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Canada May Tax Legal Music Downloads

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the more-like-a-half-pounder-of-flesh dept.

Businesses 246

FuriousBalancing writes "MacNN is reporting that Canadians may soon pay a small tax on every legal music store download. This fee is the work of a measure proposed by the Copyright Board of Canada. About two cents would be added to every song downloaded, with 1.5 cents being added to album downloads. Streaming services and subscriptions would also be taxed, to the tune of about 6% of the monthly fee. Most interesting - the tax would be retroactively applied to every transaction processed since 1996. 'The surcharge would help compensate artists for piracy, according to SOCAN's reasoning. The publishing group draws similarities between this and a 21-cent fee already applied to blank CDs in the country; the right to copy a song from an online store demands the same sort of levy applied to copying a retail CD, SOCAN argues. The tax may have a significant impact for online stores such as iTunes and Canada-based Puretracks, which will have to factor the amount both into future and past sales.' The full text of the measure is available in PDF format."

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WTF? (5, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059563)

"The surcharge would help compensate artists for piracy"

So now we are taxing law-abiding citizens to make up for those who break the law? Is it just me, or does this *promote* piracy?

Re:WTF? (3, Insightful)

I_lost_on_jeopardy (1177101) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059585)

So now we are taxing law-abiding citizens to make up for those who break the law? Is it just me, or does this *promote* piracy?
It's the same "punish the actual customer" attitude that's resulted in anti-piracy previews in the movie theater.

Candidian bring it on themselves for stealing (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059813)

Candidian bring it on themselves for stealing tehy hget what they desevers

Re:WTF? (1, Insightful)

monkaru (927718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059593)

Does nothing of the sort and only raqtionalises the already existing media levy. I doubt retroactive payment can be applied as the Charter and the Supreme Court frown on that sort of thing. Nevertheless, it isn't that big of a deal either way. Awkward at the begining I suppose. When a Canadian downloads a music file and burns it to media which has had the media levy paid it is NOT piracy but legal copying.

Re:WTF? (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059971)

So how is that NOT punishing "law-abiding citizens" and promoting piracy? Do you ride the little bus to work at that industry lobbying group or are you just a moron?

Re:WTF? (4, Insightful)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059599)

It doesn't even immediately make sense. Until very recently major label music was DRM'd, which effectively prevented most casual piracy. I could potentially see streaming radio used as a piracy source, but that's only for MP3 streams, and then those guys do a number of things to discourage piracy.

Is there something I'm missing here? How can you tax someone for piracy when they're unable to use the taxed items to reasonably commit it?

Re:WTF? (5, Informative)

monkaru (927718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059629)

In theory there is no reason to DRM music in the Canadian market as copying is legal when a levy is paid on media and downloaded music from on-line stores would also be legal to copy hence the tax. It's a case of a much larger country having Draconian copyright laws while a smaller neighbour goes at the issue in an entirely different way. Obviously, American labels aren't about to make an easy to copy version for the Canadian market.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059713)

I propose we tax music makers instead. They started the problem, it's only fair.

It is NOT piracy in Canada! (5, Informative)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059787)

I have mod points I would love to use, but I have no chance because no one is correcting the Myth of Piracy.

In Canada it is NOT piracy to copy a song for personal use. It is not stealing, it is not copyright infrigement. It is a right granted by law, a law that was encouraged by the music industry back in the Audio Cassette days. Yes, they now regret it... too bad!

Re:It is NOT piracy in Canada! (5, Interesting)

monkaru (927718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059883)

Yes, you are exactly right. I'm not too happy with the spokesperson the copyright board used for this annoucement because the did a very bad job of explaining exactly what is meant by "copying" in Canada. As you say, copying music to levied media is not piracy but legal copying and the levy on on-line music would allow the copying of downloaded files more than once. Giving a copy to your mom for example. However, DRM routines may make most downloads not easily copied anyway but might make an interesting court case should someone purchase levied music on-line and discover the files are altered in a manner that prohibits or makes very difficult legal copying. Legal copying they have paid for. Could get interesting.

O Canada, Founding Myth of Piracy (2, Funny)

realitybath1 (837263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060009)

O Canada!
Our home and native LAN!
True pirate love in all thy lines command.

With glowing modems we see bits rise,
The True Bits strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we fileshare tunes for thee.

God keep our tunes gloriously free!
O Canada, we fileshare tunes for thee.

