- Did this site help you? Then upgrade to Premium Member and show your support!
- Also: Like Us on Facebook for special DVD/Blu-ray news and deals!
Reply With Quote
Reply




Thread Tools



 
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:00 AM