Ten chief executives from top IT and electronics firms including Philips, Nokia and Sony today appealed to the European Commission to revive plans to reform the copyright levy system that compensates artists.

The executives wrote the Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso to demand a meeting on hear why the EU's executive body abruptly abandoned its planned reform of an "excessive and unjustified" copyright tax.

"We would like to request a meeting with you to hear how you intend to proceed, or to understand the reasons why the Commission will no longer take action," the CEOs said in their letter.

In December, the Commission delayed a decision on reforming the levy, which is used in 20 of 27 EU member states to compensate artists. It skims a fee off the price of any DVD recorder, MP3 player and blank disc sold on the legal basis that they would likely be used to make unlicensed private copies. Just days before EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy was due to publish his plans, French prime minister Dominique de Villepin asked Barroso to reconsider the reform.

"Industry's confidence has been shaken by the sudden withdrawal of the proposed reforms, and we look to you to personally lead the way forward for reform," wrote the CEOs, who are represented as the Copyright Levies Reform Alliance (CLRA).