European regulatory fees

Understand how European regulatory fees may apply to your products.

The European Commission (EC) has adopted several directives that govern the fair use and end-of-life handling of consumer electronic (CE) products. These directives aim to control the use of hazardous substances, reduce waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), and guarantee the right to duplicate copyright materials with reprography and storage devices.

The EC directives have a direct impact on any business that produces, sells, resells, imports, or distributes consumer electronic products within the European Union (EU).

Regulations summary

The regulations brought about by the concerns surrounding CE products can be broken down into these categories: recycling (WEEE), recycling (batteries), environmental, and copyright.

The following table shows the specific directives currently in place in the EU to address these concerns:


Recycling (WEEE)

Recycling (batteries)






Recycling (WEEE)

EC Directive 2012/19/EU concerns laws mandating the recycling of hardware and consumer electronics.

This directive aims to reduce WEEE by encouraging recycling and preventing WEEE from ending up in landfills. It holds producers responsible for the handling and recycling of WEEE at the end of the product’s life.

To fund these obligations, producers can charge product fees at the point of sale. Most EU countries don't allow you to display the WEEE fee to the consumer, but it can be inclusive to the product. It's considered a cost of doing business (CODB), not a fee for the consumer.

Depending on the visibility requirements of each country, fees may appear in the shopping carts on e-commerce sites

Directive guidelines

  • Requires producers/importers that bring electrical and electronic equipment into a market to assume the responsibility for disposing and/or recycling these products at the end of their lifecycle.

  • Producers/importers must register with national authorities in the markets in which they will sell their CE products. Registration provides several benefits, such as the ability to participate in local recycling compliance schemes, and access to standards for proper product labeling, product fee visibility, and point-of-sale communications on product recycling and disposal.

  • Depending on the jurisdiction, you must either integrate the WEEE fees into the product price (inclusive) or show them as a separate charge to the consumer (exclusive) when they view the shopping cart.

  • The directive states "users of electrical and electronic equipment from private households should have the possibility of returning WEEE at least free of charge." In this case, the distributor is responsible for the takeback, not Digital River. For instance, when a customer purchases a new TV, the distributor is responsible for taking away the old TV.

  • Digital River reports the applicable sales volumes, product attributes, and reporting category to the compliance agency. Digital River does not report the WEEE fee amounts. The compliance agency takes all the data sent by Digital River and then invoices us for the WEEE fees.

  • Producers/importers that collect WEEE must create a way for end-users to return waste equipment for recycling and/or disposal. Producers/importers that collect WEEE products are mandated to dispose of the waste ecologically or reuse/refurbish the waste. Digital River can fulfill that mandate by joining the compliance scheme.

Recycling (batteries)

Laws regarding the manufacture and waste management of batteries were created in response to the EC Directive 2006/66/EC.

This directive aims to control the metals and chemicals used in the production of batteries and to facilitate and fund recycling and waste management of batteries. In summary, this directive bans certain metals and chemicals in batteries, limits the amount of other metals and chemicals in batteries, and calls for waste management of batteries that includes recycling and "take back" programs.

Environmental (RoHS)

Laws regarding the use of certain substances in CE products were created in response to EC Directives 2002/95/EC, 2011/65/EU, 2015/65/EU - RoHS 2, and 2015/863 RoHS 3.

These directives concern the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electronic and electrical equipment. They apply to manufacturers. If specified in the client's agreement with Digital River, the client must agree to comply.

RoHS restricts the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), _**_diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), and a range of flame retardants notably polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) outlined by the WEEE directive.


  • Producers may not put electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) containing lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in amounts exceeding the established maximum concentration values on the EU market.

  • Producers must demonstrate compliance by submitting technical documentation or other information to the enforcement authority on request and retain such documentation for four years after the EEE is placed on the market.

Laws regarding the sale and use of reprography and storage devices were created in response to EC Directive 2001/29/EC. The Information Society Directive, also known as the EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) or Information Society Directive (Infosoc), aims to limit the use of reprography and storage devices from infringing on copyrights.

The following summarizes the basic requirements and rules within the copyright directive:

  • Addresses reprography and private copying obligations impacting reproduction and digital storage devices. The directive "concerns the legal protection of copyright and related rights in the framework of the internal market, with particular emphasis on the information society."

  • Copyright holders must be compensated for the rights to duplicate their print and digital materials. Generally, the funding of such compensation is by manufacturers, distributors, or retailers collecting prescribed fees at the time of purchase. The manufacturer could collect a fee from the retailer, who in turn could collect the fee from the consumer, depending on the various country laws. Digital River is required to register with a copyright agency that handles copyright fees.

  • Digital River reports the sales volumes of applicable products and relevant product attribute data by number (such as pages per minute, printer pages per minute, and hard storage capacity), not the amount of fees we collected for the copyright agency. The copyright agency, in turn, will invoice Digital River for the copyright levies.

  • Producers/importers are obligated to pay the fees. They may collect fees separately at the time of sale.

  • Some countries charge fees at the point of sale. Some common examples of products that require this fee: copiers, printers, MP3 players, and blank CD or DVD media.

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