According to this article, the Japanese government is to propose a tax on sales of iPods and other portable digital music players and digital hard disk recorders. The tax is a ‘copyright fee’ which will be distributed to record companies, songwriters and artists.
The best analogy I can think of for this quite loopy idea is charging a copyright fee to consumers who buy bookcases to house their books.
Why would any government want to penalise consumers for purchasing electronic devices that aid the distribution of content? The key to all creative industries is distribution. It’s the thing that lubricates the creative business model, especially for digital media. Writers, songwriters, and artists would be more, not less, restricted from making money from their copyright in systems where consumers are economically punished for owning the tools to access their products.