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Music Media Media (Apple)

Canadians [Will] Pay Levy on MP3 Players - Updated 665

Capt. Canuck writes "According to this Toronto Star story, the Canadian Copyright Board may approve a 20% levy on electronic media tomorrow, including MP3 players and hard drives. With the Canadian Dollar rising and this on the horizon, maybe now is the right time to get that iPod." Update: 12/12 16:33 GMT by M : rcpitt writes "The Canadian Copyright Board has (finally - a year late) issued its ruling on the latest round of blank media levy - the controversial (in the rest of the world as well as Canada) private "tax" on recordable media used to copy music which proceeds go to the music artists in Canada. The ruling by the board and a press release were posted to the Board's web site at 10AM Ottawa (CST) today. The ruling continues the levy amounts from the previous 2 year period (2001-2002) to the end of this period (2003-2004) at the same amounts as previously set but adds new levies on portable (MP3) digital audio recorders of from CDN$2/unit to CDN$25/unit depending on internal storage capacity."
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Canadians [Will] Pay Levy on MP3 Players - Updated

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  • by Thinkit3 ( 671998 ) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @08:58PM (#7696240)
    Clearly this is insane. It's nothing other than welfare for copyright holders. One way to make things more sane is to abolish copyright. Without copyright, nobody would have a legal right to prevent others from copying music, and thus would have no justification for asking for a tariff on equipment for recording music to. But copyright should be abolished mainly because it is unnatural--cheaper recording media would be just a side effect.

    Agree on abolishing copyrights and patents? The poster argoff does as well. You are not alone.
    • by GoofyBoy ( 44399 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:16PM (#7696440) Journal
      >Without copyright, nobody would have a legal right to prevent others from copying music, and thus would have no justification for asking for a tariff on equipment for recording music

      How does the legal right to prevent others to do something allow them to set up and benefit from a tax?

      I honestly fail to see how copyright becomes this thing where we assume that all hard-drives are used to infringe on it.
    • by Fancia ( 710007 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:21PM (#7696491)
      That's utterly ridiculous. You've jumped to the other end of the argument entirely, ignoring a more rational level in the middle. Abolishing copyright will very likely reduce the amount of quality art available quite drastically; the publishers should be looking to alternate sale methods rather than draconian tariffs and lawsuits. Abolishing copyrights will solve the problem only as much as this will.
      • by sbszine ( 633428 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:32PM (#7696593) Homepage Journal
        As someone pointed out the other day, there was plenty of quality art available before copyright. Shakespeare and Mozart were happy to create art without it, and (AFIAK) made money from performance and patronage.

        A middle ground would definitely be a good idea, though. I would be happy if copyright was limited to the lifetime of the artist, and/or non-transferable. An artist gets paid for their creations for their whole lifetime, but Brian Herbert and Disney have to come up with something original if they want to pass themselves off as artists.
        • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:54PM (#7696762) Homepage
          As someone pointed out the other day, there was plenty of quality art available before copyright

          Justice Breyer, back before he was on the Supreme Court, wrote a paper on that, where he concluded that the costs of copying were high enough so that artists/authors didn't really need copyright, at least in some areas. Books, for example, usually made most of their sales soon after release, and by the time someone, using the best technology of the day, could get a knockoff out, it would not be profitable.

          However, the costs of copying have gone WAY down since then. At the time Breyer wrote, it was close. The results now would alsmost certainly go the other way.

        • by blincoln ( 592401 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:07PM (#7696879) Homepage Journal
          As someone pointed out the other day, there was plenty of quality art available before copyright. Shakespeare and Mozart were happy to create art without it, and (AFIAK) made money from performance and patronage.

          Mozart (and other "classical" composers) were funded by the royalty and/or the church.

          As long as you don't mind listening exclusively to religious and/or patriotic music, I guess there's no problem.
          • And the original blues artists who formed the core of modern rock American music drew from traditional and religious music and unfunded. Held down and marginalized by a segregated society in fact, a triple whammy. Wait a minute, religious, traditional and folk music were written without protections too. Jazz and swing? So now we have more examples of great and original music genres without the 'benefit' of draconian copyright protection applied to listeners instead of publishers. Is it today's (Fruedian sli
    • by KanshuShintai ( 694567 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:36PM (#7696621) Homepage
      While there are parts of the current copyright laws that need modification there is no reason to abolish it all together and much reason to keep the parts of it that encourage the making of creative works.

      For example, attribution is a VERY important part of the copyright laws, that should in no way be abolished. Removing the laws that guarantee an author, musician, artist, etc. recognition for their works is the surest way to halt the creation of new works.

      Destroying the laws that allow the creator of copyrighted works to make money off of his works is also very likely to reduce or even eliminate the incentive to create new works and the ability to make a living doing so.

      What needs altering in the copyright laws are the sections dealing with work for hire and the length of time that copyrights last; these sections need to be altered to deter abuse of the copyright laws by, in today's world, large corporations, and to make it harder for artists to be exploited.

      The destruction of copyright may seem to provide relief for the current issues concerning it, but that is no more a viable solution than disallowing the creation of works, so that there would be no artists to exploit.
    • by Bi()hazard ( 323405 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:02PM (#7696833) Homepage Journal
      The parent post is so unconventional as to seem irrational at first-but think about what this implies for a minute. Copyright is taken for granted in modern society; everyone assumes information must be restricted to retain value. This is a very recent change. Shakespeare had no copyright, and throughout human history art was produced without the "protection" of copyright.

      Now consider the original purpose of copyright. It was not developed to bring profit to those who distrubute conent. The founding fathers, and others around the world who introduced copyright, intended it to be a legal mechanism to shut down people who pass off the work of others as their own for commercial gain. Copyright periods were very short-only a few years-and typical cases involved large operations that mass produced works without permission.

