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MP3 Player Tax Proposed In Canada

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the squeezing-out-every-last-dime dept.

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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281 comments

First psot (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522404)

First poost, eh?

Re:First psot (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522882)

I could go for some poutine (with squeaky cheese) right about now...or a kebab...it's one of those mornings.

Useful (1, Funny)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522408)

A little bit extra for an aweful lot more - this makes perfectly reasonable sense. Lets just hope the money gets to the struggling artists!

Re:Useful (4, Insightful)

mr_da3m0n (887821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522438)

Lets just hope the money gets to the struggling artists!

I envy your optimism. It will most likely go the recording industry -- the ones who have to be appeased over the digital equivalent of mixtapes.

Re:Useful (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522846)

Which artists will it go to? Who gets to decide how the money is divided up? ...or is it all spent on fancy part^H^H^H^Hmeetings where people sit around deciding how to divide up the money?

Re:Useful (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523044)

I think it should all go to me. So far, I have received no money at all from my music, which must be due to piracy[1]. Therefore, my sense of entitlement tells me that society owes me approximately $2m (Canadian).

[1] The fact that I have not produced any music does not detract from this argument in any way.

Re:Useful (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523062)

hopefully they screw the RIAA and write in that the money collected goes directly to Canadian artists only and must have full accounting reported or heavy fines will be levied against the RIAA.

Come on, appease and screw them at the same time.

Re:Useful (5, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Useful (3, Interesting)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Useful (2, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522590)

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?

Re:Useful (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522772)

Can I start my own band + label, and sell a single CD to my brother for 1 BILLYION dollars, and get ALL of the fund?? In that case, TYVM NDP!

Re:Useful (5, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522598)

Not effective at all [wikinews.org] .

Re:Useful (1)

DiademBedfordshire (1662223) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523386)

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.

I may be wrong but aren't the Record Companies the Publishers?

Re:Useful (1)

Akira Kogami (1566305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522686)

I hate major labels as much as the next guy, but to be fair supporting the corporation that the artists rely on for profit kinda is helping the artists.

Re:Useful (4, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522850)

Yvan [slashdot.org] already debunked this. The recording companies aren't paying artists properly already. This tax will be another form of corporate welfare, pouring money into the pockets of the real music pirates ... Sony, BMG, etc.

Re:Useful (2, Insightful)

SIBM (1114319) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523290)

This "tax" is imposed to try and help avoid an American DMCA style law that would, in the end, screw everyone. If the "industry" gets their share then they will, hopefully, back off and let Canadians be free from their oppression.

They charge high prices then wonder why people don't buy their product. If they were a small business then they would go belly up, but since they are large they are safe and can bully everyone into bowing to their whim. They must have understood this at one point or they would not have gotten to where they are today. THe economy in Canada, and around the world is going towards a Less for More model. THe consumer gets less for their buck which they are just ignore because their corporate profits are more important. (Sad)

Well, I know which country hosts my next VPS (2, Interesting)

autocracy (192714) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522426)

Just saying... :)

The levy only compensates Major Label artists (4, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522432)

Indepedent artists are still left out in the cold.

Re:The levy only compensates Major Label artists (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522450)

Exactly. However, if there is a way to get a share of the tax revenue, sign me up.

Re:The levy only compensates Major Label artists (4, Informative)

xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 [cpcc.ca] (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:The levy only compensates Major Label artists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522770)

(warning: PDF)

Who cares?

Re:The levy only compensates Major Label artists (1)

Zalbik (308903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522838)

(warning: PDF)

Who cares?

Anyone who uses Adobe Reader cares [google.com]

Re:The levy only compensates Major Label artists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31523140)

By that logic (warning: Requires software) would be just as appropriate. Everything can be vulnerable, and PDF is the most widely used format anyway for sharing docs like these so it's expected.

Re:The levy only compensates Major Label artists (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523092)

People who are both stupid enough to install Adobe Reader, complete with security holes and too stupid to add a line to their user CSS that flags PDF files. For these people, I offer this code:

A[HREF*=".pdf"]:after { content: " [PDF]"!important ; font-variant: small-caps ; vertical-align: super ; font: xx-small sans-serif}

This adds a small, superscript, [PDF] after each link to a PDF (and, unfortunately, after links containing .pdf elsewhere in the filename, due to limitations of CSS). If you don't want to accidentally click on PDFs, add this to your user CSS files, don't whine when people link to PDF files without warning you.

Re:The levy only compensates Major Label artists (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523258)

>>>People who are both stupid... to add a line to their user CSS

The what? I had no idea such a thing existed in my web browser (IE, FF, or Opera). And I don't consider myself "stupid"..... maybe "ignorant" but not stupid.
.

>>>adds a small, superscript, [PDF] after each link to a PDF

Or just look at the status bar before clicking a link, and it will tell you what you're opening.

Re:The levy only compensates Major Label artists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31523178)

People on Windows, who have to live with Adobe Acrobat.

+1 Mac/Linux

Don't like Adobe Reader? Just Foxit. (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523286)

People on Windows, who have to live with Adobe Acrobat.

How? Foxit Reader > Adobe Reader.

Non-Canadians; UPC (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523318)

So long as you are a member of SOCAN and have music tracked by SoundScan, you're eligible for the levies

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? And it appears you need a UPC to get into SoundScan, and to get a UPC, you need at least some sort of label (even if not major). Besides, I didn't see anything on your flowchart about download sales (e.g. iTunes Store).

Re:The levy only compensates Major Label artists (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523378)

Except that in the real world, your LABEL gets the money. The artists never get anything from it. And that is the whole point.

After all, the music industry is the natural enemy of the musician industry.

Re:The levy only compensates Major Label artists (3, Interesting)

JobyOne (1578377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522816)

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.

Re:The levy only compensates Major Label artists (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523336)

Politicians == control freaks.

It is not linear. Or liberty. It is serfdom.

Common Sense (4, Insightful)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522460)

They pay a copying tax every time they buy media. It seems to me this implies copying is then legal.

However, with common sense and government, only occasionally do the two meet.

Re:Common Sense (4, Insightful)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522588)

Exactly. They've had this CD tax for years that legalized music copyright infringement.

Now that they're doing this for mp3 players (and I'm sure, PMPs in general), this would also imply that movie and portable game copyright infringement is legal too, eh?

Re:Common Sense (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522918)

They've had this CD tax for years that legalized music copyright infringement.

It isn't infringement if its legal.

This levy is designed to compensate for private copying, not filesharing, so it covers format shifting but not downloading.

The Conservatives are opposed to it because they are in bed with Big Media, as are the Liberals. This is still going to play well with most Canadians because we'd like to be able to compensate artists, and a (small!) tax on mp3 players and the like is the kind of pragmatic, workable solution that Canadians love. Implementing it will give us more free time to chuckle at the wacky antics of our ideologically addled cousins to the south.

Re:Common Sense (1)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523086)

Well your cousins to the South do not play a levy for format shifting. That is free (if not blocked by DMCA). No reason to chuckle, as I consider that the laugh is on you.

But the RIAA in the US would surely love to (and are lobbying for) forbid format shifting without payment to the "suffering artists". You could soon be in the same boat.
Here in Denmark, we also have a levy. That covers the copying of music within a family (I can give my sister a copy of one of my CD's if I wish). As far as I know format shifting is free.

Re:Common Sense (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523118)

"if not blocked by the DMCA" is the caveat to that... and a very big one, particularly in an age where an increasing amount of copyright content can end up on digital media.

Re:Common Sense (1)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523304)

Absolutely true. I do however not think that anyone *cares* if they rip a copy protected CD/DVD they they bought. I have never heard of anyone getting sued for it, as long as it is format shifting for personal use. Just goes to show that laws need to be fair and make sense in order for people to respect them.

Make to many stupid laws, and people will lose faith in the law altogether.

Getting somewhat OT now.

Re:Common Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31523440)

I believe non-commercial sharing was permissible for songs but not albums is included ... ie giving someone a mix tape ( or a technological descendant of the mix tape)

A good bad thing (1)

Lord_Alex (710459) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522462)

It's nice that we don't face the same persecution the Yanks face from the MAFIAA, I like my shared music... And healthcare ;) But this system will alienate the one or two people who do still pay for music and cause them to re-evaluate their position on piracy. If it's justified through yet another tax, then why pay for music at all? And... what's the difference between music, movies and games? A bitstream by any other name is still just a bitstream.

Re:A good bad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522766)

If the record labels get their fingers burnt by lobbying for a tax on media which results in them losing more than they gain by sending their customers down the downloading route, then I'd feel it hard to be choked up about that. Maybe then someone will start asking why they spent so much money and so many years beating their customers with a big stick when they could have just got on with making money.

Re:A good bad thing (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522944)

I thought you guys already enjoyed a certain legal tolerance for sharing because you get taxed on CDs and such. If that's the case, what do you have to gain from another tax? If this one is passed, how many more taxes are you guys going to be hit up for? If sharing is quasi-legal indefinitely, they can come back in a few years and demand a tax on hard drives, SSDs, and any other storage media, most of which will likely never hold the copyrighted music files they are paying for.

They finally realize they can't stop us (5, Insightful)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522466)

I wish they would do this with my rolling papers and decriminalize non-medicinal marijuana!

A great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522478)

A sensible solution to something which is not going away. music piracy is here to stay and a small levy on mp3 players is a great way to recoup some of the lost earnings.

Re:A great idea (2, Interesting)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522546)

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:A great idea (1)

epdp14 (1318641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522658)

If (assuming you are a Canadian) the government were to impose a tax to cover the lost revenue of audio file sharing then the industry would have a hard time winning a lawsuit claiming that you "pirated" the files, when, in fact, you paid for them already through such a tax. Therefore if you pay for an iTunes version of an MP3 instead of downloading one from your friend down the street you are double paying.

Re:A great idea (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522822)

Unfortunately governments don't think that way - I pay for BBC programmes to be made with my license fee but if I want the box set of the latest comedy or drama series I still have to pay them again. Moreover this tax hits everyone regardless of how they plan to use the media. They have sucessfully criminalised the entire media buying population by insinuating that they all intend to pirate, and while it might be convenient for those who did intend to pirate, it's hardly a fair or just way to handle the situation.

Re:A great idea (1)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523420)

When you buy from iTunes, Amazon, you (probably) have the expressed written consent (i.e., end user agreement) to copy to music to a music playing device device.

Sites like Magnatune give you a licence to copy to as many devices as you like (even other people's devices).

The tax doesn't cover file sharing. It only covers private copying of purchased music to a blank cd or, in this case, an mp3 player. This is no longer the only way, or likely the most common way, to fill up a mp3 player, so taxing them as such is just plain dumb.

Double paying (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522910)

Seems like a small price to pay to get the MAFIAA off the case and out of the legal system (I'm sure they're already draining more money from you in taxes than you'll ever pay on mp3 player tax).

Re:A great idea (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523152)

Are you actually using iTunes and an iPod and still using MP3 anyway? Or did you just say "MP3" to stay generic? You do know that AAC is better than MP3, right?

Re:A great idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

May not pass (4, Interesting)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:May not pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522584)

Yes, I am Canadian.

I'm so sorry...

Re:May not pass (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522824)

I'm so sorry...that I'm not

Fixed that for you

*whoosh*? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522994)

I think saying "I'm sorry..." was a dig at the overly apologetic nature of Canadians in general.

Ever see the movie Canadian Bacon with John Candy? The Americans are busting through a crowd of Canadians pushing and shoving them aside, as the Canadians are falling they are all saying "Sorry" and "Sorry I was in your way" etc.

Re:May not pass (4, Funny)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522888)

Yes, I am Canadian.

I'm so sorry...

No no, it's my fault, I'm sorry for causing you to experience any thoughts of sorrow. Please accept my deepest apologies.

Punk Kids (1)

Trivial Solutions (1724416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522494)

Damn, I burn a CD or two a day when I'm coding as back-ups. Kinda sucks. Freeloader punk kids ruining everything. Tell God it's not stealing.

Re:Punk Kids (2, Insightful)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522868)

The last time I even bothered looking into it, which was probably 5 years ago, they were selling music and data CDs as separate products and the levy only applied to music CDs and not data CDs.

If it were anywhere else I'd say YRO, but CANADA? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522504)

Canada is to piracy like Nigeria is to 419 scams. 'nuff said!

Re:If it were anywhere else I'd say YRO, but CANAD (2, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522704)

You must help me! I am the Prince of Newfoundland, wrongfully imprisoned for having hidden a stash of illegal mp3s from thousands of your favorite artists. If you email me back with your personal bank info, I shall split my mp3 stash with you. This is not a scam! (*legal disclaimer* this is totally a scam)

Ugh, this again (1)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522514)

Hasn't the runaway success of services like iTunes and Amazon MP3 and all the rest of them mitigated the need to play this game where we supposedly all obtain our music illegally and have to pay for it with levies on media and devices?

Right, sorry, I forgot, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Record Labels wants its $20 cut of my iPhone/Nexus One/Pre/etc. And boy do they deserve it, considering the depth and genius of the cultural patrimony they've contributed. Like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

Re:Ugh, this again (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522672)

My question is, what about someone like me who very rarely listens to anything that could be considered major label? Tool is about the biggest band I listen to, and everything drops off sharply from that point...most of my music comes from people like me [last.fm] , guys or gals just putting stuff together in their bedroom. All of the creativity, none of the money given to the RIAA.

Private members' bill is going nowhere (5, Insightful)

fishwallop (792972) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522532)

This proposed legislation is going nowhere in this form.

The bill being put forward by a member of parliament from the NDP, who are at the opposite end of the political spectrum from the governing Conservative parties. It will not get enought support to make it past first reading - it would need the support of the largest opposition party, the Liberals, and they're likely to just ignore it, because politically, it looks like a tax. Also, because there's finances involved, passing the legislation might be considered a confidence vote which would bring down the government and trigger an election, and this just isn't an issue the Liberals want us going to the polls over. Canada once did have an "ipod tax" of the sort proposed. The "private copying" regime in Canada makes it legal (i.e. not a violation of copyright) to copy music (but not movies, or non-musical audio recordings) for private use onto an "audio recording media". The flip side of the legislation is that a levy (tax) is imposed on "audio recording media" to compensate recording artists for the copies of their music that are copied in this way. For example, there's a levy of about 30 cents per blank CD. However, because the law doesn't model technology very well, there is no levy on blank DVDs, and when they tried to impose a levy on MP3 players several years ago, the Court struck it down, concluding that an MP3 player is not "audio recording media". Hard drives, similarly, are not "audio recording media" because they can hold anything, not just audio. Like I said, the law doesn't model technology very well.

Re:Private members' bill is going nowhere (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522746)

Just a note, the reason the court struck down the MP3 player levy before was because it was going to be imposed by the copyright board. The court ruled the board had overstepped it's authority under current law. This bill is an attempt to add that authority to the law.

Of course the consertatives oppose it... (2, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522544)

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:Of course the consertatives oppose it... (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522920)

[...] (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).

If that's true then it's seriously messed up. So I buy a CD, based on past experience and knowing they use the cheapest possible dyes and materials, I make a copy so that my original doesn't get scratched... and for that I'm expected to compensate the record labels? For providing an inferior product which is liable to be easily damaged?

Re:Of course the consertatives oppose it... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523010)

The answer to your underlying question, disregarding all notion of the actual quality of the work, is yes.

Could be passed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522560)

It's important to note that the Conservatives, though currently having the most elected, aren't a majority, and that if the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc got together they'd have a majority. It has a chance at least :)

I like legislation like this simply because it would more explicitly decriminalize sharing music and it makes more sense to tax MP3 players than cd-r's and similar storage mediums because those are often used for other things. I wish it might go to the artists who need it rather than multinational corporations who post millions or billions in annual profits every year, but we can't have everything apparantly...

Let's go all the way (5, Funny)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522570)

Let's have a tax on crowbars, because some will use it to break into houses and not be caught. And a new tax on automobiles, because some will go through red lights and not be caught. And a new tax on shoes, because some people will jaywalk and not be caught. And a tax on thinking because some will commit thought crimes and not be caught.

Re:Let's go all the way (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523022)

I think this tax might not be a bad idea. The levy on blank CDs basically implied that downloading was legal. MP3 players are just an extension. It all depends on how much this tax is.

