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Music Media

Canada to Raise Tariffs on Recordable Media 849

Joel Ironstone writes: "A new Canadian levy will be introduced in 2003 on all recordable media (pdf). The magnitude of these tariffs is staggering: $1.23 for all CD-RW's, $2.27 on all DVD-R's, and get this: $21 for each gigabyte of storage on portable MP3 players. That's an extra 160 dollars for a Nomad." Like in the U.S., this tax is collected and given directly to the record industry, a governmental subsidy for no apparent societal benefit.
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Canada to Raise Tariffs on Recordable Media

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  • by w3woody ( 44457 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @04:43AM (#3147609) Homepage
    You realize there will be a real market in smuggling MP3 players. And will Canada apply this tax to hard disks which could be added later to an MP3 player?
  • by anandsr ( 148302 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @04:43AM (#3147610) Homepage
    Since the government is going to give money to RIAA
    and MPAA then it should be legal to pirate. They
    will be able to make all their money by subsidy.
    • by gregfortune ( 313889 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @04:52AM (#3147641)
      I've got a great idea.

      1. Start a business model that bases making money around a product that can easily be duplicated and shared.
      2. Cry foul when consumers realize they can share the product easily. (Ignoring the possiblity of a utopian society where everyone is honest)
      3. Earn income from your government because you are being cheated.
      4. Move an arm of your business to Canada.
      5. Repeat Steps 1-3 while expanding to as many countries as necessary.

      Ya know, that's a dang nifty idea Wonder if there's any possibility... nah...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well it probably doesn't mean that you can board their vessels, hold them at swordpoint, and forcibly take away their wares and wenches, making them to walk the gangplank in the process. Piracy is such a poor analogy for what is being talked about that we really shouldn't even use that word in this context.

      But this sort of substantial tax could be the beginning of a positive development by making it clear that consumers have the *right* to make copies, share with their friends, and use digital copies of the works of others as they see fit in their own creative endevours. After all, the consumer will already have paid a substantial amount of money earmarked to reward the professional content creators in the first place.

      The real question is whether the citizen will have any direct say in deciding how the pool of media tax revenue will be distributed among various professional content creators. If there is no system of direct voting or the like put into place, it means that they will have to rely on their indirect representation through parliament --- or more likely, their doubly indirect representation through government appointees on the appropriate content councils.
      • Actually it is piracy, the companies are forcing the artists of the gangplanks to make room for more profits in the distribution of the artist's works.
        Courtney Love had a great article on record companies being the pirates [salon.com]
        Consumers already have the right to make copies for backups, show to friends and reference from

        The real question is why should people be taxed to backup their computer on CD or DVD if they already have that right and have paid for the products?
        I want to know why I should have to pay a tax to make a digital copy of my content, why should I pay to record music I bought or video I produced?

        • Courtney Love may have been infringing on Steve Albini's intellectual property rights when she delivered that speech, and Salon is aiding and abetting! I'm kidding of course, and I'm glad that she managed to get this issue some attention and that Salon continues to provide that resource.

          But please-- if you are going to read that minimal treatement of the issue-- consider also the Steve Albini version at Negativland's Intellectual Property Issues [negativland.com] page. That page has many more essays by real artists that have been involved in a great deal of legal wrangling surrounding copyright and have been at it since the early 80's.
    • It already is (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous DWord ( 466154 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @05:06AM (#3147691) Homepage
      Although don't call it pirating (which is a dumb term anyway), since it's not illegal. In Canada, we're allowed to borrow CDs and make copies of them for personal use. That's what the tax^H^H^Hlevy is supposed to offset; unfortunately, if you buy CD-Rs to burn the latest FreeBSD, you're still supporting Celine Dion's retirement fund.
      • by peter greaves ( 462409 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @05:22AM (#3147750) Homepage
        >you're still supporting Celine Dion's retirement fund.

        yeah but at least it means she might retire sooner which would be a good thing.
      • Re:It already is (Score:3, Interesting)

        by thogard ( 43403 )
        What would happen if a bunch of Linux coders from Canada sued the goverment agency asking for their cut?
    • You guys are absolutely insane if you think Celine or any other artist is going to see a cent of this money.
    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @05:55AM (#3147843) Homepage
      Blank videocasette tapes in the US are sold with a portion of sales going to the MPAA for lost revenue due to piracy. This does not mean that pirating videos is legal. This means that stopping the casual piracy of videos is unenforceable, and as such consumers are free to illegaly copy videos, and the companies involved have been justly compensated.

      The sad thing about all of this is that most of the independent labels with bands worth pirating wouldn't see a dime from this outrageously high tax, and I severely doubt that, say, Qbert, DJ Seishi, or Courtney Love will get their fair share. Do artists ever get a cut from the RIAA?