      A modern example of true copyright violation can be found in the movie bootleggers of Hong Kong. Take a walk down the street, and you'll see a variety of dirt cheap dvd's with good enough quality that only the most sophisticated consumers can spot the fakes. The pirates reap massive profit and gain control over how the work is presented while the creators are marginalized. This is what copyright was created to stop.

      However, corporations bent on extracting maximum profit have perverted copyright into something it was never meant to be. In fact, through the contractual transference of copyright, companies now use copyright laws to screw the original artists! This is why we see non sequitors such as the tax on media: Corporations have no regard for the rights of customers or artists. They will abuse both in the name of profit-that is the purpose they were created for, and they would be deficient if they were not to do so. Lobbying for bad laws is only one mechanism for maximizing profit.

      Clearly copyright has lost its original purpose and is now used to restrict the arts rather than encouraging them. Commercial interests, not artistic integrity, drive popular modern artistry. The artists themselves have no power and loathe the corporations that keep them on a leash. Small steps will not fix this. Shortening copyright terms or removing levies will not discourage those who make a living by abusing the system.

      To encourage the arts and give artists true freedom we must go back to the models of the past. Artists can make a living through live performance, patronage, and teaching. Corporate middlemen should be removed, and profit should take a back seat to improvement of the human experience. This can only be accomplished by abolishing copyright as we know it.

      Of course, you ask, "What will happen to the professional pirates that caused the creation of copyright in the first place? Won't they run rampant after copyright is abolished?" This problem can be solved through existing mechanisms. We already have trademarks. Trademarks are a mechanism for guaranteeing that the stated brand or credits are accurate. We can simply link content to brand. Suppose an aspiring artist writes a song that turns into a hit. The artist names the song, and trademarks that song name in association with the artist's own name. Much like how patent implementations are provided along with statements, the song itself is given as an implementation of the trademark. Now, it is illegal to make use of that specific implementation without naming the original artist as its creator, and it is illegal to use the artist's name and trademark without permission. Professional pirates are outlawed, and bringing a case against them is trivially easy. Artists gain total control of their works, and noone owes anyone anything except the truth.

      That's what copyright was meant to be after all-a method of forcing people to tell the truth, and not lie about where content came from. By abolishing copyright and using more limited mechanisms to enforce honesty we can bring back artistic integrity and remove the subversive corporate influence from the humanities.
    • by incom ( 570967 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @02:44AM (#7698484)
      Since copyright is about protecting money, then how about making it only apply to those who are making money off of copyright breach. It's alot more enforceable against only business then it is against all of humanity, and alot more fair as well.

      1. Joe copy's a song, == legal.
      2. Joe copy's a song and sells it, == illegal.
      3. J-corp copy's a CD and sells it to distributors, == even more illegal!

      This of course applies to song/CD 's that they didn't create. And in my personal(and controversion I guess) opinion, it is up to the content pushers to get us to actually pay for thier stuff, whether through good(bonuses, artwork etc.) or bad(anti-copying technology.) .
  • by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) * <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @08:58PM (#7696241) Homepage Journal
    Dammit, RIAA, you can't just change your name and cross the border... can you...?

    The Copyright Board decision comes as the Supreme Court of Canada begins a landmark copyright case that will determine whether Internet service providers must pay a tariff for being a conduit for the rampant downloading of free music.

    Hmmm... we should also charge them for the lost business from gaming that they create! Oh, and let's tax them so that the telephone industry gets a cut since so many people are using instant messaging and IRC rather than calling people. Hell, let's just shut them down entirely because they can be a conduit for crime!

    Remember, what you choose to spend money on is no longer up to you. :^)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:10PM (#7696902)
      With appoligizations to our brothers and sisters up north.
  • Canadian Dollar (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pollock ( 453937 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:00PM (#7696267) Homepage
    I think you may be confused about the effect of a rising Canadian dollar. If the dollar continues to go up, importing an iPod should get cheaper.
    • by StandardCell ( 589682 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:28PM (#7696559)
      The Canadian prices for iPods [apple.com] are $439, $579, and $729 for 10GB, 20GB and 40GB iPods, respectively. You must pay 7% GST on top of anything that you buy.

      The US prices for iPods [apple.com] are $299, $399, and $499 for the same above. If you're not in California you only pay shipping and no tax.

      At $1.32 Canadian exchange rate, assuming no skimming by your bank, the US prices to Canadians are $395, $527, and $658. Aside from the difference in price, to then bring it across the border you will be charged 7% GST and unknown amounts of excise, brokerage, inspection and other taxes, and they're not small change. I can guarantee you that it will end up costing you more to order it from the US if you're in Canada.

      More proof that the Canadian dollar should be at around $1.50 or that prices in Canada should fall. Every Canadian iPod sold makes Apple in Cupertino extra profit at this point, and there's nothing that Canadians can do about it.
      • by z4ce ( 67861 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:41PM (#7696666)
        What you are talking about is called Purchase Power Parity. The economist does this cool little thing where they use the Big Mac to compute the purchase power parity of each currency.

        The reason the purchase power parity can very so much from currency to currency is primarily because of the financial interest in the U.S. Markets which drives the demand for our currency up.

        Unfortunately for us American's, eventually the worth of our strong dollar must eventually fall to put it back into line with PPP.

        Having a high PPP is a double edged sword though. If you have a high PPP, it means you can buy a lot of stuff from abroad with your dollar. However, conversely, your stuff looks high priced compared to other country's stuff. Thus, you tend to run trade-deficits. Eventually, it will balance out.
    • by bubkus_jones ( 561139 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:46PM (#7696711)
      No, he's not confused. He's saying since the Canadian Dollar is going up, the price of an iPod is lower than it has been in a while. Now, since these dumbass levy's are going in effect soon, he's saying that anyone wanting to buy one to get one while the loonie is strong and there aren't any extra levys on it.
    • ...and do it NOW, is ORGANIZE! Put this to the people. I can see the commercials already - like Walmart's happy face logo replacing prices except way higher ones this time.

      Since it appears that consumers in Canada are able to be trampled on just as much as they are in the U.S., why don't some of the retailers who are going to feel the pinch put pressure on the lawmakers?

  • Everything happens (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:02PM (#7696291)
    With the Canadian Dollar rising and this on the horizon, maybe now is the right time to get that iPod."

    Or you could just get one from a country outside Canada. Say, like one that's big on technology, with small(er) taxes, not too far from Canada and with a currency that's falling through the floorboards ...

    Hint: it's not Mexico, Greenland or Russia.
  • by Mark_MF-WN ( 678030 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:02PM (#7696293)
    First, the blank-tape tax.

    Then, the blank-CD tax (20$ for 10 blank CDs? Madness!)

    The proposed internet bandwidth tax. Grrr!

    Now a hard-drive tax?

    I'm going to have to pirate music extra-hard from now on, just to get my money's worth!
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:08PM (#7696364)
      SIG: More Americans run Kazaa than vote.

      Yes, that's because when they download a song from Madonna, the computer they download the song from doesn't recount their download requests and send them a Waylon Jenning track instead.
    • by JoeBuck ( 7947 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:28PM (#7696554) Homepage

      It seems that one fair way to proceed is for the government to levy these taxes and then tell everyone to go nuts, copy everything you want, because it's all paid for. The problem seems to be that the copyright holders want it both ways: to collect the tax money but still have copying be illegal.

  • Yes but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by skajake ( 613518 ) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:02PM (#7696294)
    Now that I have to pay this royalty, am i free to duplicate copyrighted material? Or will I now merely be paying twice for something.
    • Re:Yes but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sylver Dragon ( 445237 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:13PM (#7696411) Journal
      That's the question that I had. Assuming that this 'tax' is being distributed to the copyright holders, to pay for the music I am assumed to be pirating, shouldn't that pirating now be allowed? Afterall, I have now paid for it. Or is this just going to be another way for the RIAA/MPAA to milk people dry? Now, granted, I am lucky (in this case) that I live in the US, but how long before our congress decides that this is a good idea and impliments it here?
      At the moment, I don't download music (I just don't care enough), but if something like this were to go into effect here, I think I would probably start downloading music, just to make up for the cost.
      Got to hand it to the people that thought this one up, they may have created a self fullfilling prophesy. Assume everyone pirates music, so charge a tax for it. People either think that its now OK, becuase they are paying for it, or people get pissed about it and start pirating music, just to get their money's worth. Suddenly, everyone is pirating music, and the initial assumption becomes correct.

      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:34PM (#7697078)
        Rather than saying pirating must be allowed, I think it should say the reverse -- copying MUST be allowed, and copyrighted content and playback systems must be set up in a way that the content can be copied for personal use in a manner which retains the full value of the content -- ie, not just BS analog copies on yesterday's mediums, but full-value copies which retain all the advantages of the original material. The only mitigating factor allowed would be the lack of availability of consumer copying equipment (eg, DVDs prior to the availability of DVD recoders).

        In other words, copyright holders are forbidden from encumbering their material for sale with copyright protection technology which would otherwise hinder consumers from making their personal use copies.

        It's not enough to just say "OK, you can make personal copies" -- the industry will just push DRM and other onerous systems which prevent you from making copies. At this point, they are violating the spirit of a law which grants them royalties without having to prove a loss.

        BTW, thanks to the guy in NYC on park ave & 37th with an open access point. My gay room in the Sheraton doesn't have hi speed access.
  • by bmorris ( 562872 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:02PM (#7696297)
    You're already "paying" for the media... Maybe the government should just track what files are being downloaded, and distribute the "media tax" proportionately.
    • Not as far as I understand. Downloading is legal but sharing is still an IP violation, which shows just how insane this legislation is. The sooner the next federal election kicks Sheila Copps' fat ass out our government the sooner we return to some semblance of normalcy.
  • by falxx ( 456915 )
    This is the kind of thing that makes me mad. What does it really solve to do this? The copyright holders will still crave for more money, and they will continue until there's no more money left! And we, the consumers, will never have any profit of such a levy, it won't keep us from getting sued if the copyright holders wants more money, it wont make it easier for us to chose our own device of playing the more and more customized copyprotection...

    So I say: Come up with something better, will ya?
  • Improvement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:03PM (#7696308) Homepage
    It looks better than the previous scheme, which charged a fixed amount per megabyte of storage.
  • by Sebby ( 238625 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:06PM (#7696345)
    If they're going to treat me as a criminal regardless of what I actually do, then I might as well play into that role.

  • too powerful (Score:3, Interesting)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:07PM (#7696348) Journal
    The Copyright Board decision comes as the Supreme Court of Canada begins a landmark copyright case that will determine whether Internet service providers must pay a tariff for being a conduit for the rampant downloading of free music.

    I don't know anything about Canadian Law, or Canadian internet/music habits, but I'd guess only a minority of users are downloading (copyrighted) music. I think it's absurd the entire industry could be forced to pay a tariff.

    It's almost enough to make me glad that in the US, the RIAA has to sue individuals, and haven't (yet) been able to bill ISPs directly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:07PM (#7696349)
    $.49 tarrif per cd? That's nearly 100% of the actual market value! Music doesn't even make up a significant percentage of my use of CD-R media, I'd be pissed if the US imposed such a large tax on it.

    My laptop uses the same HD type found in small mp3 players, would it fall under the tax?

    So, I assume all this money will be going directly to the artists, who have been so badly hurt by the mp3 downloading craze? Yeah... right.

  • by Vilim ( 615798 ) <ryan@j a b b e r w o c k.ca> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:08PM (#7696358) Homepage
    Luckily I live right near the boarder (Thunder Bay Ontario). If I want that ipod I just take a trip to Duluth for the weekend, take my laptop, load it up with mp3's and pretend I had it all along. The strong Canadian doller will make this cheaper than buying it in Canada :D

    • by gvc ( 167165 )
      Near the border? And you probably think it is warm there, too.