Re:Let's go all the way (1)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523060)

I don't know how it works in Canada, but in the U.S. a tax on something does not make it legal. Remember, Al Capone was finally caught for income tax evasion. That doesn't mean that his business activities were legit. And the U.S. once sold marijuana tax stamps, and I remember reading about a proposal to have a cocaine tax. It doesn't make it legal. It just gives the government another way to go after someone. In other words, it is perfectly possible to have a tax on illegal activities.

Re:Let's go all the way (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523436)

Not in Canada its not. You can't Tax MJ or Cocaine because that would mean there has to be a legit transaction taking place, and if any of the substances are illegal, then its not a legit transaction.

This is why they bust people for Possession, not tax evasion.

Re:Let's go all the way (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523262)

Except you've got it backwards - Here in Canada, we don't define downloading music as an illegal activity, or if we do, we do NOTHING about it. In fact, I think its only Movies (which seems kind of double standards to me but hey its Canada). I know tons of people who download entire albums and never get so much as throttling from their ISP. I know a few people who tried to download a movie from Bittorrent a few times - WOOSH Throttled down within half an hour, and an email or phone call about not downloading that stuff because its illegal.

This tax suggests that downloading music IS Legal, not illegal. To put it in a Car Analogy:

It'd be like putting a tax on Electrical cars since they don't consume as much if any Gasoline. In most cases, this means money is coming out of regular consumers pockets and into those of an oil company or music label - which doesn't seem right - but on the other hand, its not punishing people for using their ingenuity.

Savvy?

Fuck Off, Eh (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522572)

Seriously, it boggles the mind that the media corporations have managed to brainwash people sufficiently that they have politicians proposing a tax that enables them to be paid _FOR DOING NOTHING!_ Just because they exist, they expect to be paid. It's a degree of entitlement that my brain has troubles comprehending. I want to rant more but I'm just too flabbergasted to be able to put together a coherent sentence... I clearly went into the wrong industry - I actually have to work for my pay check. I should have gone into music distribution where I can get paid just for being there.

Seriously, the media companies (music, first and foremost among them since the RIAA and CRIA are the most antagonistic of them) need to fuck off. Eh.

Re:Fuck Off, Eh (1)

Akira Kogami (1566305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522716)

You don't think being an executive at a huge corporation is work? Fun fact: If they did nothing, no one would want to get signed.

Re:Fuck Off, Eh (0, Troll)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523306)

Fun fact: Your reading comprehension is atrocious.

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522608)

Annoying government intervention is annoying. Can we fire these egomaniacs who keep trying to tell us how to use our toys?

What about other data storage devices? (1)

bradbury (33372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522634)

Hmmm.... I don't own an MP3 player. Any MP3 files I might have are stored on my hard disk drive. If I wanted to play them on an MP3 player I'd probably build one myself (plans are available on the Internet) and store the MP3s on a USB drive. Surprising that they are stopping at simple MP3 players (which tend to be overpriced anyway) and not going after any and all data storage devices.

Broken model --> Broken solutions.

Re:What about other data storage devices? (2, Informative)

msisden (761674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522864)

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." (http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4349743&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=3)

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.

Re:What about other data storage devices? (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522880)

From the article:

It would extend the private copying levy — which adds a small tax to all blank media, such as CDs and DVDs — to devices that can reproduce media, including MP3 players and computers.

My question is; which part of the computer? I custom build all my computers, so which individual part do I need to order from the US?

Re:What about other data storage devices? (1)

mrsurb (1484303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523028)

If common sense reigned, the sound card - without which you could not listen to the MP3s.

If only common sense were more... common.

Re:What about other data storage devices? (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523362)

so what if my motherboard comes with onboard sound, and i buy a sound card? do i get double taxed?

Re:What about other data storage devices? (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522902)

Hmmm.... I don't own an MP3 player. Any MP3 files I might have are stored on my hard disk drive. If I wanted to play them on an MP3 player I'd probably build one myself (plans are available on the Internet) and store the MP3s on a USB drive. Surprising that they are stopping at simple MP3 players (which tend to be overpriced anyway) and not going after any and all data storage devices.

Broken model --> Broken solutions.

All the music I listen to are re-performances in the Zenph sense (http://www.zenph.com/reperformance.html). Except where they use a piano and high-def MIDI, I use a different kind of electro-acoustic transducer and a different encoding scheme.

If I would have pay the tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522674)

If I would have pay the tax I would feel quite entitled to pirate music, since I "pay" for it. I mean there is something wrong with this method.

Re:If I would have pay the tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522684)

Actually there's nothing wrong at all. You paid the tax in order to decriminalize file sharing. I'd gladly pay a tax on an mp3 player to be able to download everything with impunity. I'd even pay a one time hefty fee for a lifetime license. I'd pay $1000 to have free access to the iTunes library for the rest of its existence.

Re:If I would have pay the tax (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522750)

Amen, brother.

Computes (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522698)

The original article mentions the tax is also proposed for computers.

Re:Computes (0, Offtopic)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522892)

Troll is not a replacement for I disagree.

Have you never read slashdot? Troll is used as a replacement for "I disagree" quite regularly.

Effective or not (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522736)

Whether the measure is effective or not does not matter in the first place. What matters in the first place, is having laws that make sense. Here, there is perfect sense in "decriminalizing". Only after the Canadians have actually got the law, they will need to look into ways to enforce it. Way to go, Canada !!

Forget the MP3 tax... (2, Interesting)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522774)

I'm more interested in the other private members bill, the one that would expand the definition of fair-dealing.

Bill also deals with fair-dealing (1)

Giltron (592095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522926)

Expansion to the definition of fair-dealing is included in this bill. The headline and description only chooses to focus on the levy aspect/

What? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522848)

This is partly due to a levy imposed on blank media, CD-Rs and cassette tapes,

So, blank CD-Rs and tapes are somehow different than "blank media"?

Parkinson's Law (2, Insightful)

lazarus (2879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522866)

Parkinson's Law, theorized by C. Northcote Parkinson, a British Royal Navy historian and author, explains this phenomenon by stating that "work expands to fill the time available for its completion" and in bureaucratic organizations, the number of people required to do the work will continually rise whether the actual volume of work stays the same, increases, decreases or disappears.

The question is how much do Canadian artists get handed from the government in the existing "tax the media" scheme? I'd warrant they don't get anything and that the government keeps track of what they collect and injects "money into supporting artists, including more money for the Canada Council for the Arts and the Canada Music Fund." (from TFA). I mean, what else could they do? Say I was a terrible artist (not too much of a stretch) and I put out a terrible album with nothing on it that anybody would want. Do I have my hand out for the MP3 tax? How much would the government give me? How would they determine that?

They can't. And they don't. This is a stupid idea based on another stupid idea.

Want to see what they do with the money?

So they tax our media. Then they give it to bureaucratic organizations that consume themselves. And the indy rock band gets? You guessed it. The shaft. And we are proposing to extend this to new media. Excellent. Let me just get out my wallet...

Like a condom tax to cover the cost of rape?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522954)

Could government bullshit possibly be any more ridiculous?!

And rape is an actual violation of Natural Rights, while "intellectual property" isn't based on Natural Law (i.e. tangible property rights based on scarcity) nor Contract Law - just a baseless construct backed by tyrannical government force!

And remember - if you're not a libertarian / Anarcho-Capitalist / agorist / tax resister then you're an enabler of government tyranny, whether you support its individual bits or not!

"Let them march all they want, so long as the pay their taxes." -- General Alexander Haig

(Signed: Alex Libman's sock-puppet.)

Enough already! (1)

radicalrendell (882721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523004)

Please can we stop worrying about the artists already? Someone has to start thinking of the struggling lawyers and politicians.

In Spain we have it "better" (2, Interesting)

iampiti (1059688) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_por_copia_privada_(Espa%C3%B1a) [wikipedia.org] . And after all of this you'd think this would legalize filesharing ....it 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.

Try, try again (3, Informative)

debrain (29228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523072)

I participated in the effort to defeat this same proposal in 2002-2004 [canlii.org] . 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.

Ogg Vorbis (2, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523102)

Fortunately I only play Oggs.

don't YOU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31523192)

dont you know anything propsed by the Bloc Quebecois in Canada is pretty much the opposite of the majority in Canada. They are just stirring up the pot

Come on Liberals (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31523410)

Get us this option, please.
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