In 22 of 27 EU member states technology companies must pay a "copyright levy" on devices devices such as MP3 players and mobile phones used to copy music, books, films and other protected content. Exceptions include the UK, Ireland and Luxembourg.
The charges exist to compensate copyright owners over losses from illegal copying. But device makers say they artificially raise prices for consumers and act as a competitive barrier to vendors.
Now, The FT has reported that Nokia, Motorola, Apple and Sony have signed a letter to the EC asking to "explore new ways forward" in the dispute.
One suggested compromise is that surcharges are harmonised. At present they vary dramatically from country to country.
The issue has been brought into focus for the mobile business by the rise of MP3 and video enabled devices. However, the growing acceptance of DRM-free music – which can be shared without limit – suggests that vendors may be more willing to accept limited charges.