      It is 311 km from TB to Duluth. You have to buy a lot of CDRs to pay for your gas. Even at $0.49/CDR.
  • by Geek Boy ( 15178 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:10PM (#7696384)
    You're paying for it now, so copy as you like. Don't feel remorse. The government is just making it easy - now Canadians can download music and movies off the Internet instead of wasting time walking to a store. You think the recording industry would dare take you to court and lose when the judge learns that you paid them for it already? That court loss would open the floodgates!

    Use this stuff for legitimate reasons only? Go buy in the US. You have a right to do that.
  • Remember, Kids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by illuminata ( 668963 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:12PM (#7696403) Journal
    Don't throw tax money at a problem and hope that it will go away. And, don't believe a politician when they say that the tax is going to be used to discourage the use of something. They know very well that the usage rates won't drop much, which means pure profit. You can tax beer, but everybody still likes to get drunk. Most importantly, when you have people who want to tax items that don't directly have to do with the problem in order to make money, it might be a good idea to relocate to another country, because the people in charge of yours might be getting a little bit greedy and a little bit socialist at the same time. That's quite ironic, because isn't socialism supposed to prevent from greed? It seems like that's just being collectively greedy. Anyways, be careful where you move, though, you wouldn't want to move to another country that's just as bad if not worse, right? You could learn a lot from a Libertarian.
  • by Billy the Mountain ( 225541 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:14PM (#7696417) Journal
    Psst, Trade ya these prescription drugs for your MP3 players? How about it eh?

  • My copyright (Score:3, Insightful)

    by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:15PM (#7696428) Homepage
    Does this mean that everytime I take a picture with my Canon D30 camera I will see a cut of the 20% lavy. I mean it is my copyrighted work on the CF card.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:18PM (#7696456) Homepage Journal
    Even hard drives? Sheesh... At this rate they will tax the computer industry into oblivion..

  • by StandardCell ( 589682 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:18PM (#7696459)
    Why does one group get to have its way with all digital media without respect for other groups? Why is it that musicians and songwriters deserve to impose a "guilty until proven innocent" handout? If they get that much, then what will happen when other groups ask for them? What about film producers and movie studios? What about software companies? What about print publishers? If you take all of these groups into consideration, given what is already charged, the average CD blank will end up with a $4 per blank tax.

    Great. The deal is then that I will get all of my software, music and books from warez newsgroups, filesharing networks and wherever else I can.

    Does this make any sense whatsoever? Because if these groups think they can tax all this blank media, they will utterly destroy retail sales of both original media and blanks and the incentive of the consumer to engage in purchases thereof. This will end up hurting the artists represented by the collective. They will also drive blank media into the underground where trucks haul this stuff into black markets. Who loses in this scheme? Everyone but the people who supposedly get these taxes.

    I consult for a living in the video editing and commercial production field, and now I have to tell my clients to make an emergency purchase tomorrow of spindles of DVD-Rs, CD-Rs and any other media and stockpile them because of this ridiculous tax. My clients don't deal in pirated material, and often we have to license music, images and footage from the creators anyway. They will never be able to apply for the proceeds from these taxes because they'll never qualify.

    Enough is enough. E-mail Claude Majeau at majeau.claude@cb-cda.gc.ca and let him know what you think of him and his band of thugs. Find the MP for your riding [parl.gc.ca] and tell them that the Canadian Copyright Board needs to be stopped before they destroy retail sales in Canada and end up fueling mass piracy and the black market for the sake of artists who should be paid based on the merits of their music, not because they have been somehow directly robbed.
    • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:22PM (#7696507)
      As a musician and songwriter, I see this sort of thing as a barrier to entry, not a benefit.

      If the cost of recording media goes up, it makes it more expensive to record, and makes it much more costly to distribute one's music for free. If it costs me $4 to make a demo to give away, then it's costing almost as much to make music to give away for free, as it would cost to buy some music produced by a corporation!

      This isn't about piracy, it's about controlling whose art gets distributed. Stalin had different methods, but it's the same goal.
  • by Wraithlyn ( 133796 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:20PM (#7696470)
    "So far, the organization has distributed $11 million back to Canadian artists"

    Wow.. so that's like about what, 2.75 mil per Canadian artist then? ;)

    *ducks and covers*
  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:20PM (#7696479) Journal
    If this is the same levy as before, it only applies to _blank_ media. That is, media without any sounds on it. So the iPod in Canada could just come with a copy of "Steve Jobs Sings" prerecorded, and no levy.
  • by dandelion_wine ( 625330 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:24PM (#7696527) Journal
    Ok - not like this is a lone cry in the wilderness, but this just sickens me.

    This does happen elsewhere. We pay for increased insurance rates when other people have more accidents. The prices in our stores go up when other people shoplift. The difference? The government doesn't raise the prices on tangentially connected items in order to compensate.

    I'm not screwin around here. Several years ago I bought a hand-held dictaphone that used normal-sized cassette tapes. Sure, it's bulkier, but had a huge advantage -- those mini-tapes were mondo-expensive. I'd buy ten cheapo no-name standard cassette tapes (all I'd need for a lecture, etc) and I'd be set. Enter the levy -- doubling the price or more of the cheap tapes. May as well get pricey ones if I'm gonna get charged a flat fee per tape. And out goes the entire purpose of buying that particular model. Punished for an entirely erroneous assumption. And let's remember: mixed-tapes were legal, too. Mass production and use (as some DJ's would do) was a concern for the powers that be, but fair-use was still fair-use. Now we get slammed whether we break the law or no.

    Is this a democracy or not? Who got to have a say on this issue?
  • by chathamhouse ( 302679 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:25PM (#7696533) Homepage
    The interesting thing about these levies is that the money spent by the consumer doesn't necessarily vanish into thin air.

    While this has yet to be tested in courts, what consumers get in exchange for the levy is permission to make copies of music for personal purposes. In other words, it legalises the _download_ of MP3s for which you don't own the cd or other media. This is, after all, what the levy is compensating artists for.

    However, it does not legalize the _distribution_ of copyrighted works. Hence you're in the clear if you only download, but not make anything available from P2P networks. An interesting compromise.

    Canada has not yet signed the WIPO treaties which would be breached by the compromise reached by the copyright board. Naturally, copyright holders argue that this is a mis-interpretation of the law, and that we should be both paying the levy AND barred from copying for personal purposes.

    Compare the Canadian Copyright Act to the Australian Copyright Act, and you find that the consumer comes out far ahead in the Great White (as in snow, not culture) North. In Australia, making a backup copy of music that you've purchased is a technical (but again untested) breach of the Copyright Act.

    In the end, I'll take a $25-$200 once-off levy over not having permission to copy CD's that I've purchased, or being subjected to the DMCA, or being subjected to the WIPO treaties any day. As an added bonus, artists who have limited distribution of their works (i.e. the Little Guys) see some of this cash. This helps the economy a lot more than slowing down the sales of portable music devices.
  • What about porn? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ad0gg ( 594412 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:33PM (#7696604)
    Seriously, what about the porn industry. Kazaa, usenet, gnutellla etc all have pirated porn. Yet they seem to stay in business even without levies.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:39PM (#7696649)
    When will the Canadian voters and computer users realize that they outnumber the CPCC, record companies, and government hacks, and start dictating to the Canadian Copyright Board just how to stand up to pressure?

    This whole idea of compromise means the industry gets at least half a loaf, right out of the pockets of many people who never recorded a song in their lifetime. People who believe in compromise are the worst sort to have on regulation boards.

    And taxing MP3 players is absurd. If you buy the music you should be able to listen to it on your iPod or any other player without additional charge. It's not like you're suddenly listening to it on your home stereo, car stereo, and iPod at the same time.

    Canada needs a popular revolution, with a few decapitations thrown in for good measure!

  • by Doppler00 ( 534739 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:39PM (#7696651) Homepage Journal
    I'm not Canadian, but this is what I think about the issue: If they start charging such exorbitant taxes they are just sending the message that it's okay to pirate the music because you're already paying for it in taxes.

    Of course, this would be completely unfair to those of us who make enough money and have the moral character to actually PURCHASE our own music. The additional tax would be like welfare to support those who didn't feel like they should have to pay for music.

    Most people probably don't use digital media to store music on anyway. Flash memory cards are primarily used in digital cameras, hard drives are used in PC's, CD-R's can be used for back-up and fair use rights, DVD-R's are used for making home movies from camcorders. Taxing any of these just to give free money to someone who didn't earn it is just plain wrong.

    My suggestion? They should just do more to educate consumers about copyright law, and why it's important.
    • by djmurdoch ( 306849 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:59PM (#7697248)
      You should check out this Canadian Copyright Board fact sheet [cb-cda.gc.ca]. It is okay to copy music recordings; it's not piracy, it's legal private use. The levy is the way that people who copy recordings pay for their music.

      Yes, it's definitely an issue that blank recording media is used for other things besides recording music. But the issue is that the levy may not be targeted as well as it should be, not that it is "welfare to support those who don't feel like they should have to pay for music".

      I really do encourage you to read that fact sheet. It is surprisingly clearly written for something coming from the government. For example, can you believe that this was written by a government board?

      4. I buy blank CDs regularly to use in my computer. Are they subject to the levy and if so, how much is it?

      Both "ordinary" CD-Rs and CD-RWs and their "Audio" counterparts can be used to copy music. Having said this, most CDs used to copy music are "ordinary" CD-Rs and CD-RWs (for which the levy is 21 cents), not "Audio" products (for which the levy is 77 cents).

      CD-R Audio and CD-RW Audio products were created at least in part to comply with US legal requirements. They are encoded so as to be recognized as audio products when played on digital audio recording equipment and may not be readable by all CD-ROM drives. Otherwise, they are technologically identical to their non-Audio counterparts.

      CD-Rs Audio and CD-RWs Audio are marketed as such, and are sold at a much higher price (sometimes twice as much or more) than "ordinary" CD-Rs and CD-RWs. They also represent less than one per cent of the Canadian recordable CD market.

      From a practical perspective, if the package of blank CDs you purchase does not state that they are Audio CDs or "for music use only", then they are subject to a levy of 21 cents.

      The use to which a recordable CD is actually being put does not determine whether it is subject or not to the levy. Manufacturers and importers of blank CDs pay royalties on all the CDs they sell blank.

      Note that this page is a little old; those rates they state are probably out of date.
  • by AnotherBlackHat ( 265897 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:43PM (#7696680) Homepage
    An oldie but a goodie -
    The "levy" is only for blank media.

    So put a recording on the hard drive.

    Not only would you avoid the tax, you also can claim to be a music distributor, and collect a portion of the tax paid by your less savy competition.

    Make the recording an advertising jingle, and you can get someone to pay you to install it.

    And maybe you can get a spot on the top ten best sellers list - after all, how many recording artists sell albums for the price of a hard drive?

    -- this is not a .sig
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:00PM (#7696813) Journal
    This isn't the only thing going on in the world of media, if you look at the copyright board of Canada [cb-cda.gc.ca], most of the upcoming issues are all dealing with SOCAN [socan.ca], CMRRA and the NRCC.


    Included issues are: radio stations, pay audio services, radio, radio, ringtones, background music, and tariffs tariffs, tariffs

    Isn't this a bit insane? I mean, tariffs on ringtones...? Looking at the recent news page you would think that the copyright board only deals with audio issues...

    Yes, it is time for music producers to learn some new tricks, and stop milking the consumer.

    If you want a brief description of each organization and various others, go here [cb-cda.gc.ca]
  • by Platinum Dragon ( 34829 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:05PM (#7696863) Journal
    This will probably cause many small and struggling computer stores to close. The one I work at barely survived Toronto's Summer of SARS, and sales are finally starting to recover. People from outside the province get enough sticker shock when Ontario's 8% tax and the federal 7% tax are stacked on top of the posted price. If an extra 20% gets tacked on storage media, that's a 35% tax, little of which will end up going to the struggling artist, most of which will go to Bryan Fucking Adams and Celine Fucking Dion if most of it doesn't disappear into copyright board and record industry bureaucracy. When a customer mentioned this to me today, I thought he was joking. This is going to help no one, and will likely hurt many, many people who would otherwise be purchasing music and movies. Fewer people will buy storage media, which means less money will be available for businesses to pay rent and employees, which means fewer people using their wages to buy entertainment--if they end up receiving a wage at all. Basic capitalist economics--even a tree-hugging commie like me understands this cause and effect, and it's not as if that 20% will go to serve any common good in the end.

    Maybe the copyright board can donate some of that 20% to Employment Insurance, because I can forsee more than a few computer retail jockeys looking for new places of employment. Want to guess how many CDs and DVDs I'll be able to purchase on the dole while I hunt for work in a place that won't get screwed over with massive tax increases that will likely not reach the artists that really need the cash yesterday? Want to guess how many hard drives and burners people, including prospective artists, will purchase? Want to guess how many demo and promo CDs Joe the Band will be able to pump out for distribution now? And when CD sales continue to fall as the homogenization of pop music continues, guess what the industry will come crying for again. I don't intend retail to be a career, but it pays the rent until I can move on to something better. I can already see how this action will harm me and the people I work with.

    Thanks for nothing.
  • by CustomDesigned ( 250089 ) <stuart@gathman.org> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:31PM (#7697064) Homepage Journal
    I have never bought (or pirated) any RIAA products since the advent of the CD. I buy music from real musicians. I realize that many real musicians are enslaved by the RIAA, and I am sorry for them. Britney Spears is not a real musician.

    I like to record my own music also, and the though of paying the RIAA for the privilege of doing so is galling. I am glad it hasn't come to that in the US yet. It is bad enough that I have to pay the RIAA everytime my wife uses a tape recorder to record notes to herself. I'll have to get her one of those gadgets that record to digital memory. (But tape recorders are dirt cheap.)

    Why do you Canadians put up with taxes levied by corporations? Oh wait . . .

  • by fygment ( 444210 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:35PM (#7697085)
    ... because by establishing the levy, they'd also be effectively saying that they are not going to pursue the RIAA "shock and awe suing" campaign. Look at it as if they'd be saying, "Download all you want. We believe we're being fairly compensated."

    Now, the last hurdle of the conscience driven user is gone. You don't have to feel the least bit guilty about downloading because you are paying for it.

    So be a good consumer. Get out there and get the best bang for your buck that you possibly can!!

  • by RealityThreek ( 534082 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:53PM (#7697212)
    But since we're already be paying for media we copy, that means copying is now legal right?

    Otherwise, we're paying for the media twice.
  • by Nonillion ( 266505 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @11:02PM (#7697264)
    The CPCC,RIAA and MPAA just don't get it. Punshing law abiding citizens with your "pirating tax" will never work. Hard working people like me are fucking fed up with your "bought lock stock and barrel" tarrifs and taxes. This is just one of the reasons I haven't bought any of your over priced music CDs in years. Just because I buy hard drives, CDRs and video tapes does NOT give you the right to charge ANY sur taxes because the media "could be used to pirate music". Why don't you start charging taxes on hubs, switches, routers and sound cards.

    Better start buying old computer hardware people, before the CPCC,RIAA and MPAA force the hardware manufactures into putting "approved" DRM controls in the hardware.

    Sorry for the ranting, but this shit just gets under my skin...
  • by GISGEOLOGYGEEK ( 708023 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @11:11PM (#7697310)
    Here's what will happen.

    When the tax starts, which by the way also includes a massive increase to the music industry tax on blank CD's that will nearly double their already taxed price, far fewer people will want to buy the products.

    However, they will still neeeeed the products.

    SO ... they will simply wander on down to their local weekend flea market, for example the one in the big red building on Terminal Ave. here in Vancouver BC, and spend their money on all the stolen property stacked up in every stall.

    There's a couple stalls in particular that sell unopened, new stacks of CD's that are already a lot cheaper than retail and 'strangely' have no Music tax on them.

    In the end, the music industry looses their tax grab (...that they were never getting anyways as the canadian government has not paid out ONE CENT of the money theyve collected in the past few years...), because fewer people can afford to buy the CD's, the crime rate goes up with more B&E's on businesses that sell blank CD's, or even through smuggling of cheaper CD's up from the US, The technology companies will offer fewer players as they become even further priced above what people will play, many will continue to gripe about a tax they are supposed to pay when they are just backing up their own data .... ... and millions will continue to go merrily along burning mp3's onto blank CD's, just now they're stolen CD's.

    Can't happen? look what happened in Ontario when taxes went too high on cigarettes (with the help of some slimy smugglers on a native reserve, and the bastard cigarette companies that covertly supplied the smugglers).
  • by FrankDrebin ( 238464 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @11:22PM (#7697389) Homepage

    With the black market on media bound to spring up, I for one look forward to getting my hard drives and soft drugs from the same convenient supplier.

  • by fatwreckfan ( 322865 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @11:25PM (#7697404)
    I was severely pissed last week when CBC Newsworld [www.cbc.ca] had a so-called "discussion" regarding music downloading and its effect on the recording industry. Their only guest was a copyright lawyer who (surprise, surprise) didn't mention the levy on blank recordable media [sycorp.com] collected in Canada, which goes as a free handout to the recording industry. What other industry get's to collect free money from the government on the chance that someone somewhere might do something illegal?? As if this isn't disgusting enough, the recording industry is pushing for a levy on internet access, which will again be given to the poor music industry. I can't believe they have the balls to demand that every internet user pay even if they have never downloaded a single illegal song.

    I tried in vain to call in since the issue of the blank media levy was not addressed, and I hate the idea that uneducated people out there were watching that and possibly becoming sympathetic to the music industry.
    • What other industry get's to collect free money from the government on the chance that someone somewhere might do something illegal??

      Copying music for your personal use is not illegal in Canada. The Copyright Act [cb-cda.gc.ca] allows it, and puts the levy in place to compensate the copyright holders.

      There's a long list of groups [cpcc.ca] who use blank media who are exempt from the levy, but it's probably hard for an individual to get on that list.
  • by complete loony ( 663508 ) <{Jeremy.Lakeman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @11:33PM (#7697448)
    This issue has come up in australia before, not sure what happened though. The governments of this world need to realise that this stuff has mostly legitimate uses.
    A friend of mine made the paper about this issue story reproduced here [thescream.org].
    He produces music CD's for sale on behalf of the copyright owner on CDR's, he shouldn't be paying the RIAA/ARIA etc (and hence other artists, BU*cough*IT) for music they have the rights for.
    This is the same as taxing people for going to the bank so they can reclaim money from bank robberies.
    I don't care how many people who use a particular device or service for illegal purposes, no-one should be suggesting to charge everyone who uses a device or service legitimately to pay for the shady behaviour of others.
  • by Phantasmo ( 586700 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:09AM (#7697702)
    1. Go to France and learn how to protest

      What if university and college students in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal etc. shut their cities down when things like this happened?

    2. Join the NDP [www.ndp.ca] or the Green party [green.ca] and get involved

      The New Democrats and the Greens are the only parties in the country that don't have the "yes sir, no sir, may I please suck your balls sir?" attitude towards industry.

    3. Write to SOCAN [socan.ca] and demand a refund for all the CDs you've bought

      Send SOCAN your receipts and tell them what you've done with your discs - burned Linux ISOs, saved photos, etc. Also, tell them that you wouldn't pirate their music, since it's all slop anyway.... OR

    4. Run a "music exchange"

      Really rub the private copying [cb-cda.gc.ca] decision in SOCAN's face by having a "music exchange". Get a bunch of computers with fast CD-burners, then invite a whole bunch of people and tell them to each bring 10 of their favourite CDs. Then give everyone free blank discs. As long as the person who's keeping the copy actually MAKES the copy (i.e. puts the discs in the provided computer, clicks "copy", collects discs), it's all nice and legal.

  • by Newer Guy ( 520108 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:50AM (#7697927)
    "The general argument against the levy is that it subsidizes the Canadian music industry by treating anyone who buys blank recording media as a potential music pirate, when in fact these same products can be used to store computer files, backup data, software and self-created music and video content. What you've got here is a levy that does not sufficiently target its purpose," said Geist.

    So, what we'e got here is a system that presumes everyone is guilty, and punishes everyone, knowing that if they punish everyone, they'll also be punishing the guilty ones by default.

    This method has been used throughout history...such as when Hitler shot Jews en masse because if you kill them all, they'll be none to fight you.

    In the U.S. we still pay a levy on every blank cassette sold. I wonder how many blank cassettes have music recorded on them these days?

    This is Government at its worst...bought and paid for by big companies..

    Hmmm...maybe we should assume that all Govt. officials are corrupt, and then put them all in jail! That way we'd definitely be getting the bad guys!

  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) * on Friday December 12, 2003 @01:18AM (#7698041) Homepage Journal
    Will it then be illegal to copy music in Canada, or do Canadians get nothing but screwed for their bonus 20%? The Canadian RIAA needs to be forced to give up something or it's just government-sponsored theft.
  • Some details.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by max99ted ( 192208 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @01:52AM (#7698235)
    ... from the CCPC (read: RIAA) regarding disbursement of this stinky tax.


    The Copyright Board designates the proportion of total royalties that forms the basis of CPCC's distribution amongst each of the three eligible groups: songwriters and music publishers, recording artists, and record companies. These proportions are recorded in the private copying tariffs. It is then CPCC's job to allocate and pay the royalties to individual copyright holders. CPCC and its constituent member collectives have developed a distribution process that is enabling royalties to be distributed fairly amongst tens of thousands of copyright holders.

    Since no inventory of privately copied tracks exists, distribution is based on representative samples of radio airplay and album sales, which are given equal weight in the distribution. Together they provide a proxy for determining the titles that Canadians typically copy for private use. Internet usage is not referenced in the distribution as no adequate documentation of this activity currently exists. Samples are regularly used by copyright collectives because the cost of capturing and analyzing all available information would be excessive.

    Recognizing the relatively modest level of collections for 2000, CPCC opted to pay out royalties for 2000 and 2001 in a single, combined distribution.

    While songwriters and music publishers are eligible regardless of nationality, only Canadian recording artists and record companies may receive payments under current law. In accordance with the Copyright Board's decisions, royalties collected for 2001 and 2002 are allocated as follows:

    66 % to eligible authors and publishers
    18.9% to eligible performers
    15.1% to eligible record companies.

    The allocation for 2000 is:
    75% to eligible authors and publishers
    13.7% to eligible performers
    11.3% to eligible record companies.

  • by rcpitt ( 711863 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @03:01AM (#7698555) Homepage Journal
    AKA 7AM PST - and I expect to be up and reading it as soon as it is available since I was one of the 100 "official" objectors this round.


    The levy started in 1999, based on a change to the Canadian copyright act in 1995, and is up for changes every 2 years. This round is for the years 2003-2004, and yes, it is actually a year late.

    The previous round had a whole 3 objectors - all consortiums - retailers, importers, hardware creators - no private individuals.

    This round started out with 100 objectors - winnowed down to about 30 by the time the actual submissions and legalities got going. The hearings were to take place around October of 2002 with the ruling by the end of 2002.

    In reality, the hearings didn't start until the end of January, 2003 and ran to the middle of February - and the ruling is only now coming out.

    Having lived through this period, written much and run a (closed) mail list for the objectors, you might expect me to have some idea of what the outcome will be - but truthfully I don't. All bets are off since this round there was a lot more information presented as well as some interesting twists - new ideas as opposed to just countering the CPCC's presentation and ideas.

    The article that started this thread is quoting information that was available over a year ago - some of which was changed during the hearings. CPCC started out asking for CDN$21/Gig for "non-removeable hard drive" in each MP3 player but ended up proposing a sliding scale starting at (all figures in Canadian $) $11.10/Gig for first down to $1.99/Gig for anything over 20 Gigs. Note that this would apply to any media - FLASH, RAM, or "micro-hard disk" but doesn't apply to "full-size" hard disks used in non-portable devices such as PCs (they intimate that these are reserved for a future round)

    Rather than detail all of the things that went on during the 18+ months since I started (due to my blood boiling while hearing a couple of coleagues discuss this at a Comdex show) I'll point you at the pages on my web site at my Media Levy pages [pacdat.net]

    I'll post a summary of the actual levy as soon as I can in the morning.

    In response to some of the postings here:

    The current Canadian Copyright Act allows "private individuals" to make copies of music from wherever they can for their own private use. This means that my friend can loan me their retail-purchased music CD and I can make my own copy of it and give them back their original - or I can make a copy of my own retail-purchased CD for my self and give my friend the original - or I can make a copy of music I receive from whatever other medium (radio, TV, Internet) for my own use.

    What I can't do is make a copy of my retail-purchased CD and give the copy to my friend

    It also does not allow me to publish music I "own" to the Internet or make bulk copies and sell them - that is still "piracy".

    The levy is only on products imported or manufactured for resale. This means that a private individual may import (for example) a tube of 100 CD-Rs for their own use from the US and not have to pay the levy. The Canadian Customs people at the border don't care and are not empowered to collect the levy (although they'll collect the GST and provincial sales tax). Currently it is just about a wash to order a tube of 100 CD-Rs from the US, pay the shipping and tax - but if the levy is doubled this will make the difference up to about $25 for 100 CD-Rs - well worth it for the average Canadian to learn how to use the Internet for e-commerce. This is what the retailers are upset about. With things like the Apple iPOD, the potential gain from ordering from outside of Canada is even greater!

    CPCC (Canadian Private Copying Consortium) has graciously allowed for "zero-rating" for those who wish to register ($50 annual fee) as an importer/manufacturer of blank audio media that is not used to record music (i.e. is used to record data

  • by bot ( 235273 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @05:02AM (#7698882)
    Will send over blank media for prescription drugs.


  • This isn't a levy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jaywalk ( 94910 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @09:45AM (#7699956) Homepage
    This isn't a levy. Since it's a payment for presumed illegal activity, it's a fine based on the assumption that anyone who would buy something as suspicious as a blank cassette must be up to no good.

    It's good to see that this "innocent until proven guilty" nonsense has not infected the Canadian justice system.

    • No, it's a payment for presumed legal activity. Read the Copyright Act. Copying music (whether you own the original or not) is legal in Canada, as long as it's for personal use.

      This levy was specifically designed to compensate copyright holders for this private copying right.

      If you want a clear, correct discussion of the issue, see this post [slashdot.org].

      I find it amazing how incorrect information gets modded as "Insightful" on Slashdot.
  • by desikage ( 686171 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @02:34PM (#7703409)
    you'll notice I included a comment from slashdot (the analogy, I quite liked it, and sorry for ripping it off!) I'd also like to mention I got this reply within an hour of writing the email, impressive! I'll post more when the MP writes back (if he does), and it turns out to be intereting. Dear Jim, Thank you for your e-mail to MP Murray Calder regarding copyright levies. Murray shares your concerns on this issue and has written previously to former Industry Minister Allan Rock to express concerns similar to yours. I will pass your e-mail along to him, and expect he will respond to you directly. The Copyright Board operates at arms' length from Parliament, and Parliament doesn't have a say on the setting of levies. Again, I expect Murray will respond to you in greater detail. Best wishes, Richard McGuire, Executive Assistant Office of Murray Calder, M.P. Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey (613) 995-7815, fax: (613) 992-9789 caldem@parl.gc.ca -----Original Message----- From: Jim Whosit [mailto:nospam@ysd.com] Sent: December 12, 2003 12:32 PM To: Calder, Murray - M.P. Subject: Canadian Copy Right Board blank media levy Hello Mr. Calder, I'm a 22 year old consituent living in the Orangeville area, and I've been reading about the recent increases in the copyright levie's that have been slapped on almost all blank storage devices. I do not pirate copy-righted music, however I do rip bought CD's to my computer for use in other players (I-Pod) and backups (since CD's get scratched really easily). The fact that I am paying the music industry this levy, for something I already own, really bothers me. They're now talking about increasing the levie to $.49 per CD which will DOUBLE the price of a pack of CD's. I feel I am being labelled a criminal, or music "pirate" simply for using my bought media how I wish to use it. Therefore, why should I continue to buy my music? As far as I'm concerned, if I'm already paying for being a pirate, then why not do it? I also see they're trying to slap a levie on Internet Service providers. This makes absolutely no sense! It's like saying: You walk into a resturant and order food. You have to pay, as soon as you order, a $50 "broken plates" fee. The fee is non-refundable regardless if you break anything or not. Kinda tempting to actually break something, huh? A levie like this really irks me, and I urge and hope you will consider this matter, as if it does go through, I feel to "get my moneys worth" I will have to start pirating music. btw, why stop at the mucis industry? Movies, TV shows, pornography, and software applications are all being pirated too, why is the music industry favoured? Thank you, Jim

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky