Members of the UK music business are said to have given support to an iPod tax – a copyright levy that would be added to the price of every MP3 player sold, based on the assumption that some music on the device has not been paid for.

Former head of Chrysalis and BMG Doug D’Arcy told Digital Music News: "The illegal digital download market is in danger of crippling the British music industry and unless something is done to address this quickly, it will spell disaster for thousands of artists and independent record labels."

The revenue gained from the levy would be passed on to music authors and rights holders.

Legitimize piracy

Some criticise the move, suggesting that this means music purchased legally is being bought twice. There is also a suggestion that by adding the tax to MP3 players, the music industry would be monetizing P2P trading and legitimizing the piracy.

The UK is not the first country to consider such a move. Legislators in Holland recently authorized a similar levy that could add as much as €180 to the price of Apple's 60GB iPod.

A Canadian court recently threw out an iPod tax, ruling that no authority to levy a surcharge on MP3 players existed in that country's laws. The anti-regulatory climate in the United States also seems to rule out an iPod tax there.