The Regional Appeal Court in Munich has issued an injunction against the central organization for private recording rights, ZPÜ, in Munich to refrain from fixing and publishing a tariff for the remuneration for private copying for PCs.

It follows a challenge by the central association of the computer industry, Zitco.

The Regional Appeal Court ordered that research should be undertaken to measure the scale of the actual use of computers for copying.

The court judged the agreement reached between the Association of German computer manufacturers in Wittmund (BCH) and ZPÜ in January as "a rule that does not meet the interests of the whole business." Members of the BCH include Acer Computer GmbH, Fujitsu Technology Solutions GmbH, Hewlett-Packard GmbH, IBM Germany GmbH, Samsung Electronics GmbH and Sony Deutschland GmbH.

Members of the Zitco association are smaller computer-companies such as Bluechip Computer, Brunen IT Distribution, Extra Computer and Gericom Germany.

The agreement reached between ZPÜ and BCH said that during the period from Jan. 1 2008 to Dec. 31 December 2010, the remuneration for PCs with a burner installed will amount to €13.65 ($18.50) and €12.15 ($16.50) for PCs without a burner, plus VAT sales tax. For companies not joining such general agreements, the collecting societies will publish tariffs that will be 25% higher than these royalty rates.

Following ZPÜ's announcement, Zitco filed the petition for an injunction. The Regional Appeal Court in Munich issued the injunction and prohibited ZPÜ under threat of a penalty of €250,000 ($339,000) to publish a tariff. Only after an agreement has been reached between all parties and ZPÜ would it be permissible to fix a tariff, said the court.

If the negotiations failed it will become necessary to start arbitration proceedings at the Patent Office in Munich.

"The big manufacturers abuse their power in the market to finalize the subject of remuneration for the rights owners in their personal interest," says Frank Brunen, managing director of Brunen IT Distribution.

ZPÜ and BCH refused to give any comment.