Hewlett-Packard must hand over figures detailing how many CD burners it has sold in Germany.

HP, acting on behalf of all CD-burner vendors in Germany, has been fending off a lawsuit filed by authors' rights guilds, which represent writers, artists, and musicians.

The guilds maintain that CD burners are used to duplicate intellectual property without permission. They want a flat fee to be paid on each machine to compensate copyright holders. This would reflect a long-established German system that assesses fees on devices such as photocopiers and tape recorders.

Going retro HP must hand-over drive sales-figures in preparation for the assessment of retroactive intellectual-property fees on the devices, a German court has ruled.

The company has been ordered to reveal the number of CD burners sold in the country after February 1, 1998. The level of fees to be paid later will be determined during court-supervised negotiations, a court spokesman revealed.

HP argues that the old flat-fee system is outdated, and that digital technology should instead be implemented to compensate authors for duplications on a per-use basis.

The guilds won a preliminary ruling against HP in June, after negotiations collapsed and HP withdrew an initial offer to pay a fee of 12 marks ($6) on each new CD burner sold.