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Canadian Music Industry Wants Royalties on Net Usage 572

Dr. Zoidburg writes "Apparently Internet music and movie sharing in Canada has gained enough popularity to turn the heads of the music and movie industry. CTV has a report about a Canadian organization named SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada) that will "ask the Supreme Court of Canada next week to force Internet service providers to pay them royalties for the millions of digital music files downloaded each year by Canadians". Says the president of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, "Consumers could very well see an increase in their Internet costs and they could see a slowdown in the transmission speed of their Internet communications"."
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Canadian Music Industry Wants Royalties on Net Usage

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  • Whoooah (Score:5, Funny)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:00AM (#7580876) Journal
    All of a sudden I *don't* want to be classed as an ISP any more (re: that story []

  • Finally (Score:4, Funny)

    by strike2867 ( 658030 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:01AM (#7580878)
    Finally Canadians get a taste of RIAA's medicine. Theyve had these freedoms for way too long.
  • by John Courtland ( 585609 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:01AM (#7580880)
    when your stuff gets downloaded. If you're gonna tax everyone, then you can't complain when they take what they paid for.
    • by MochaMan ( 30021 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:10AM (#7580923) Homepage
      Indeed. That's the idea. When the copyright levy was introduced for blank CDs, we got the right to legally make copies [] of a friend's CD for our private use in exchange. I suspect that is an attempt to pull something similar for music downloads off the internet.
      • by TC (WC) ( 459050 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:13AM (#7580936) Journal
        To be fair, under the current legislation, downloading music already *seems* to be perfectly legitimate. Being on the sending end, however, is where you're definately in legal trouble.
    • If you're gonna tax everyone, then you can't complain when they take what they paid for.

      Isn't this exactly the compulsary licensing the that EFF and company have been asking for? I thought people liked that...
      • by instanto ( 513362 ) <tabarth @ o n l i> on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:30AM (#7580993) Homepage Journal
        However, do you want to pay money to your ISP so that Celine Dion can get money? (Well, she wont, but say for arguments sake that she did)

        I dont want to pay extra money to my ISP just because some wad somewhere downloads a metallica album, why should I pay money to my ISP for crappy music?

        Compulsory License sounds ok - but it still means you're paying money for a lot of shit you dont want.

        I can pay money directly to the composer when I buy their CD - no need for compulsory license or other crap - and best of all - RIAA/The Enemy/trashy musicians wont get a single $ from me .

        If you're not listening to their music - why should they get money from you?


        Also: This sounds like a legalization of downloading music from the net. After all - you've paid for it.
        • Newsflash: Artists have to buy the cds they sell "directly" from the label, with bairly a discount. The artist usually makes very little on the deal, no more than if you bought it at Best Buy or Amazon or whatever.
        • by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:46AM (#7581053)
          However, do you want to pay money to your ISP so that Celine Dion can get money? (Well, she wont, but say for arguments sake that she did)

          I wasn't arguing for or against compulsary licensing, but asked a question since I know a lot of other people have. I thought this was the whole point of compulsary licenses: everybody pays whether they use it or not, and the money is distrubuted according to some metric of who is downloaded the most.

          I can pay money directly to the composer when I buy their CD - no need for compulsory license or other crap - and best of all - RIAA/The Enemy/trashy musicians wont get a single $ from me .

          The RIAA is not the root of the problem. The laws necessary to support this model _require_ a perpetual war on free communication: if the RIAA were out of the picture then somebody else would be waging it.

      • Isn't this exactly the compulsary licensing the that EFF and company have been asking for? I thought people liked that...

        "People" liked that? Heh! If you were paying attention, you'd notice that the vast majority of /. readers are opposed to any practical solution to the problem. The EFF proposal gets a bit of extra support just cuz it's the EFF and a lot of people are brainwashed. But there's nothing close to a majority. People here want results, not solutions!

    • by qewl ( 671495 )
      What if everyone with internet access was required to pay the RIAA $3/month? We could download all the music we wanted, and the RIAA couldn't bitch because they'd be making money. The most downloaded musicians would get paid the most, because they would have sold more CD's. Downloading music isn't something that's going to stop; it'll continue to grow unless some drastic(and censoring) changes are implemented in the internet. It's just too convenient.
    • by ewn ( 538392 ) <> on Friday November 28, 2003 @08:46AM (#7581485) Homepage

      you are assuming that laws are logical. Let me challenge that assumption: here in Germany we pay sort of a tax on blank media and recorders. Music industry is even trying to broaden the scope of these royalties: they are currently pushing for a copy tax on printers (older link here. []).

      In addition to that, there is an entity called GEMA which makes sure that radio stations pay for each song they play. Public radio and TV cost consumers a monthly fee, too.

      Recently they made a new copyright law. Copying for private use used to be legal, and strictly by the letter of the law still is, but circumventing copy protection mechanisms in order to do something the law explicitly allows you to do is now illegal. In other words: They didn't outlaw crossing the road. They made touching the ground with your feet while crossing the road a crime.

      So consumers over here are forced to pay for the same product multiple times. All attempts to set that straight have failed so far. I have a hunch that this kind of legal creativity may become an exportschlager.

    • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @12:45PM (#7582557) Homepage Journal
      Then never complain ... when your stuff gets downloaded.

      But I have a very good complaint: My web site has my music on it. If this goes through, any Canadian downloading my music from my web site will be paying a tax to the recording industry. So, while I won't get any income from those downloads, someone else with no rights to my music will.

      It's bad enough that the recording industry can force "standard" contracts on musicians that give all rights and profits to the recording company, and claim that this is "voluntary". Yeah; it's voluntary; you always have had the choice of nobody hearing your music because you can't get it distributed without signing one of these contracts.

      But this sort of tax gives them profit from my music when I haven't signed any contract at all.

      Somehow, I'm not too happy with this idea.

  • Sounds reasonable (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rat's_ass_donor ( 455429 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:01AM (#7580882)
    Relatively speaking, of course. If "Screw the big labels, who overcharge for music and cannot assemble a coherent internet strategy - I'll just get it for free" is a reasonable response to the status quo, then a blanket tax on traffic to "reclaim lost media revenue" is also reasonable.
    • by andrewmc ( 88496 )
      Which, of course, ignores the small point that the blanket tax applies to everyone, not just those who download music. A bit like paying a per-CD fee to music companies for every Linux install CD you burn. Reasonable indeed.
    • First, why should all internet traffic be taxed for something a portion of customers do? Expect business costs in particular to soar. Yes, I know that similar can be said of CD-Rs... but you don't use CD-Rs for essential communications, to perform transactions, or to maintain a shop front.

      As far as taxing at the ISP level goes... why should a file marked "madonna" be assumed to be an MP3 of a particular singer. It could be any number of things.

  • In Canada. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m0rph3us0 ( 549631 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:02AM (#7580883)
    We already pay royalties on blank CDs. That is supposed to cover the cost. On the other hand if it means i can't get a 2 billion dollar find for sharing. why not?
    • Yeah. I can legally copy a friends CD for personal use thanks to that levy. If they tax internet traffic users, does that mean I can download MP3's from other Canadians, legally?

      Seriously though, there are many other things that are wrong with this scheme, and the CD royalty that came before it. Things like the fact that not all Canuck pirating is for Canadian artists, or that CDR's have uses besides music, or that once you've crossed the CDR line there's no reason to not tax hard drives, flash, or, int
      • Re:In Canada. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TC (WC) ( 459050 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:21AM (#7580957) Journal
        Look at the laws. What you're allowed to copy isn't linked in any functional way to what you pay the levy on, in the law. The law also doesn't have anything to say about the source that one copies from.

        The Copyright Board has actually found that the source needn't be a legitimately purchased or owned medium for a perfectly legal personal copy to be made. There's no reason downloading music shouldn't be covered by the existing legislation. You run into trouble if you start uploading music, though, as it violates the legal restrictions on usage of a personal copy. It violates, off the top of my head, the prohibitions on transmitting copies across a telecommunications system as well as the prohibition on distributing your personal copies.

        The gist of it is, uploading is sure as hell illegal under the current legislation, but downloading is fine unless some magic way to argue against it is found.
  • Stupid . . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gabrill ( 556503 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:02AM (#7580887)
    That's great. Raise internet prices for everyone for no apparent reason to the consumer. Reminds me of some of those obfuscated extra charges on my phone bill.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:03AM (#7580889)
    Hey lets tax internet access.
    I dont feel like we are making enough money.
    So lets try to get the govt to tax other businesses
    to make up for what we feel like we are not
    getting. right...

    I think this whole movie and music thing is way

  • proxies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mOoZik ( 698544 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:03AM (#7580892) Homepage
    Sounds good. I'll download gigabits of stuff via a Canadian proxy and see some poor bloke get screwed. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:04AM (#7580898)
    As much as the DMCA is unpopular among Slashdotters, and rightfully so, at least it gets one thing right. It establishes that the ISP isn't responsible in any way. As the article states, if the music and movie industries get their way in Canada, they could soon be responsible for the traffic through their network. I know the DMCA gets a lot of things wrong, but protecting the ISPs is one thing it actually gets right. Think about it.
  • by graveyardjohn ( 672128 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:05AM (#7580903) Journal
    Surely payment upfront on the assumption that people will be using their connection for legally questionable activities will help to justify the 'crime'* to people before they even sign up? "If I'm paying for it, I may as well be doing it"

    * I say crime, I mean 'copyright infringement' (or whatever - Lets not start this one again!)
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:06AM (#7580907) Journal
    Judging by this article, it looks like they do!
  • Argh (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:07AM (#7580911)
    Friggin America, always trying to take away my rights! I'm moving to Canada!

    Oh wait...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:08AM (#7580912)
    After all, the food companies keep illegal downloaders alive, so ultimately they are responsible!
  • by BeneathTheVeil ( 305107 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:09AM (#7580914) Homepage Journal
    ...who would never sign with a 'major' label (or even a really large indie one)... when is my cheque coming? ...and how much do I get?

    I make a good portion of my music freely downloabable from my site... and if they're going to tax people for downloading my music, then I should see that money, shouldn't I?
    • The great part of the existing CD levy is that it only goes to Canadian artists, IIRC.

      Of course, since (at least last time I checked, which was quite a while ago) they've never actually gotten around to distributing any money to any artists, the independent artists are getting an equal cut. If it worked properly, I'm pretty sure I've read about provisions that allow any Canadian artist to apply to get their portion of the money.

      This post is, like most on Slashdot, mainly coming out of my ass. I haven't
    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @09:49AM (#7581690) Journal
      You see if you make it available for download then I presume you have an account with an ISP somewhere right? So the RIAA will tax you for that account and they will then send that money to proper artists not independent commies like you. Got it?

      The above was an attempt at humor

      • You mean, humour, right? ...this is an article about Canada, after all.

        Kidding aside, your post did make me realize I should clarify a little bit... obviously, if the music is freely available, and there is no commercial version of it (on CD, CD-R, as pay-for downloads, or any other media)... then it wouldn't make sense to expect money. I should only expect a percentage of what I charge for the songs.

        I do however, have a commercial disc coming out in December, and another in February/March... neither of
  • by Micah ( 278 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:11AM (#7580926) Homepage Journal
    If our Internet bill helped to fund the music industry, I would suddenly have an attitude that I can copy and download music freely without restriction.

    Currently I believe that it is important to respect the owner's copyright and that music should be payed for, if the artists ask for payment.
    • If our Internet bill helped to fund the music industry, I would suddenly have an attitude that I can copy and download music freely without restriction.

      Why wouldn't you be able to? That's pretty much the music industry's point...

      We already have legislation that lets us copy pretty much any musical work we want for our personal use. They're looking for compensation, because of this. If this were to go through, Canadians would probably get a clairified law, too, that direcly addresses copying music in t

  • by Barbarian ( 9467 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:13AM (#7580935)
    We already pay $0.25 per cd-r, "they" want to increase it to around $0.59. As an example, that would increase the take by the music industry of a 30 pack of cd-r's to $17.70, from $7.50, an increase of $10.20. I for one find it offensive that the recording industry is charging me for the right to back up my own, non-musical data, and I doubt that any of the levies collected are rightfully distributed to pornstars that most /. readers have stored in the way of movies on cd-r's. Large per GB levies have also been proposed for portable players, and if I recall correctly, if implemented, the levy on an iPod would be around $200.

    There has been a lot of opposition to the proposed $0.59 levy lately, spearheaded by large retailers, so the music industry has turned elsewhere, and that is to ISP's.
    • 1 canadian dollar = 0.76 US dollars, so no smart comments on how were are only paying pennies in US dollars, please.
    • I have a couple friends who are sound engineers...

      They go through a 100 spindle of CD's a week, easily. The increased CD tax would seriously hurt their business... This is dumb, I thought canada was smarter than this
    • Is this for those marked as "music CD-Rs"?

      There's a levy in the UK on these, but not on normal blanks.

      • It's more for "music CD-R"'s.

        Proposed tariffs [] (currently held up):

        3. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the levy shall be
        (a) 60c for each audio cassette of 40 minutes or more in length;
        (b) 59c for each CD-R, CD-RW or each unit of any other type
        of recordable or rewritable compact disc of 100 megabytes or
        more of storage capacity;
        (c) $1.23 for each CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio or MiniDisc;
        (d) 0.8c for each megabyte of memory in each removable electronic
        memory card, each removable flash memory storage
        medium of any t

    • if you don't like to pay music royalties on CDRs you use to backup your non-musical data, then why don't you go to the court and try to sue your money back? Besides, if you feel offensive, you may include to your claim a couple of millions just for a moral compensation :)

      And if many of us will do it then we might be able to make a class action case. But if we will continue buy CDRs with music royalties included and do nothing about it - then we should not compain when next royalty will cover the coper wir

    • We already pay $0.25 per cd-r, "they" want to increase it to around $0.59.

      The Answer:

      Reverse smuggling. Send USA CD-R's and cigarettes north in trade for cheaper Canadian drugs. The free market works.

  • Riiiiight (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JazFresh ( 146585 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:15AM (#7580947)
    Although those groups are prompted to seek new sources of revenue because of what they say are illegal downloads of copyrighted content,
    SOCAN is asking ISPs to pay a blanket annual royalty regardless of whether the ISP is transmitting legal or illegally downloaded music.
    This might have a chance if it was possible for ISPs to detect illegal traffic. But it's not. With the latest P2P protocols you can't use the port number to detect that type of traffic, and if the transmission in encrypted, you can't sniff the data to see why type of traffic it is.

    It seems the SOCAN technical advisor only seems to know about downloading illegal content from web pages. Let's hope the courts have access to someone slightly more savvy.

    I'm totally against piracy of any sort, so it makes me mad when they'd tax me (because you know the ISPs would just pass the costs onto the users) for something I didn't do! This is just the same as those damned proposed taxes on CDRs and HDDs, because they "might" be used for piracy.

    Verdict: not a chance in hell, if common sense prevails. If ISPs inform their users that costs will go up because SOCAN considers them all criminals, there'll be enough of an outcry to squash it.

  • by Tripster ( 23407 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:23AM (#7580965) Homepage
    ... I feel like freakin' moving!

    This is the first I'd heard SOCAN had gotten this far and quite frankly I'm pissed. I don't even have a P2P app installed in my computer, my MP3 collection consists solely of my own CD collection and is in that format for ease of access.

    What's next? Royalties on showerheads, shower curtains and bathtubs in case we happen to mumble out a tune while showering?

    The problem with our Supreme Court is they'll likely side with SOCAN and we'll end up paying. This is the same court who sided with our domestic DTH satellite providers and outright made it illegal to subscribe to US services in our country, yup for years we did our darndest to broadcast signals behind the iron curtain but when it comes to protecting a few broadcasting monopolies it's ok to ban foreign signals.

    Shit we don't get to vote for a new government until next spring but the media have all pretty much named the new PM who is just the guy taking over from the retiring PM, lucky for us in the rest of the country it only takes Ontario and Quebec to vote in the same idiots time after time, the new guy is very pro big business, heck in his private career he made an effort to get around Canadian tax laws by using ships registerd at foreign ports, just the guy to put in charge!
    • >What's next? Royalties on showerheads, shower curtains and bathtubs in case we
      > happen to mumble out a tune while showering?

      Heh - you're a `Tom the dancing bug` fan too, eh? ol l/story.gif

    • I'm not so sure the Supreme Court will agree to this. Satellite is different: remember we have something in CAnAdA called the CRTC. The issue with the sat. providers was that the US companies don't broadcast 'Canadian Content'. Something like 20% (or more...I used to work at a radio station and used to pull Luba and Corey Hart all the time and get in sh*t for violating Can-Con requirements) has to be Can-Con.

      Plus, the major ISP (Bell) actually has to get *permission* from the CRTC to raise rates. Let

    • The problem with our Supreme Court is they'll likely side with SOCAN and we'll end up paying. This is the same court who sided with our domestic DTH satellite providers and outright made it illegal to subscribe to US services in our country, yup for years we did our darndest to broadcast signals behind the iron curtain but when it comes to protecting a few broadcasting monopolies it's ok to ban foreign signals.

      As a fellow Canuck, I must state the following: SOCAN will most likely be told to go insert

  • by Cooper_007 ( 688308 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:24AM (#7580968)
    No power - No host - No illegal sharing.

    It's common knowledge that electricity is only used by illegal filesharers, so increasing its cost to recoup diminishing profits^W^Wdamages makes a lot of sense.
    Naturally, this also includes batteries. Solar panels are allowed (for now) but there's going to be a tax on sunlight soon which should be able to close that gap.

    Remember folks: You are consumers. SO START CONSUMING ALREADY! Your unwillingness to consume our drivel^Wproduct is costing us MONEY. If this trend keeps up, we'll be forced to sue you.

    I don't need a pass to pass this pass!
    - Groo The Wanderer -

  • So even if people end up having to pay a tax on the internet... what difference will that make to the copyright law already on the copyrighted digital files out there? By the sound of it, it won't change a damn thing! The labels could just as well tax you and then sue you for copyright infringment! What are they promising here? That if you pay a tax, they won't sue? Do we trust them that much? Come on!

    Personally, I would quite happily pay a premium if they repeal all copyright law as well... but we know t

  • Could be good news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <> on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:35AM (#7581016)
    There is a way that the Canadian people could actually end up having a sorted system if this does become law. Unfortunately it requires a high degree of faecal unity on the part of many people.

    While this is going on, you could lobby your MPs {assuming that is what they are called in Canada} to ensure that if any royalty fees are charged on downloaded music, they should be payable directly to the performer {assuming the performer is the copyright holder} and not exceed the amount that would have been paid had the songs downloaded been obtained on the least expensive pre-recorded medium available {whether this be cassette, CD, LP, MiniDisc or To Be Invented}. If Avril Lavigne {faute de mieux} gets x cents when I buy one of her albums, I don't see why it makes any difference to Avril Lavigne if I just make a copy of the album and pay her the same x cents directly. I mean ..... obviously it makes a difference to the record company - just like it makes a difference to McDonalds when you eat at Burger King.

    And, of course, in the case of unauthorised downloading, you would only ever be held liable for those x cents per track - not the thousands of dollars the RIAA conjures up out of thin air. Call me quaint and old-fashioned, but if you steal a dollar you should pay back a dollar; or at the worst no more than what would buy when you come to pay it back,whatever a dollar would have bought when you stole it.

    It would be interesting to see exactly what objections anyone could raise to this proposal. I've even come up with a name for it: non-discriminatory licencing. Basically, if an artist allows a record company to package up and distribute their work for a fee, they have to allow anyone to do the equivalent job for the same fee; anybody's money is as good as anybody else's.

      I would have NO PROBLEM AT ALL if royalties for music went DIRECTLY to the artist involved, and not through the record label, managers, agents, etc.

      Whatcha wanna bet that SOCAN would drop the idea in a split-second if they were unable to fill their own pockets with cash.

      Quite a wonderful scam they have going here:

      -Private Organization, doesn't have to release their books, profit information, membership list, etc.
      -Never has given out ANY of the MILLIONS of dollars they've collected in the "nam
  • by bo0ork ( 698470 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:39AM (#7581030)
    Well now, if the ISP's can be made to pay for theft that occurs on their infrastructure, why, then the government is obviously required to do the same for every thief that uses a car to drive on a street during the getaway. I mean - hadn't the street been there, he wouldn't have gotten away. So therefore the street owner is partly responsible for the success of the theft.
  • If they wish to impose such a fee for Internet, just call it Information Tax and at least be honest with it. It is a tax because it's a legal obligation set by the government that requires people to pay a fixed amount of money. It's Information Tax because it is imposed on all people doing generic information exchange. It's obvious that if you don't pay the Information Tax, you are not allowed to access any information on the net.

  • Then ISP's should be able to charge them back for facilitating a server that allows iTunes and etc (legal music downloads) to bring them revenue. It's all fine and good to say you want a cut of the internet-music-market (and I will not doubt that ISP's make a killing off selling broadband for filesharers, many ppl I know got it to download music), but you can't have your cake and eat it too.
  • This is exactly what I - as a media pirate by habit, mind you - want to see.

    In Europe, people pay a small yearly fee for media already. They pay a fee for access to public service television. I see a parallel here...

    There has been much talk of compulsory licensing being the only sensible answer to the current situation.

    This kind of response is what I want: a blanket scheme where you can choose to pay (to a trusted government entity (1)) a blanket fee, in exchange for the right to download any works for p
  • no way! (Score:3, Funny)

    by doq ( 126365 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @07:02AM (#7581202) Homepage
    holy shit, canada has music?!
  • Send SOCAN the bill (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @07:33AM (#7581265) Homepage Journal
    Can't you just see it when the ISP that hosts SOCAN's website (or provides them with connectivity) sends them a $50,000 per month bill (Canadian, or about $25,000 US) due to the "higher costs" of being a part of the internet?

    Remember that if Canada taxes the whole internet, then businesses, which usually have more bandwidth than individuals, will likely pay a higher percentage of this so-called tax.

    That's going to make for an interesting backlash.
  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @07:40AM (#7581276) Homepage Journal
    Business needs to change, to adapt to the benefits of our technology.

    Look at it this way:

    Technology advancements are supposed to be good for us. They are supposed to make our world better, our quality of life better.

    At what point does the old economic systems need to change in order to work in accord to such benefits of technology?

    The whole point of money is that of a value exchange system, but what happens when our production of value reaches the ultimate point of being able to supply everyone with the basic needs for near nothing?

    Lets say I'm an artist, I produce some work that is popular, I want value I can use to exchange for other things, including investments, etc.. and all of this is a matter of my quality of life and influence on the direction of things (personal power)...

    At what point of world quality of life and wealth does money hinder more than help?

    We need incentive to keep going, we need to be doing something productive that adds or helps to maintain the wealth we have..instead of becomming fat and lazy..

    But its clear that music production is alot less costly then it used to be and distribution can ultimately be practically free. Making it possible to have a higher percentage of return against the investment... which might be less than the old expensive way.

    But if cost reduction is spread across all products and some point it can be reduced to near nothing.... leaving only the need for incentive to keep going...

  • by aug24 ( 38229 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @08:04AM (#7581331) Homepage
    I have reason to believe that works I have written (mostly slashdot comments) are being downloaded via the naughty interweb and therefore I should be allowed to levy a tax on everyone who ever, ever accesses it. Ever ever ever.

    Justin. But call me Darl.

  • SOCAN != RIAA (Score:3, Informative)

    by Eric Giguere ( 42863 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @08:11AM (#7581350) Homepage Journal
    SOCAN is a performing rights agency. It is the Canadian equivalent of BMI and ASCAP in the United States. These organizations collect money for the composers and publishers of music. They do not collect money for the recording artists. (Note that the composers and publishers are often different from the recording artists.) And they're not an industry lobby group like the RIAA.

  • Compulsory Licensing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hamfist ( 311248 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @09:07AM (#7581555)
    This isn't so bad. It actually means that they're giving up the fight over control. They still get paid, but I can download whatever I want. It's the same logic as the CDR levy. It's really not that heavy for the end user. I suspect that the pool will be expanded at some point to include movie publishers, software publishers, etc.

    Once that is law, just imagine how easy it would be to find a high quality copy of your latest favourite song instead of a buzzy Kazaa mp3.

    It doesn't imply that the end user is a criminal, it does imply that it's an activity that almost everyone partakes in. This seems like an equitable way to solve the problema and make it go away. Very Canadian.

    • "I suspect that the pool will be expanded at some point to include movie publishers, software publishers, etc."

      Now explain why the _publisher_ should be getting any money, if I'm legally downloading a copy of a song from a P2P service. Any money that is paid should be going to the people who made the song, not to some middleman who's become totally irrelevant.

      And what if you're downloading a song that I recorded with some mates in my garage? How am I going to collect my money from this "compulsory license
      • Actually, SOCAN covers all musicians and all songs, even if recorded in your garage. You register with them, and every once in a while you get paid. They maintain a giant registry of copyrighted works, claim royalties for performance of copyrighted works, and distribute the money to ARTISTS.

        The RIAA is not a publisher, but the holder of the mechanical rights (the right to reproduce). In the US, the guardian of copyrights is ASCAP. They pay money directly to artists. If you analyze the famous Courtney
  • Invoice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pyrosz ( 469177 ) <> on Friday November 28, 2003 @09:58AM (#7581726) Homepage
    Since I don't download music or movies on my net connection that I already pay $50/month for, SOCAN will be getting a bill from me if this passes. I'm not paying for something I don't "use". I'll send a monthly bill to them for whatever the increase is and let a collection agency have it with them. They can come and look over my computer to see what I have/don't have on it.
  • by bobthemuse ( 574400 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @10:45AM (#7581948)
    I'm waiting for the tax on all people with ears. Those people with ears are untrustworthy! They could be walking along one day and hear music created by starving artists just trying to get by. They should pay royalties to be able to listen to other people's music!
  • Programmers Unite! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zpok ( 604055 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @10:59AM (#7582001) Homepage
    Here's the thing:

    I don't mind those taxes on blank CD's and wouldn't mind taxes on bandwidth. As long as they are for the end user minimal in impact. No tax should stiffle growth.

    But the stupid thing is: why should the music industry have sole benefit?

    Come on, guys/grrls! Programmers Unite!

    A shitheap of illegal and legal downloads and copies are made of your work.

    In the end, if the money is well spent I say: "More power to you", but for every ten CD's I burn, maybe one is music - LEGALLY aquired, thankyouverymuch - and the rest is backups, pictures, my own work and programs. I actually don't think I'm very different in this than most people.

  • by GreenCrackBaby ( 203293 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @11:03AM (#7582015) Homepage
    I see a lot of "this isn't so bad" comments, but you really need to take things one step further.

    So $5 per month gets added to our ISP bill (it won't be a tiny amount), and now the music industry is happy. Now it's the movie industry's turn -- let's add another $5. Oops, software association is losing their money too -- $5. Almost forgot ebook publishers -- $2.

    And if past performance on our CD-levy is anything to go by, that rate will just keep rising. Every year the "levy" we pay on blank CDs keep climbing. What's to stop them from hiking the "levy" on ISPs each year?

    This could turn into a mess quickly.
  • Remember... (Score:4, Funny)

    by AyeRoxor! ( 471669 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @11:40AM (#7582209) Journal
    "Consumers could very well see an increase in their Internet costs and they could see a slowdown in the transmission speed of their Internet communications."

    But remember, the law would be for your protection and to serve the interestes of the people, as all laws must do.
  • by webweave ( 94683 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @11:56AM (#7582285)
    I see this same idea again and again and I HATE it.

    So, because something has worked for the last fifty to one hundred years that is how it must always be? Just keep a bad idea on life support for about a generation and that's it you can go to court and be declared a national necessity.

    It is not the artist but the industry that has popped up to support the commercialization of music that are in trouble here and since they all have skills other than being artist they should be able to find work in other industries. End of story. Thanks music biz, it was nice knowing you but as of about now you are all dinosaurs. You have to do what so many others before you have done, go somewhere else and get a job.

    Now back to the artist, my friend is in a band that has been around for over twenty years. They have had a few "record deals" but have always kept ownership of the music. They tell me they have always made more money touring and selling from the fan club than any contract. Now with the internet they are making more money than ever and the fan club (paid members) is the largest it has ever been.

    It is the opinion of this band that "music sharing" helps them because they would never get on the radio any way or not enough to help but when someone finds their music and likes it, it eventually leads them to the web site or a show and that, is what brings in the money.

    So this proposed tax (and that is what it is, Canadian's have a problem being honest with taxation) will increase costs to the consumer, devalue what ever funds are collected (the cost to process this tax), and what little gets back will likely go into the wrong hands.

    Now more bad effects, by propping up a dying system with tax dollars you not only put off the enviable but the wasted (now) tax dollars put a negative effect on the economy, exactly the opposite effect you were hoping for in the first place. Gee thanks.
  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @12:16PM (#7582387) Homepage

    What would the rate be based on? Would it be based on actual download/trade/share traffic? Or would it be based on total traffic volume? If an ISP passes the charges on to their customers (how can they not do so?), how is it divided up among customers? Will it be by connection capacity? Actual bandwidth used? Or will they monitor and see how much is actually illegal music (assuming they can crack the next generation encrypted protocols which I doubt they can)?

    Merely having a copy of music is not the same as listening to it. Someone who has a collection of 20 songs they regularly listen to is actually getting as much benefit as someone who has a collection of a million songs but regularly listens to about 20 of them (though he might have a larger ISP bill). Maybe the rate should be based on the maximum capacity to listen to music, which tops out at 168 hours a week. So why not a fixed price per person regardless of how much they download, since they can't listen to more than a certain amount (unless they listen to 2 or more songs concurrently)?

  • Ya know... (Score:3, Funny)

    by NitroWolf ( 72977 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @12:17PM (#7582391)
    I realize that Canada is like... America's half brother, or just another American state. But damn, it feels good that some other country is making or propsing idiotic laws.

    I don't feel so isolated now, even if it is just a illusion.

    Don't spoil my fantasies. Shush.
  • by psyconaut ( 228947 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @12:57PM (#7582610)
    DATs and CD-Rs are already taxed here for the benefit of Canadian artists.

    But if ISPs are taxed, I curious how you can then enforce laws claiming that the 'sharing' is illegal? Might become an interesting test case.


Like punning, programming is a play on words.