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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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  • May not pass (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jazz-Masta ( 240659 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:20AM (#31522480)

    The Conservatives are opposed to the bill, and currently they have 145/308 seats in the House of Commons.

    They only have to convince 9 of the Liberals, NDP, or Bloc to agree.

    Not everything is voted on party lines, but most is. It is likely the conservatives will have to make a concession in some other form to get the Liberals to side with them. And that is extremely likely, because the Liberals no longer hold the threatening role they had a couple months ago.

    Yes, I am Canadian.

  • Re:Useful (Score:4, Interesting)

    by value_added ( 719364 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:23AM (#31522526)

    Lets just hope the money gets to the struggling artists!

    I'd have guess that it would be spent on either donuts or hockey tickets, but Wikipedia offers a different take:

    The private copying levy is distributed as per the Copyright Board's allocation as: 66% to eligible authors and publishers,18.9% to eligible performers and 15.1% to eligible record companies.

    Maybe my Canadian friends can elaborate as to how effective this scheme is.

  • They want to criminalize most forms of private copying in the digital age anyways, so it wouldn't make any sense to continue to have a levy for something that is illegal (contrary to what a lot of people think, the current levy only exists to compensate for private use copying, which is perfectly legal, not piracy).
  • Re:A great idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by courteaudotbiz ( 1191083 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:25AM (#31522546) Homepage
    Sorry, but I already pay for CDs in stores, which I convert to MP3 using iTunes, then read them on my iPod. Don't want to pay a tax for something I already paid. I sometimes buy individual tunes from the Apple store when I know the album is not good except for one or two songs.

    I never download pirated content, and I don't want to pay for all those who do.
  • Re:Useful (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:28AM (#31522590) Journal

    How do they determine eligibility? Do they collect a sum from sales, then divide it proportionally based on percent of actual, normal sales?

    Say Britney got 57% of all audio sales in Canada, does she (and her company) get 57% of the money?

    And is that 57% based on units sold (albums, singles) or on $ sold? If she can charge more for an album than a nobody, does each of her album sales count as more towards that percent than each album for the nobody? Like if she sold 10,000 albums at retail of $20, but the nobody sold 200 albums at $10, is her share 10,000 x 20 vs. 200 x 10 for the other guy? Or 10,000 vs. 200?

  • by Jabrwock ( 985861 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:41AM (#31522774) Homepage
    I'm more interested in the other private members bill, the one that would expand the definition of fair-dealing.
  • by JobyOne ( 1578377 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:44AM (#31522816) Homepage Journal

    Of course they are. They don't have enough money to be of concern to a government.

    In all seriousness though, this is how it always goes: somebody has a halfway decent idea but somewhere along the line of being implemented it gets perverted by the special interest with the most money. It's always subtle though, that way the special interests get what they need and the politicians still get PR points.

    Remember the increase in tobacco taxes here in the US recently? Pre-rolled cigarettes (made by giant corporations) saw a modest increase in taxation of about 150%. Rolling tobacco (mostly made by smaller, often local businesses) saw their taxes increase by 2,200%.

    The net result? Big tobacco actually gets more business as people ditch the now-obscenely-expensive rolling tobacco, so they're happy. Politicians get to say they're raising money and helping the budget. In reality though, we're driving small businesses down and moving smokers into spending their money to buy an arguably more dangerous cigarette while at the same time not supporting their own local economies.

    I basically assume anything I hear on the news or from a government press conference is at least a gross misrepresentation - if not a flat-out lie.

  • by iampiti ( 1059688 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @11:02AM (#31523038)
    In Spain we have this levy for blank media but not only CD and DVD but also USB flash sticks, memory cards, hard disks and doesn't end there: It also applies to Optical media recorders and MP3 players. If you can read Spanish it's explained here []. And after all of this you'd think this would legalize filesharing doesn't. This is supposedly a compensation for "private copy" which is something like making a copy from the original media for your personal use (for example copying an audio cd you bought to use it in the car and prevent the original one to get damaged). Of course the politicians are in bed with the intellectual rights societies (SGAE is the most important here) so this is unlikely to get better in the coming years.
  • Re:Useful (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @11:36AM (#31523434)

    It's not the RIAA up here. It's the CCRA, IIRC.

    There are three factors that prevent RIAA-style tactics in Canada.

    First, it is not illegal to download music. It is, however, illegal to upload. So in a very real way, P2P clients are illegal here. I get around this by setting my ratio to cap at 1. It's a bit jerky to the other people after me, but it's how I interpret it. (IANAL) My ISP suggests setting the upload ratio to the lowest possible setting, and lists steps for how to do so in various clients.

    The other factor is that we have a loser-pay court system. If the Canadian Copyright folks want to sue me, they would have to pay my court costs when they lose. If they drop a case, they would be out all of my out-of-pocket expenses. Since I've already paid a levy for copyrighted materials, I (or more accurately, my lawyer) would argue that I've paid for the material that is being copied. Poor logistics on the part of the store, government, and rights holders are not my problem.

    Finally, this levy is brilliant. It bypasses the conservative's attempt to make copyright violations illegal. (We've talked about Bills C-60 and C-61 before.) By adding the fee, you give the okay to piracy by charging what is, in essence, a pirate licence. (I would happily pay a few bucks extra a month to get a pirate's licence, by the way.)

    Notwithstanding all the hoopla about music, which is ubiquitous, there are real dangers in copyright violations. However, those revolve around industry. If you're doing this for personal use, it should not be illegal. Once you try to sell the stuff or engage in fraud, then it's time for the law to step in.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @12:40PM (#31524270) Homepage Journal

    You move to Canada.

    So once I've moved to Canada, this means that I'm not American yet am the author of music that has been copied in the United States. So now how do I get my piece of the United States' AHRA levy? And what's the easiest way for a U.S. citizen currently living in the U.S. to qualify for Canadian residency?

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling