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Canada Government Media Music Politics

MP3 Player Tax Proposed In Canada 281

Interoperable writes "The status of sharing music in Canada is, to some extent, ambiguous. This is partly due to a levy imposed on blank media, CD-Rs and cassette tapes, that compensates artists and the recording studios for a loss of revenue due to copying. Legislation proposed by the NDP and supported by the Bloc Quebecois would extend that levy to cover MP3 players with the intent of decriminalizing audio file sharing for Canadian citizens. The proposed legislation, however, faces opposition from the governing Conservative party; the Liberal party has agreed to discuss the proposed bill."
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MP3 Player Tax Proposed In Canada

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  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:16AM (#31522432) Journal

    Indepedent artists are still left out in the cold.

  • by xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D ( 1160707 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:26AM (#31522562)

    That's not entirely true, depending on what you mean by "independent". So long as you are a member of SOCAN and have music tracked by SoundScan, you're eligible for the levies, regardless of whether you're signed onto a major label. This flow chart [] (warning: PDF) describes the pay-out structure.

    The media have been kind of lacking here, though. I have no idea how this pay-out scheme works in practice :(. Go go go investigative journalism!

  • Re:Useful (Score:5, Informative)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:29AM (#31522598) Homepage Journal

    Not effective at all [].

  • by msisden ( 761674 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:49AM (#31522864) Homepage

    The intent might have just been to extend to portable media devices, but the wording covers a whole lot more.

    The actual motion reads:

    "That the Committee recommends that the government amend Part VIII of the Copyright Act so that the definition of “audio recording medium” extends to devices with internal memory, so that the levy on copying music will apply to digital music recorders as well, thereby entitling music creators to some compensation for the copies made of their work." (

    So it doesn't just apply to mp3 players, but portable media players, digital camcorders, set top boxes, consoles, cell phones, digital cameras, computers, etc.

  • Try, try again (Score:4, Informative)

    by debrain ( 29228 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @11:04AM (#31523072) Journal

    I participated in the effort to defeat this same proposal in 2002-2004 []. However these guys never quit. The good news is that they aren't particularly inspired – or inspiring.

    It's noteworthy that I found out about the last go-around of this effort by the Canadian Private Copying Collective on Slashdot.

  • Re:A great idea (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @11:21AM (#31523274)

    The problem here is that you have already bought the corporate propaganda that this is "pirating". The point of the levy is that sharing music in Canada is legal. This has been shown in court.
    So pay the levy, and don't feel bad about sharing CD's with friends, or trading mp3.

  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @11:40AM (#31523496) Journal

    So if you happen not to be Canadian yet are the author of music that has been copied in Canada, how do you get into SOCAN?

    You move to Canada.

    We don't do it to be righteous or to be nice. It helps foster the Canadian music industry.

    Keep the money in the Country.

  • Not again... (Score:3, Informative)

    by yabos ( 719499 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @12:08PM (#31523818)
    How many []
    times []
    are they going to try and bring this tax in? This has to be the 3rd or 4th time this has come up.
  • by rcpitt ( 711863 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @12:16PM (#31523928) Homepage Journal
    Back in 2002 I spoke before the Copyright Board of Canada about the Blank Media Levy. Then, the CPCC was asking for $10 per Gigabyte [] which in today's light would be even more absurd than it was then.

    The point is that no matter what the levy, in today's wired world the only losers would be the Canadian retail sellers of such items - because any levy would be enough to more than pay for the shipping of a unit from outside the country - so neither the musicians nor the retailers would profit.

    kind of makes me wonder if it is the US resellers who are behind this ;)

  • Re:Parkinson's Law (Score:2, Informative)

    by horigath ( 649078 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:02PM (#31524544) Homepage

    The Governor General's Award nominees pictured on the Canada Council website are old, because they are nominated for a major award for late-career artists. These are awards for career achievement, but the Canada Council is certainly more involved with the art scene here than you think and not just for olds. I'm employed by a non-profit artist-run centre staffed entirely by under-40s, most of us in our 20s, which is supported in part by the Canada Council as well as other federal, provincial and municipal government sources, private donors and members.

    In any case, this isn't where the money goes in this case. The copyright board distributes the money through SOCAN. That means that any indie band that gets radio play (and that means a lot in Canada where the radio spectrum includes very healthy college and community radio stations distinct from their US counterparts as well as the CBC, all of which are mandated to play Canadian talent that doesn't make it onto commercial radio) will get some money. And they do—not always much, but a nice benefit and a stepping stone to a successful career.

    There are perfectly good reasons to be opposed to this levy, or to dislike either the SOCAN or the federal arts-funding system (especially when the whole sector is destabilized by the expectation of unknown cuts to unknown areas, as we are now—makes budgeting tricky), but totally misunderstanding both isn't a great example.

    1. p2p software is not illegal in Canada. You can use it to share linux distros, etc.
    2. downloading copyright music w/o the copyright owners' permission has always been a civil copyright violation. The "making private copies" is copies that YOU already have legal access to (eg: format-shifting, an extension of time-shifting from the vcr days).
    3. it is NOT a "loser pay legal system" in the sense you think. The loser is only responsible for certain costs, such as filing fees. Even if you lose, you don't pay the other sides lawyers fees, since those costs were entirely at their discretion. You would have to sue them.
    4. paying the levy doesn't give you the rights to the song any more than paying a fine for shoplifting means you keep the goods, or doing the time for bank robbery means you get to keep the money, or doing community service for stealing a car means you get to keep the car.
    5. unauthorized distribution of copyright material already a criminal act in Canada [].

      42. (1) Every person who knowingly
      (a) makes for sale or rental an infringing copy of a work or other subject-matter in which copyright subsists,
      (b) sells or rents out, or by way of trade exposes or offers for sale or rental, an infringing copy of a work or other subject-matter in which copyright subsists,
      (c) distributes infringing copies of a work or other subject-matter in which copyright subsists, either for the purpose of trade or to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright,
      (d) by way of trade exhibits in public an infringing copy of a work or other subject-matter in which copyright subsists, or
      (e) imports for sale or rental into Canada any infringing copy of a work or other subject-matter in which copyright subsists
      is guilty of an offence and liable
      (f) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both, or
      (g) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding one million dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both.

    You are "distributing" the music when you copy it from your computer to the mp3 player. You are no longer just a downloader, you are uploading it to the player.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:52PM (#31525212) Journal

    If you're quoting the Copyright Act, you should at least quote the relevant sections [] of it:

    Copying for Private Use

    Where no infringement of copyright
    80. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the act of reproducing all or any substantial part of
    (a) a musical work embodied in a sound recording,
    (b) a performer’s performance of a musical work embodied in a sound recording, or
    (c) a sound recording in which a musical work, or a performer’s performance of a musical work, is embodied
    onto an audio recording medium for the private use of the person who makes the copy does not constitute an infringement of the copyright in the musical work, the performer’s performance or the sound recording.


    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the act described in that subsection is done for the purpose of doing any of the following in relation to any of the things referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) to (c):
    (a) selling or renting out, or by way of trade exposing or offering for sale or rental;
    (b) distributing, whether or not for the purpose of trade;
    (c) communicating to the public by telecommunication; or
    (d) performing, or causing to be performed, in public.

    1997, c. 24, s. 50.

    Right of Remuneration

    Right of remuneration
    81. (1) Subject to and in accordance with this Part, eligible authors, eligible performers and eligible makers have a right to receive remuneration from manufacturers and importers of blank audio recording media in respect of the reproduction for private use of
    (a) a musical work embodied in a sound recording;
    (b) a performer’s performance of a musical work embodied in a sound recording; or
    (c) a sound recording in which a musical work, or a performer’s performance of a musical work, is embodied.

    Other sections in there establish procedure for collecting the levy and distributing it to copyright holders.

  • Re:Useful (Score:3, Informative)

    by m.ducharme ( 1082683 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:40PM (#31527176)

    Errr, the big labels are opposed to the media levy. They originally supported it, but when that one decision came down stating that charging a levy meant they couldn't sue for file downloading, they did a quick about-face.

    The media levy got in because the CRIA thought they could have their cake and eat it too. When a judge told them that wasn't going to work, they decided that law suits would be more lucrative than the media levy, and if they can't have both, they want the levy gone, not expanded.

    The NDP is no friend of the corporations, and Charlie Angus, MP (who introduced the new bill) is himself a musician, with no particular love for the major labels.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein