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Proposed Canadian MP3 Player Tax Struck Down

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the guilty-until-proven-innocent-tax dept.

Music 36

Sgs-Cruz writes "The Globe and Mail reports that the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal has struck down the Canadian Copyright Board's proposed tax on the capacity of digital music players such as the iPod. The article also makes clear why this won't lead to an end to the levy on blank media such as CD-R in Canada."

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36 comments

Prices (2, Interesting)

The Lone Man (1017800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22006100)

As a resident of Canada, I am ecstatic about this news.

The price of electronics is already much higher than in the States; this law would have merely exacerbated the issue and forced more Canadians to take a border run for their iPod fix.

Re:Prices (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22006408)

woohoo! Now I can use that extra cash to buy a nice butt plug :-)

Staty cool,
Ronald

Hooray (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22006270)

Now even more niggers can afford their monkey-music boomboxes!

Re:Hooray (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027404)

You must really have a huge inferiority complex since you keep shouting bad stuff about black people all the time. Did black bullies kick your little ass in school? Did a black guy take the virginity of your childhood crush?
Btw, in the future, it would be much appreciated if you log in when spouting senseless dribble, as I can then filter out your account.

Also struck down in Canada: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22006384)

i can say niggers?

Good and bad? (5, Insightful)

Hemogoblin (982564) | more than 6 years ago | (#22006424)

Here's Dr. Michael Geist's take on it:
http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2552/125/ [michaelgeist.ca]

While this kills the application of the private copying levy to iPods (subject to a possible appeal by the CPCC), it also means that Canadians who copy music from their CDs to their iPods are not covered by the exception and thus arguably infringe copyright. The issue therefore moves from the Federal Court of Appeal to Industry Minister Jim Prentice who must decide whether he will amend the law by creating a clear, uncompensated exception to format shift (as the United Kingdom has just proposed) or leave millions of Canadians in legal limbo.

Wow (4, Insightful)

jmpeax (936370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22006454)

Wouldn't taxing people for copyright violations they may commit be the best way to show them the door to illegal copying?

Never mind the fact that the taxes would apply to technology copyright holders rely on to push their content, notably digital audio players such as the iPod.

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22006576)

Well, wouldn't suing single mothers for over $100,000 for like 10 songs counterproductive? Or how about DRM to make music fans have to pay several times to use the same song on different devices counterproductive? Or what about saying that ripping a CD onto a digital audio player should be illegal? Isn't that counterproductive? Or what about installing a rootkit onto thousands of computers to enforce DRM, isn't that counterproductive? And what about forcing people to "piracy" with "region protection" and DRM to get the media onto their devices? Face it, the media companies don't think logically. They only care about the money, they are willing to sacrifice the customer, their reputation and even the artists just to make a buck.

Re:Wow (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22007938)

Wouldn't taxing people for copyright violations they may commit be the best way to show them the door to illegal copying?

Canadians are not committing copyright violations when they make copies for personal use. That's what the private copying right (part VIII of the act) is about. Those are legal copies they're making.

The problem is giving appropriate compensation to the copyright holders for these free copies. The act imposes the levy to pay for it, but lots of people don't use levied media to store their songs: they save them to hard drive and iPod, not CDR or tape.

It's very likely the levy will go away soon, but I'd guess the private copying right will disappear at the same time.

I think the levy is a good solution. I don't want to have to go through some DRM'd online store to get music, I'd like to just download it. Why shouldn't I do that, if the copyright owners are being compensated properly?

Re:Wow (1)

jmpeax (936370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22008234)

Why shouldn't I do that, if the copyright owners are being compensated properly?
Because it's not just users of their music who are compensating them, but anyone with a hard drive, iPod, CDR or tape, whether they store music or not. This means that people unaffected by this legal benefit of the tax have to pay it anyway.

Re:Wow (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22009404)

Everybody has the private copying right, whether they choose to make use of it or not. Freedom is a benefit.

By the way, it is unlikely to be applied to generic hard drives, just as it doesn't apply to recordable DVDs: the levy is only placed on media where the main use is to hold music. Currently that's audio cassettes if they are 40 minutes or longer, CD-R, CD-RW (and the Audio versions of those), minidiscs. There was a proposal to extend it to the media in music players; that's what was overturned, basically on a technicality because of the wording of the Act.

Re:Wow (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22009808)

Yes, but it still applies to CDRs. When was the last time you burned Music in CD-Audio Format to a CD? I think I did it recently, but most of the CDs I burn are for computer data. The funny thing is that I've switched to buying only DVDs, and using those, even when I'm only storing 200 MB, simply because they are cheaper than the CDRs due to the fact that they don't have the levy.

Re:Wow (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22013024)

Two points:

1. Yes, CDRs are becoming obsolete as the medium for storing music. That's why the levy should have been applied to MP3 players.

2. Why is using DVD-R's for backups funny? That just seems rational. The levy is supposed to apply to media that are mainly used for music. That's still true about CDRs, but has never been true about DVDs.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22020118)

It's funny because he uses a dvd to store files that would not even fill a third of a cd because the levy makes the lower volume media cost more than the higher volume media. It's like paying more for a happy meal than a steak dinner or a bus instead of a limo. Is that so hard for you to understand?

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22019936)

Everybody has the private copying right, whether they choose to make use of it or not. Freedom is a benefit.
Freedom is not a benefit. Freedom is a right. The levy is not a right. The levy is a privilege granted to the music labels to reward them for clinging to an obsolete business model and not adapting to change. Those of us who choose not to make use of the privilege should not have to pay for it. Exercising the private copying right without paying the levy does not harm artists. If you already legally acquired the works you are privately backing up, the artists were already compensated to whatever extent the labels compensate the artist for the right of first sale. If you are making copies and giving them to your friends or accepting copies from your friends, you are not making private copies, you are breaking the law regardless of whether or not the levy exists.

the levy is only placed on media where the main use is to hold music.
That is blatantly false. The levy is also charged for media that is used primarly for backup and distribution of data and other non-music content. Like Linux for example. Every time I burn an ISO, I have to pay the levy with no benefit to the producers of the content in the ISO.

Re:Wow (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22020442)

I wrote: the levy is only placed on media where the main use is to hold music.

Some AC wrote: That is blatantly false. The levy is also charged for media that is used primarly for backup and distribution of data and other non-music content. Like Linux for example. Every time I burn an ISO, I have to pay the levy with no benefit to the producers of the content in the ISO.

I wasn't talking about your personal use, I was talking about the overall use by everyone, in the view of the Copyright Board. Read the Copyright Act, paragraph 79.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22019764)

I think the levy is a good solution.
The levy is not a good solution. It's money for nothing. The government itself uses CD-R for storing data. DATA! Tax records, CPP records, EI records. Most people use CDs for that, not for music. All of us are paying multiple times privately, through taxes for government use of CDs, and through consumer goods and services for suppliers' uses of CDs for a music levy on media that is hardly ever used for music.

I'd like to just download it.
If by "just download" you mean without purchasing, that is not covered by the levy. You yourself call it a private copy right. The levy covers making private backups of songs you already own, not songs you just download without compensating the copyright holder (which BTW is usually not the artist - the artist gets no benefit from the levy). If you want to download songs, pay for them, don't make me pay for your free downloads through a levy on my data backup media.

Re:Wow (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22020062)

If by "just download" you mean without purchasing, that is not covered by the levy.

You should read the Copyright Act. That's not what it says.

Bad news (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22006538)

The law effectively legalized file sharing and its been shot down so the fights will go on. I like the idea of paying 50$ extra for an mp3 player and getting free music to fill it.

Also its impossible to argue that mp3 players are used legally.

I have an iPod 80gig. From iTunes if i bought music there it would cost over 10,000$ to fill it easily. I seriously doubt anyone is willing to pony up that kind of cash for an mp3 player.

Re:Bad news (3, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22006844)

There are ways to get legal songs. First off there are CDs which anyone who has lived within the last 10 years probably has enough CDs to cover quite a few GB of songs. Secondly, there are songs that are free (legal) to download under CC and the like licenses. Also, there are other ways to fill up storage other than just songs, photos and videos are also there. Its as much as an argument to say "we should tax 1 TB hard drives because you can't fill up 1 TB with legal media".

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22007336)

The average cd holds 12 songs... you'd need about 1100 CDs to fill up an iPod which would take lets say 120hours to rip to mp3 + about 30hours for ones made recently that have copy protection on them. Also it would have cost you 15,400$ to build that collection in the 1st place.
I'm not saying its impossible just very infeasible.

Also i can't speak to CC songs though I think it would be equally difficult to find thousands of good CC songs worth collecting. 100s easy but past 5000 i think you'd be scraping the bottom of the barrel. Correct me if i'm wrong.

As for the TB drives a significant percentage are used for legal servers. For mp3 players a very small fraction (under 1%) of users have only riaa/mpaa approved track on them.

Re:Bad news (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22009914)

But when it is Canada without(?) A DMCA (I am not Canadian nor do I study Canadian law so I don't know) but you can then rip DVDs to iPod video and put them on there legally and when a DVD is 3-4 gigs, that can fill 80 gigs very fast. Sure it isn't RIAA/MPAA approved but in Canada it doesn't matter as much as in the US, (Canada actually seems to know not to punish customers)

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22019434)

Actually compressed so you can view the dvd drops it to .5G per 90min movie. so thats still 160dvds which take atleast 30mins to rip and then recompress/transfer each (80hrs+). But thats more of an arguement against using the ipod as a video player. Not to mention ripping dvds is illegal anyways which defeats the whole argument lol...

Re:Bad news (1)

Ammin (1012579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22008912)

Until the RIAA comes after you for ripping your CDs to MP3s. That's still a technical copyright infringement.

The Canadian Songwriters Ass.'s proposal (3, Informative)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22006654)

This news item published today in French [radio-canada.ca] on the national news network made me aware of the Songswriters Association of Canada's proposal of 5$/month/Internet user for unlimited legal download of any music on any media [songwriters.ca]. It is a very interesting read which includes several pertinent references and statistics (whatever stats are worth). On this page [songwriters.ca], you'll find support for the proposal from the Canadian Music Creators Coalition. It's nice to see pressure on the CRIA coming from many fronts. I don't know the SAC's importance in the industry, but since it made the national news, maybe it's not completely irrelevant.

Re:The Canadian Songwriters Ass.'s proposal (2, Interesting)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22006946)

Not to sound harsh, but in my Canada songwriters get paid to write songs, not because I have an internet connection. Breweries don't get paid because I have water to my home. (and I might use it to brew beer)

Re:The Canadian Songwriters Ass.'s proposal (2, Interesting)

Luthair (847766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22008278)

Thats not really a good analogy. The real question is where does it end? Would we need another 5$ each for Books, Movies, Encyclopedias, Software, etc. Before you know it we're paying $100 a month for Internet access.

Re:The Canadian Songwriters Ass.'s proposal (2, Funny)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22009514)

No, but I would love that everyone with water at home pay $5 a month, so I got unlimited beer.

Re:The Canadian Songwriters Ass.'s proposal (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 6 years ago | (#22020954)

Not to sound harsh, but in my Canada songwriters get paid to write songs, not because I have an internet connection. Breweries don't get paid because I have water to my home. (and I might use it to brew beer)

I don't get the analogy between songwriting and beer brewing. With brewing you can make something tangible that can only be used by one person at a time, and thus you can sell it. However, a songwriter can create a song once that can be enjoyed by everyone.

The difficulty is in figuring out how to compensate a writer based on the utility that the song creates. A songwriter who writes songs that nobody likes or listens to should get nothing, but a writer who writes a song that millions of people enjoy is doing something valuable for those people. I can think of a few different schemes that we could try:

- Everyone contributes money to a central account proportional to the amount of music they listen to, and artists/writers, etc. get reimbursed proportionally to how much their work is being listened to. The problem I have with this is privacy and the dangers of having a centralized system. Practically it could work (think of a music club where playing a song is a fraction of a cent and you have access to any song you want to hear next). Personally, this is where I'd like to see the industry move, with appropriate privacy safeguards.

- Artists are free to license their work in whatever form they want (one time use, x number of uses, lifetime usage by one person, lifetime per household, etc.). Ideally there would be just a few standard licenses to make it simple. This fixes the privacy problem, but makes it completely impractical since it becomes worthwhile to make illegal copies of songs. This is close to what we have now.

- The totally immoral Canadian gov't idea is to charge you money based on the blank media you purchase, ignoring the fact that non-music data can and does get stored to that media, and it's a bad correlation to who is actually listening to more illegally copied music.

Re:The Canadian Songwriters Ass.'s proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22007534)

That's last week's news. And it's a ridiculous proposal. Government shouldn't be in the business of music sales and royalty distribution, not even if it's just as the middle man and passing it on to a group like SAC or CRIA who will then distribute the money how? And to whom? The business model is changing and its up to businesses to sort out how to compete in this new environment. Levies are hardly fair, nor do they compensate artists fairly.

Darn... (1)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22007482)

I was kinda hoping it would go through.
Nothing says "fun conversation around the water cooler" like flimsy moral justification for continued song downloading.

Government just isn't doing its job without a tax. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22022886)

Canada's time may have finally arrived. Read my lips! No new taxes!
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