O Canada, we fileshare tunes for free.

Re:WTF? (1)

11_biznatch_11 (875790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059821)

We already do this. Ask any retailer they will tell you that prices are higher because of theft so you're already paying more to make up for those who break the law. It's not a clearly defined tax like this would be but the cost is still there.

Re:WTF? (2, Insightful)

monkaru (927718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059955)

The thing is no one is stealing or breaking any laws to begin with. In Canada it is legal to post files to and retrieve files from a shared directory. It is also legal to copy music to levied media. Finally, it is not illegal to download music for personal use. The use of the word piracy by the Copyright Board spokesperson was unfortunate and misleading.

Fuck the Liberals. Fuck the Conservatives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059873)

For nearly the past 100 years, the Liberal and Conservative parties have taken turns running the Canadian government. And what have we gotten from them with regards to the digital age? Nothing but bullshit. But that's what happens when most lawyers and other non-technical people try to meddle with the cutting edge: they fuck up.

Canada needs more politicians with a technical background. Instead of just having lawyers, political "scientists", businessmen and bureaucrats in office, we need scientists, engineers, tradespeople and doctors. These are the sort of people who have a far more realistic view of society as a whole. They understand technology. And they're perfectly capable of understanding legal issues, often better than trained lawyers.

If there's one party that most fits that description, it's the Green Party. Although they have their fringe elements, at least they have some diversity within their ranks. That's just not the case with the Liberal and Conservative parties.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059963)

This makes it the duty of every canuck to "pirate" stuff like hell. May no "tube" in canada stay cold and cool, no , no more. There's a lot of material to get...

Jebus fucking christ, those arrogant, greedy, evil suckers! There goes any moral high ground claims...

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21060121)

So now we are taxing law-abiding citizens to make up for those who break the law?

Don't we do that anyway, when we pay taxes to cover the cost of police and prisons?

A tax on not committing piracy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059565)

Because of the health costs of tobbaco, Canada is proposing a new tax on non-smokers.

Re:A tax on not committing piracy (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059609)

Because of the health costs of tobbaco, Canada is proposing a new tax on non-smokers.

Actually, that could make sense. Smokers die much sooner; as a result, they are much less likely to receive the same benefits from their pension plan that a non-smoker would receive. Every smoker who dies at 60 or 65 saves the government and their employer a lot in pensions.

It is often said that smokers cost the health care system more - I'm not sure that is true. Since everyone dies, are smokers just running up their health care costs sooner than non-smokers?

Re:A tax on not committing piracy (3, Informative)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059797)

Treatment of a smoker is even more expensive then the longer life of the average non-smoker, and there are plenty of sources to back it up. Google pulled up these articles:
http://www.cdc.gov/MMWR/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5114a2.htm [cdc.gov]
http://www.bera.com/smoking.htm [bera.com]

Re:A tax on not committing piracy (1)

Trolan (42526) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060017)

True, but since when have facts ever stopped a government entity looking for an additional source of income?

Re:A tax on not committing piracy (1)

DerMatsi (1142757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060103)

I skimmed both articles, they focus on medical costs related to smokers vs non smokers, not on medical costs related to smokers vs total costs for non smokers. So nothing about the tax on tobacco, duration of pensions/welfare, jobs sustained and lost because of smoking, import/export of tobacco and related goods, productivity lost due to smoke breaks, fires started by carelessly discarded cigarettes or the carbon emissions from lighter fuel.

The medical part is just one of the many factors of the economical impact that smoking has on our world, so purely medical accounting will give a twisted view of the numbers.

So, there ya go (1, Funny)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059569)

Well, I can't think of anything particularly witty other than 'FUCK THEM'.

WTF? (1)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059591)

retroactive!?!?!
so Canada is going to send out a bill for 11years of back tax to every Canadian who down loaded legal music?
that should be popular.

Re:So, there ya go (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059867)

Well, I can't think of anything particularly witty...
How about:

WTF, a government finding yet another way to take money and use it to buy votes!? I've never heard of such a thing.

Not particularly witty, but the best I could do after a few beers and not much sleep.

Sound plan. (1)

Dekar (754945) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059571)

Because, obviously, charging more for legal downloads is going to help reduce piracy.

Theoretically Speaking (5, Interesting)

ChromaticDragon (1034458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059577)

Just how do we get connected to this gravy train?

Can we just churn out some simple recordings, demonstrate it's theoretical pirating rates and call up somewhere to get some dough?

Re:Theoretically Speaking (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059679)

I find your idea intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Theoretically Speaking (1)

hosecoat (877680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060027)

1. record album
2. put on bittorrent
3. profit

That would suck (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059583)

If they started implementing this, I would probably just have to stop buying music altogether. It's getting way too annoying for me to buy music without being ripped off by the industry. I use eMusic to buy my music, and if I had to pay this extra fee, I would cancel my account, and let them know exactly why. If enough online music stores had enough customers quit, then I think that the backlash from these companies would make the government change their mind about this kind of stuff. Also, trying to make things like this retroactive, would make it even worse. The industry complains that people are pirating music, and then hits their customers with crap like this. I've gone completely legit for the last few years, because I feel that it's right to support the artists, but stuff like this makes me want to go back to downloading everything over IRC. If they are just going to assume that we are pirating all their content, we might as well do it, because they certainly don't deserve our money.

Re:That would suck (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059749)

I for one hope this goes through.

It's the law of unintended consequences. Due to the Levy on blank media, I can copy/download as much as I please, all completely legal in Canada

Add another Levy and I'll have even more protection from the lawsuit insanity going on in the US.

And I wonder how this works to the CRIA's advantage as that they are attempting to get rid of the levy on blank media for the afore mentioned reason.

I don't pay to download music now, Why would I start?

Re:That would suck (2, Interesting)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059831)

If I remember well (being Canadian too), its actually not "legal" in Canada to download and copy as much as you want, BUT there is ONE (I beleive just one) precedent of a judge letting someone off when they used as a defence that the levy paid for their piracy... so you most likely can get away with it, but its not written black on white that its "completly legal". its just a gray area that plays heavily in our favor.

Punish those who pay. (1, Redundant)

GoatBastard (1103911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059603)

Yet another backward step in the online music distribution saga. Those who are paying for music online have to pay a tax to make up for those who don't pay for their music. It hardly encourages the use of legal online music stores.

Just What the Record Companies don't need.... (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059605)

Another reason to download music illegitimately, its bad enough with DRM, Incompatible formats, high prices and slow getting it to the music store, so now you have to put up with the same amount of DRM, Incompatible formats, slower service and now higher prices, and how is a "Tax" going to help compensate artists? Same way that all the other taxes are going to help the "Roads and schools" when they don't. Just another reason to "pirate" songs

Re:Just What the Record Companies don't need.... (1)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059801)

I will soon sound like a broken record, but I must point out that downloading from another individual is legit in Canada.

Has anyone followed up? (5, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059611)

The surcharge would help compensate artists for piracy, according to SOCAN's reasoning. The publishing group draws similarities between this and a 21-cent fee already applied to blank CDs in the country

Has anyone ever followed up to see just how much of the 21-cent fee actually makes it back to the artists, and how much is sucked up by the record company cartel?

Re:Has anyone followed up? (5, Informative)

monkaru (927718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059661)

Interestingly, the CRIA has refused to collect the money. So, there are billions in artists money sitting uncollected.

Re:Has anyone followed up? (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059843)

If what you say is correct, a better sense would be that the CRIA cartel does not lift a finger to assure the money gets back to the artists. I am sure that if the CRIA were due the money, it would most assuredly be collected.

This would seem to require (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059613)

the right to copy a song from an online store demands the same sort of levy applied to copying a retail CD
So does that mean that the Canadian government is going to require that online stores abandon DRM since CDs work fine without it?

Except . . . (4, Insightful)

SquareOfS (578820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059625)

The analogy is to the levy on blank CDs? The tax is because the downloaded music can be burned to a blank CD on which you've already paid a tax because you might burn music to it?

In related news, Canada proposed a tax on blank paper, by analogy to the sales tax which applies to books. "Someone might read what's written on the paper someday, and we won't then have the opportunity to collect the tax."

Re:Except . . . (1)

monkaru (927718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059711)

The levy is collected on behalf of the copyright holders and the levy gives you "the right" to copy if you choose to do so. If a company or library or even individual wants to escape the levy because the media will be used for other purposes they can simply import the media from the States or wherever and not pay the levy. The tax on a song purchased on line (a levy) would give the downloader the right to copy the file (more than once) to disc or MP3 player.

Condoning privacy? (0, Troll)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059635)

Doesn't this tax acknowledge that privacy occurs and is governmment sanctioned?

Re:Condoning privacy? (1)

BlueLightning (442320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059657)

Well, I'd hope that privacy was sanctioned by governments, but with governments being what they are these days...

Wait a sec, did you mean *piracy*?

Re:Condoning privacy? (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059721)

Wow, thanks for the correction. I even proof-read the message before I posted it. So much for listening to [non-pirated] tunes while I type.

tax legal? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059637)

They should tax the illegal downloads, that is where the money is!

Re:tax legal? (1)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059823)

The parent is actually being funnier than he thinks. There is no money in taxing illegal downloads in Canada. Downloading music is legal.

Obligatory Ronald Reagan quote (0, Offtopic)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059639)

"Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."

first step to recriminalizing filesharing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059641)

Right now it's legal to download music in Canada since a fee / tax is collected on all media. I'm afraid, however, corporate interests will move to make any non commercial filesharing illegal. The criminalization of what was the fair right of all should concern everyone everywhere.

eh? oh yes, I am here, way up there

No tax yet? (1)

Gabest (852807) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059655)

I would think (living on the other side of the globe) that online music sales, as every other kind of sale, included the tax in the price. So basically, this just means a little raise, today 4% tomorrow 5%. Is this the first time something gets more expensive like this in Canada?

Could this lead to harsher penalties for pirates? (1)

MonkWB (724056) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059663)

Because the purchase of online music will be taxed, by downloading pirated music would you not be avoiding tax (i.e. tax evasion)?

Pitchforks and torches (1)

jlindy (1028748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059671)

A tax however onerous is one thing, but retroactive!? That's just plain mean! I would think it's time for our friends to the north to go to the pitchforks and torches!

Re:Pitchforks and torches (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059693)

They had their chance. God save the Queen!

Re:Pitchforks and torches (2, Interesting)

monkaru (927718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059741)

I very much doubt a retroactive tax would fly in court. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms prohibits that sort of thing.

Re:Pitchforks and torches (1)

jlindy (1028748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059899)

All the same, I'd want to know the names of the legislators that think this is a good idea, and see to it their terms in office were considerably shortened.

Re:Pitchforks and torches (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060005)

I very much doubt a retroactive tax would fly in court. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms prohibits that sort of thing.

Care to provide a reference?

Re:Pitchforks and torches (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059791)

agreed. it's fucking horse shit to back date taxes PRIOR to the tax being made law.

21c on cd's because it MIGHT be used to burn music? what about people like me who only burnt their data to cd's?

Re:Pitchforks and torches (1)

monkaru (927718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060029)

You can apply for an exemption or import the media from the states. We distributed some Linux CDs to local students to try out and getting the exemption was pretty easy reducing the cost by quite a bit. But most folks who buy a 50 spindle of CDs are going to copy music onto some of them at least.

Re:Pitchforks and torches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21060073)

LOL. Our own government rapes our privacy every chance they get and invades sovereign nations with impunity, yet we do nothing. Canada wants to tax music sales, and you suggest they revolt? Guess we know where our priorities are.

Re:Pitchforks and torches (1)

jlindy (1028748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060113)

Don't think that I haven't been keeping the tines on my pitchfork sharpened, or that I haven't taken tar and feathers into consideration.

Ex Post Facto Laws (5, Interesting)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059687)

A retroactive tax an ex-post-facto law. If this were the US, that part of the law would be unconstitutional on its face, article I, section 9, paragraph 3: "No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." But of course, it's Canada, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms only affects criminal retrospective laws (and section 33 can be used to obtain a 5 year mulligan if it is). BUT I AM NOT A LAWYER, so maybe I'm wrong (but I may be right).

Re:Ex Post Facto Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059747)

No wonder they don't have a budget deficit. Everytime they need money, they retroactively increase their income tax in previous years. I hear they are planning on 1928 to 1932 on their next round. With penalties (for not paying the tax back in the day) and interest they will get trillions.

I hope the IRS doesn't figure this out.

Re:Ex Post Facto Laws (2, Informative)

monkaru (927718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059771)

Yes, you are right. It's the same in Canada as the States. Your Constitution probits that sort of thing and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms does the same. They will have to rethink that part of it because it would be a slam dunk for the retailers in court.

Re:Ex Post Facto Laws (2, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059835)

Retroactive taxes are legal in the United States (most recently decided with a retroactive income tax increase during the Clinton administration). The Ex Post Facto law provision hasn't applied to taxes since Calder v. Bull in the 18th centry, and since the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the various "Megan's laws" it really doesn't apply to much anymore. Probably the final nail was Kansas v Hendricks, the decision to allow those who had finished serving their sentences for certain crimes to be indefinitely confined to a mental institution.

The US Constitution: It's just a goddamn piece of paper.

Where will it go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059691)

'The surcharge would help compensate artists for piracy'

Does the legislation state that the 2 cents will go to the artists?

What other taxes? (3, Insightful)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059723)

[sarcasm]Will there be a Tax on earbuds too? How about we have a per child tax of $50/year to account for music piracy, starting from birth, of course.[/sarcasm]

What is this crap? Canada needs to get their priorities in order. People are more important than lobbyist groups. I hope Canadians are voting for the right politicians, because if this continues any industry could just come up and say "People are downloading/using our material illegally, we need to be compensated." Poof, another tax! With so many copies of Windows pirated, I'm surprised that Microsoft hasn't been trying to get a piece of this cake.

Re:What other taxes? (1)

monkaru (927718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059807)

The music labels are against it because the tax (not really a tax but a levy for copyright holders) would allow a person to legally copy a file downloaded from an on-line music store more than once and even give a copy to a friend. In fact, they are so pissed at our levy system they have refused to collect billions in media levies. No conspiracy.

Re:What other taxes? (1)

Eddi3 (1046882) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059951)

Shhh! Don't give them any ideas!

Re:What other taxes? (2, Funny)

Eccles (932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060131)

How about we have a per child tax of $50/year to account for music piracy, starting from birth, of course.

Don't worry, you don't have to pay the tax if you're deaf, and tone-deaf get half off.

$0.02 (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059739)

So now they want my two cents worth as well, eh?

A ripoff.. (1)

Sri Ramkrishna (1856) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059759)

This seems like utter crap. First you tax blank media for artist compensation. Now you're going to tax legit web stores as well to protect artist compensation. This smacks of corporate welfare. Why should the people of Canada compensate companies for not being smart enough to make money and adjust to the market? There is always going to be music and entertainment in our lives whether there is a record company or media company behind it or not. It's part of our tribal heritage. The business plan they had in the 80s no longer work. Innvoate! Find a new way. Lately, we've been doing that a lot just about everywhere. This tax does absolutely nothing to benefit the people.

Worse, what happens after downloading goes down because it is no longer affordable? Or maybe piracy comes down? They'll still be paying that tax and the companies are going to get essentially free money. THis reminds me of the record "breakage" fee that record companies charge or the "convenience' fee that ticketmaster charge. Just pure profit. If these people want some windfall of the tax, then they should allow the government to look at how they structure themselves.

The only way is to completely boycott the whole thing and that should send a very strong signal to both government and record companies.

sri

Not as stupid as it appears ... (3, Insightful)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059775)

... but more evil.

The music industry is trying to come to terms with the fact that they can't make money the way that they used to. Seeing that their traditional business model is approaching collapse, they need to either protect it or find a new business model. In this case the new business model is to get the government to tax citizens and give the tax revenue to the music industry. By encouraging more piracy, they will be able to demand more tax payer money down the road.

If you think that this is an implausible business model, just look the business of agriculture in most rich countries. Their business is to depend on government enforced price supports and subsidies, and very little about actual farming.

Re:Not as stupid as it appears ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059817)

if the money actually GETS to SOCAN, it will make it to the artists - even the little ones. SOCAN is a stand-up association and not a douchebag riddled litigation society like RIAA.

Given the choice to pay a tax (like the CD/DVD/Data Levy) or roll the dice and get sued - i'd choose that over, what was it, $221,000 to the RIAA?

While i disagree with being labelled a theif before i've done anything, i think even i have downloaded something i should have paid for at least once or twice.

no idea how much fun they'll have making this retroactive.

Re:Not as stupid as it appears ... (1)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059949)

if the money actually GETS to SOCAN, it will make it to the artists - even the little ones. SOCAN is a stand-up association and not a douchebag riddled litigation society like RIAA.

Assuming that other Canadians feel as you do, then there would be some genuine support for a government subsidy of musicians (through their representatives of SOCAN) in Canada. The proposed (and existing) taxes would encourage piracy so in the end to model would be, "pirate what you want, but we will tax citizens to compensate artists (through SOCAN) with public money."

I personally think that such a model would lead to disaster and corruption (which artists? Only signed ones? Who controls who's signed?). But I'd rather not get into predictable /. battle about free markets versus government subsidy. What I do want to say is that your sentiment does support my claim about intentions: SOCAN is looking to be a conduit for the government subsidies to SOCAN's artists as its new business model

Re:Not as stupid as it appears ... (1)

TehZorroness (1104427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059827)

I say we return copyright expiration to a sensible period (about 10 years should be good) and see how these fucking recording companies do instead trying to fix their broken business model which is based on corrupted copyright laws. The world's governments cradle the corporations so much it makes me sick.

Re:Not as stupid as it appears ... (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059849)

The music industry is trying to come to terms with the fact that they can't make money the way that they used to

SOCAN has always used these sorts of tactics, basically taxing all Canadians to create a sort of artists welfare. Read the document and you'll find them talk about game creators having to pay the SOCAN tax regardless of whether every single bit of in-game music, if any, was licensed or contracted. Doesn't matter - send SOCAN a check for the privilege of music.

It has always astounded me that such an organization could continue to enjoy such legislative influence despite their interests being so contrary to capitalism, and to 99.9999%+ of Canadians. I suspect it has to do with the general apathy of Canadians towards government, and the reality that the overwhelming majority of Canadians have no clue about such things.

Re:Not as stupid as it appears ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059857)

that's ok this just means that I can't get sued because I already pay piracy compensation by paying a tax on CD's.

this is nothing, I pay Tax on Taxes that's how stupid this country is.

What about free ad-supported sites? (1)

illectro (697914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059793)

If you go to imeem.com you can listen to practically any track ever recorded without actually paying anything directly to the site, instead the site is making money of advertising and has deals with the record labels to pay them a cut of thise. So I wonder if this would be taxed? No transaction is taking place in Canada, well except when canadian artists get paid their share I guess, but that's probably well beyond the scope of the law.

What's the problem? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059799)

Illegal downloads are still free, right?

If you really want to make it fair, then if the tax is, e.g., 1%, just download one illegal song for every 100 you buy. Then you're paying for your own piracy, right?

As ludricrous as it is unethical (5, Insightful)

seanthenerd (678349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059837)

So until now, we could assume that when we bought music from iTunes et al., a certain amount went to that company and a certain amount went to the artist. According to a record-producing-artist friend of mine, he actually gets a very decent cut as an indie artist with iTunes (especially considering the lack of material+hosting costs). Now, with this tax (considering that it goes to SOCAN, I'm not sure if that is even the right word), iTunes will get the same cut, SOCAN will get 3% or so, and the artist will get the rest - which is less going to the artist than before (assuming that iTunes doesn't up their prices, but if they do, the same holds true because less people will buy, meaning still less for the artists.) By applying this, isn't SOCAN stealing from the artists?! As in *money* stealing. SOCAN is supposed to represent Canadian artists (by collecting radio royalties and so forth). How on earth does this help their members?! Ludricrous.

It would be comparable, I guess, to SOCAN collecting a tax on CD purchases. The whole beauty of internet distribution is getting rid of (or reducing the number of) middlemen. This is destroying every incentive people have to *support the artist*, which seems completely against what the whole point of SOCAN was. So if I make a band and sell my music using paypal, do I have to write cheques giving 3% of my profits to SOCAN? What am I getting from them? How does this help the artists? How does this help the industry? *

Down with middlemen.

* "While no public responses have been made, the Copyright Board report notes that both Apple and the RIAA-equivalent Canadian Recording Industry Association were heavily involved in resisting proposed rates."

So even the CRIA's against it. Who the heck is SOCAN representing?

Re:As ludricrous as it is unethical (1)

Raptoer (984438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059917)

Down with middlemen.
sadly a lot of the world are middlemen, and they don't like being cut out

levy on blank media (1)

11_biznatch_11 (875790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059847)

Didn't SOCAN recently try to get the levy on blank media removed because it legitimized music piracy? Now they want to add this tax? They seem to be directly contradicting themselves.

Re:levy on blank media (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059997)

I don't think so. I believe their stance is that they want both the 'piracy' tax AND to be able to make it a criminal [preferably, but they would settle for civil] offense to upload or download music. So, everyone pays for P2P downloading, but if they decide to target an individual, they can make that person pay even more.

Re:levy on blank media (1)

monkaru (927718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060081)

No, that's not what they are doing at all. The purpose of the levies is to ALLOW personal copying. That means the Copyright Board looks at copyright as a "right to copy". If a levy is placed on on-line music downloads that will mean you can copy the songs and play them in your car without having to worry about the copy being illegal. It wouldn't be. All of this is the result of a court ruling a few years ago which made downloading music from Kaza or bittorrent perfectly legal and the levies are a way of dealing with the reality of a digital age. It's enlightened even. Here is the ruling and a backgrounder: http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/03/31/canada/download_court040331 [www.cbc.ca] http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/internet/downloading_music.html [www.cbc.ca]

Huh?!? (1)

quantaman (517394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059861)

"Canadians may soon pay a small tax on every legal music store download, says a new measure (PDF) sanctioned by the Copyright Board of Canada. Requested by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), the tax would apply at least 2.1 cents to every individual song download and 1.5 cents per track for complete albums."

So... the people who pay for music are paying for the people who don't pay for music?

"The publishing group draws similarities between this and a 21-cent fee already applied to blank CDs in the country; the right to copy a song from an online store demands the same sort of levy applied to copying a retail CD, SOCAN argues."

This is clearly some new definition for the word "similarities", one that apparently means "the same general approach but completely misses the point". The idea of the CD levy is that the pirates who buy blank CDs end up paying money to the artists to compensate for the sales lost to those pirates who buy the blank CDs (not a particularly accurate approach but that's the idea). With this new levy it's the legal purchasers paying for the piracy while the pirates, who don't buy music online, don't pay for anything.

I seriously can't figure out how this is supposed to make sense, say for a moment you do need to charge a little extra on every online sale to compensate for piracy. You know what you do? Raise your prices!!

Does anyone have a clue how this is supposed to be a good idea? The only thing I can possibly think of is that a) the fee will hurt independent sellers more than CRIA aligned sellers (conspiracy), b) it's designed to be absurd to help kill the levy which the CRIA dislikes(conspiracy), or c) the story as reported by MacNN is inaccurate since I've never heard of them and was too lazy to look through the 65 page pdf(conspiracy or stupidity).

I'm anxious to hear any alternate interpretations.

Re:Huh?!? (1)

seanthenerd (678349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060095)

No kidding, eh? I totally agree with you. "Similarities", what? That's what I find so ridiculous about this. The blank CD levy is because when I buy CDs, artists aren't getting paid and I could use the CD for illegal-downloading reasons. When I buy music from iTunes, the artist is getting paid, directly! There's no similarity at all - one, I am buying a potentially "piracy-assisting" tool, the other, I am buying music, just like buying a CD.

Why is that so obvious to us, but not to SOCAN or the copyright board people?

Does anyone have a clue how this is supposed to be a good idea? The only thing I can possibly think of is that a) the fee will hurt independent sellers more than CRIA aligned sellers (conspiracy), b) it's designed to be absurd to help kill the levy which the CRIA dislikes(conspiracy), or c) the story as reported by MacNN is inaccurate since I've never heard of them and was too lazy to look through the 65 page pdf(conspiracy or stupidity).
The story on MacNN seems genuine, at least compared to what I read yesterday [canada.com] ; it seems like the CRIA aren't the bad guys for once (although I'm guessing they also support the CD tax); it sounds to me like SOCAN just wants as much money as it can get its hands on.

I too don't have any clue how this is supposed to be a good idea.

Formula (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059871)

1. Realize that people are pirating digital music, so offer legal downloads for a small fee.
2. Realize that people are still pirating music.
4. Profit!!!!!!

Oh, wait... Retroactive:
3. Tax the legal downloads to make up the money from the pirated downloads.

There, all fixed.

Yeah, this makes sense! (4, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059879)

So you get taxed for not supporting the music industry if you do support the music industry?
And you don't get taxed for not supporting the musics industry if you don't support the music industry?

Yes, this makes perfect sense! Thanks for this proposal.
I wholeheartedly support it. I can now much easier choose my proper action here and whether I should purchase legal music or not.

New tax on air (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059893)

SOCAN should apply for a surcharge on air, since it can be used to sing a tune of one of their composers.

do the numbers add up (1)

fiveyrsfromnow (1177191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059895)

Has anyone checked the math to see if the two cents on every digital download to compensate piracy losses match up with the thousands of dollars the RIAA quotes as lost in its cases?

The Cure (0, Troll)

Quantam (870027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059907)

Clearly Canada is working hard to produce a cure for Americans' general feeling of stupidity/inferiority from having Bush as president.

Nothing to do with compensation... (1)

ToxicBanjo (905105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059933)

...but everything to do with getting every cent they can out of law abiding citizens. I say screw 'em and torrent everything and then send the artists $5 directly.

Seriously, I'm sick of this shit. Everyday it is either a new scheme for squeezing money out of customers or falsely blaming piracy for bad sales of even shittier music. We're supposed to have the power since it's our money so let's exercise it! Stop buying legally and just steal it... they're all convinced that's all we do anyways so "When in Rome..."

At least Radiohead has a fucking clue.

SOCAN sticks it to CRIA (and the RIAA) again (3, Insightful)

metoc (224422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059957)

Although I am no fan of SOCAN, this definitely sticks it to the record companies. As long as these fees are in place, music piracy will remain untested in court. The current theory is that as long as the artists are compensated for illegally obtained music (aka burning a copy for you friends) they are not loosing anything when piracy happens. This reduces the real losses to artists, which is what piracy is all about (can you say someone stole from you if they are paid a mutually agreeable price through SOCAN, which SOCAN oddly decides is fair). CRIA/RIAA will not risk loosing in court and would prefer it stay a legal grey area.

Radiohead (1)

ConcreteJungle (1177207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059973)

Will artists who release music independently for download (like Radiohead's recent album) also be subject to the tax? As an afterthought, at least in this case the money will actually go to the artists

yay for taxes (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060019)

This is exactly why I download everything I listen too. Paying a small tax on blank CDs isn't so bad, because it means i can legally pirate all the music I want to. because of that CD tax, my 8.4GB mp3 collection is perfectly legal. if SOCANs blank CD tax is 21 cents per disk, how is it that I am able to buy 50 blank CDs for $12? does that mean that $10.50 are taxes and a 50 pack of CDs should only cost $1.50? if that is the case, the rest of the world is being grossly rippped off for blank CD prices. another big problem I have with SOCAN: I used to work retail, and I would often play CDs my friend had put out over the store speakers. a SOCAN representative just happend to come in, and warn the manager that playing music without purchacing a liscenece would result in a rather large fine. I replied that my friend's made the music in their home studio, and they are entirely independant. not only that, but the band also paid the SOCAN tax on the CD. But none of that mattered to the SOCAN guys, aparently, you need a SOCAN liscense to play ANY recorded Canadian music, whether they are signed to a major or not. I ignored their request, and luckilly, they never returned.

Tax evasion (2, Insightful)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060023)

I bet the sneaky idea behind this is to bust torrent users for evading this new tax.

More and more ... (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060077)

I'm thinking that, when future generations look back on this period of time, it will be known as "The Age of Unreason". Perhaps, given the number of attorneys involved in the ongoing fall of Western civilization it will be known as the "Shark Ages". Either way, it's really remarkable.

Pure corruption. (3, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060089)

The proposed tax will tax companies like emusic, Amazon etc, and give the money to Sony BMG, Universal etc...

In short, a large cartel is trying to screw over the competition by lobbying politicians to create bad laws. This is pure corruption, and nothing else.

Piracy FTW (1)

themadplasterer (931983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060097)

I am so glad that I have never purchased downloaded music and probably never will, besides I pay my share by way of the blank media levy.

Apparently this retroactive BS came up recently (1)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060099)

Many have moved to work against this BS when it comes up, yet it still comes up again and again. The last one I could find through google:

http://www.ctf.ca/articles/News.asp?article_ID=2350 [www.ctf.ca]
"""
The Joint Committee said that retroactive tax law detrimental to taxpayers is inappropriate for two main reasons: it undermines the rule of law and the confidence that taxpayers have in our self-assessment tax system, and it is perceived as being reflective of a tax system that is neither stable nor predictable and is thus an impediment to foreign and domestic investment in Canada.
"""

But, I gotta say that if I had purchased music online since 1996 and they told me to pay up, I tell them where to go. They can pry that money from my cold dead fucking hands.

Sure thing (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060111)

Artists will see one thin dime of that tax money when monkeys come flying out of my ass. And I don't feel any monkeys down there at the moment.
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