      All that this means is that audio piracy is now a unstoppable institution, and "creators" are being paid by it. It may not be legal, but now it is moral.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Courtney Love, being nothing but an opportunistic sellout, would certainly see her fair share of the proceeds if anyone would.

        Read [arancidamoeba.com] the original essay by Steve Albini that that gold-digging no talent hussy plagarized during the napster fallout.

        She's nothing but a corporate stooge pretending to be a revolutionary.

      • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @09:11AM (#3148239) Homepage Journal
        Blockquoth the poster:

        This means that stopping the casual piracy of videos is unenforceable, and as such consumers are free to illegaly copy videos, and the companies involved have been justly compensated.

        Since everyone has to pay the levy, and not everyone is pirating, the companies might have been compensated but they have not been justly compensated. This whole model is intrinsically unjust.

        Imagine a proposed law that said, since shoplifting is common and unstoppable, all customers at every store will be stopped, background-checked, and strip-searched.

        • Imagine a proposed law that said, since shoplifting is common and unstoppable, all customers at every store will be stopped, background-checked, and strip-searched.
          Yet another sensational, inappropriate analogy on /. Imagine... :-)

          A better anology is that "since shoplifting is common and unstoppable, stores will raise their prices to compensate." Which is exactly what they do today. So it's not unprecedented.

          Now, in the case of stores, it is within their power to control shoplifting, and they have to compete price-wise with other stores, so it's subject to free economy forces and such.

          In the case of this tax (which is ludicruous, in my opinion), it's would be applied across the board by law, and no doubt distributed in unfair and political ways. If they tax data CD's (whatever *that* distinction really means), then it's going to seriously hurt many consumers and businesses who rely upon low cost CD's for distribution, backup, and so forth.

          The level of the tax is also ridiculous, in relation to the cost of a blank CD. If it were 5% or whatever, it wouldn't be such a show stopper, just an annoyance. In Canada, almost every product is subject to a 15% HST tax. And income taxes are over 50% over $50K or so. Adding a 20% tax on top of that for CD's is insane.

          You have to earn something like $4.00 of salary, to be able to afford a $1.00 CD. (Of course, one doesn't have to sell your house if you have a serious prolonged illness with no insurance :-)

    • sorry but no tax on our hard drives... yet
    • by MisterP ( 156738 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @10:10AM (#3148548)
      The difference between Canada and the US is that we (Canadians)don't have draconian copy protection regulations.

      Here's the act:


      And at the bottom:

      http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/info/act-e.html#rid-3377 0

      This is where it describes your "fair use" rights.

      All Canadians should read this. This is what you're paying for when you pay that levy.
  • Like in the U.S., this tax is collected and given directly to the record industry, a governmental subsidy for no apparent societal benefit.
    Heh. You can take the "apparent" out of that.
  • I live in Calgary, and I'm gonna be a stockpilin me some media, hear?

    Seriously.. I wonder if this will make prices jump overnight or what?
  • Dumb question... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by doorbot.com ( 184378 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @04:48AM (#3147626) Journal
    Aren't tariffs for imports only? So isn't this really designed to benefit Canadian CDRW/DVD-R/MP3 player manufacturers? Maybe it's just late and I can't remember my economics properly, but if it affects all goods, then it's a tax, if it's just imports it's a tariff.
    • Neither. If you import the media yourself for personal use, you don't pay the levy. If you buy it in Canada, it's applicable. That's why anybody who buys bulk blanks orders them from the States anyway.
    • Read the PDF. Top of page 6 lists Importers and Manufactures as subject to the tarrif.
    • (Page 6) Persuant to Part VIII of the Copyright Act, every person who, for the purpose of trade, manufactures a blank audio recording medium in Canada, or imports such a medium... It does apply to both imports and locally made goods. And $21/gig is a lot of money. Thats $210 extra on my Treo 10. Thats a 50% increase in cost, which is ludicrous.
  • by citizenc ( 60589 ) <cary AT glidedesign DOT ca> on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @04:48AM (#3147627) Journal
    If you read the .pdf, you will notice that it is a PROPOSED leavy -- it hasn't been implemented yet.

    That doesn't mean that it won't be, though. Canadians: contact your provincial premiere and let them know that the idea of a tarrif on media may be legit, but the prices proposed are simply unacceptable.

    Hell, you elected them -- that's why they're there.
    • by DataSquid ( 33187 ) <DataSquid@datasquid.net> on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @05:06AM (#3147689) Homepage
      Deadline for written comment is May 8, 2002. So get writing! And for the love of God, use paper, much better impact. Remember, you don't need a stamp to mail your MP, so enjoy the free ride :) Look up an address here [parl.gc.ca].
      • Yes, you can write to your Member of Parliament but the PDF also says how you can directly comment to the board. You need to read it to understand how to have the most impact. There are certain arguments that they feel they cannot accept because of the overriding law. I think the weakest point would be the idea that a removable flash memory storage device is an "audio recording device." These things are used as much in digital cameras and PDAs as in MP3 players. Once they start expanding the definition in this way they will eventually get to plain old hard drives eventually.
    • Well, first, since it's entirely legal to trade songs (a guy I know at London Drugs said a police officer was in one day, wanted a CD burner to burn his MP3s; salesmen pretended he didn't hear, but the officer said there was nothing against it), this is really only paying for something you can already do. Go, pirate, have fun. It's legal. Even if it weren't, you're paying for it anyway, so you may as well. I know I do.

      That being said, I do oppose the cost-per-gig levy on MP3 players. They're not used to pirate, they're used to play. May as well levy tape machines and CD burners too.

      Second, if you do oppose it, don't harass your premier. First, unless you're in his constituency, you'd be better off talking to your MLA. Second, this is federal, not provincial, so your MLA will tell you to write your MP.

      Just write your MP in the first place, it'll save you time.

    • *smirk* Like that'll happen. Out here in BC our Premier is already doing countless things that are being objected to across the board.

      Furthermore, if this is Federal, the Premiers have shit-all to do with it. You'd have to mail your Members of Parliament.

      And even furthermore, because currently the Liberal government is running a majority government, any bill that's set forth in front of parliament will basically go through. Why? because Canada's political system is almost as much of a democratic smokescreen as the States.
    • by SomethingOrOther ( 521702 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @08:34AM (#3148133) Homepage

      tarrif on media may be legit

      Oh no it 'aint!
      I use CD's solely to make HD backups and blank casstte tapes solely to record myself playing the gutair!

      Or are we now suddenly all guilty of piracy and have to prove our inocence?

  • The worst part... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Datafage ( 75835 )
    ... is that this will make all the other recording companies that much bolder. Considering how close Canada and the US are physically, socially, and economically, it's not a huge leap to have the companies push for it to extend here for "consistency." This is a damn steep slope.
  • Making it much cheaper to just buy Office for OS X instead of trying to put it on an ipod....

    Ergh. =] At least I didn't meantion that goat site.

  • Public's fault (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @04:52AM (#3147640)
    Its insane. Worst part is that a tax on cigarrettes would be fought vigorously and there would be national debate. But when it comes to this, the general public is ignorant of the issues.

    Government is elected by the people, when laws like this pass and the people dont hold the government accountable, more laws like this will pass. Unfortunately only tech types understand the issues here, so basically everyone's screwed .. unless a major lobbying force and an education campaign happens.

    If Canada wants to compete technologically this is a extremely bad move and it will screw over the economy.
    • Re:Public's fault (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gilroy ( 155262 )
      Blockquoth the poster:

      Worst part is that a tax on cigarrettes would be fought vigorously and there would be national debate

      No, the worst part is, cigarette taxes are use-based (you only pay them if you actually smoke), while these are broad-based (you pay even if you only back up, say, digital photos) -- yet the latter is less controversial than the former.
  • by drsquare ( 530038 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @04:52AM (#3147643)
    What right does the government have to steal people's money in order to fund corporations? There is absolutely NO justifiable reason to tax people in order to benefit private corporations. This is an absolute disgrace. Whoever is responsible for this should be deported.

    The only solution to this is to import everything from the US for a much lower price, and to pirate much more music as revenge. Actually, it wouldn't be piracy, as the music has already been paid for through taxes.
  • by Kopretinka ( 97408 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @04:54AM (#3147648) Homepage
    OK, I'm European. I've spent a year in the States, though. Oh, and I know this is in Canada, which I thought was saner than the USA, but this is obviously the result of MPAA's and RIAA's boldness.

    News like this always make me wonder when there's finally going to be a new revolution in "the land of the free" which would make it that once again.

    But I'm afraid that after 9/11 it'd be very hard to do something seemingly against your own country... Pity.

    I actually do hope the craziness ends someday.

  • http://www.stallman.org/

    I heard him do one of his talks about copyright in London a few weeks ago. I was a sceptic on some of this views, but the extremity of some of them now seems to be matched by the extremity of the legislation we are now seeing around the world (DMCA, the EC thing, and now the Canadians).

    I would recommend we all take his advice and boycott action that infringes the right to share information.

  • The solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jim the Bad ( 192095 )
    The obvious solution is to set up your own record company. Then just sit back and wait for your handouts.
  • charging (Score:2, Insightful)

    how about handhelds (mini handheld HP/compaq computers or whatever you call them) that has mp3 playback functionality? are they going to add tarifs to that too? :(

    or cell phones... but i guess that would be going too far...
  • Simply sell them without drives or flash memory, then have the user buy them on their own.

    Problem solved, for now...

    As it stands though, looks like Canada has just made buying an mp3 player a reason for a trip over the border.
  • by CmdrTaco (editor) ( 564483 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @04:55AM (#3147657)
    Some context is necessary to make this more or less shocking.
    Right now, the tariffs for recordable media are as follows (from http://www.pch.gc.ca/culture/cult_ind/cpb-pdd/arch ives_e.htm):

    Audio Cassette Tape > 40 minutes = $0.29

    CD-R and CD-RW = $0.21

    CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio, and Minidiscs = $0.77

    In 2003, this will nearly double, but the most significant impact is the $/GB:
    CD-R and CD-RW = $1.23

    DVD-R = $2.27

    $/GB storage on MP3 player = $21

    This is completely unfair for independant artists who release their tracks exclusively in MP3- their fans are effectively paying the recording industry to buy independant music.

    • by g00z ( 81380 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @05:58AM (#3147848) Homepage
      First -- MOD THIS PARENT UP

      Holy crap! Excuse me for being a doubting thomas, but can you point to some evidence about the $0.21 tax on CD-R (Data - not audio). If your right about that, I think I might seek out a lawyer and try to sue the RIAA. I'm not kidding at all.

      See, as an indipendent musician, I press my songs to CD-R's that I sell at shows I play, online, and through mail order. Now, I've known about the whole CD-R Audio scam for a while, and that's why I've never purchesed a CD writter that requires one of these taxed CD-R Audio discs. I mean, common! Why should the RIAA, who are by all means my main competitor, get any cut of the money I make off of selling my music? What kind of mafia extortion bullshit is this? But if it's true that regular CD-R's (data) are "taxed" as well, I think the RIAA owes me *ALOT* of money.

      Once again, I'm not kidding. Are you an indie musician too, who is using CD-R's as your sales medium? Sue the RIAA. Talk about an abusive monopoly -- this should be the definition in Websters.

      Come to think of it, this should piss off more than just musicians. How many companies back up server data (or whatever) onto CD-R? Should record labels get a cut of the money you spend on CD-R's, even though it's used for data?

      So, anybody got any links/etc to back up this claim? I think it's time to try to rape the RIAA for some money for a change. Turn the tables, so to speak.
  • the piracy tax (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wildcard023 ( 184139 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @04:57AM (#3147661) Homepage
    This is rediculous. The only reason that these companies get away with this is that there's some kickback somewhere. I gaurentee that if someone were to dig deep enough, they'd find a lot of this "tax" in the pockets of some officials.

    In 'free' countries, taxes are supposed to be levied for the benefit of the people. The money collected should be put back into a social program of some kind. Canada is supposed to be a socialist government, but it seems that they're trying to more and more make the same mistakes as the US without taking any of the virtues. I don't know about the rest of the country, but BC is becoming about as democratic as the old USSR. If the Campbell administration doesn't like the way a arbitration turned out (doctors) or that a labor union is striking (the teachers) they just legislate the problem away. The doctors aren't even allowed to sue the government over the issue under the bill that was passed.

    The recordable media issue is just more of the same. We're losing our freedoms, not to the big scary governments, but to the corperations; to people we can't vote out of office and can't effect in any way. They obviously have 'representatives' at their beck and call (DMCA) to make whatever laws that they feel benefit their profit margins (SSSCA). Government is supposed to be representing the best interests of the people of the country, but it seems here to be representing the best interests of the corperations.

    The Canadian government, like it's Big Brother to the south, has traded consumer piracy for corporate larceny.

    Mike Nugent
  • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @04:59AM (#3147667)
    Tell them there is a diffrence between a music CDR and a data CDR. See if you can keep the RIAA out of your computer backup media. Music CDR's are already covered for music use.
  • Not a MP3 player (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Peer ( 137534 ) <rene&notfound,nl> on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @05:00AM (#3147669) Homepage
    I think Apple can sell their iPod as a firewire hard-disk, if they change the software.

    So the question is: will all devices that CAN be used as a MP3-player be taxed (Pocket-PC devices etc.)?

    How about a MP3-player that comes with no memory of it's own.

  • Isn't this one of the measures proposed to pay for the alleged loss of income of the recording industry? Proposed by people like us, who (generally) oppose laws that try to stop illegal copying but restrict fair use as well, as a substitute to those laws?

    Off course, the ammount is way to high and it is hard to determine what should be taxed and what should not be taxed.

    This could be used to tell the music industry to stop whining, since they get something for their effortd. Which is what happend with audio cassette earlier. ?It worked then, why not now?

  • One intersting thing is that it specifically states that only Owners of copyrighted MUSIC can share a portion of the tarrifs... and specifically excludes "Computer Software Programs"....

    Now correct me if I'm wrong.. Doesn't the Software industry claim to lose even more billions of dollars a year in piracy revenue(potential or not) then the music industry does?

    Now why would the software industry not lobby for a levy like this?

    1. Perhaps they know there would be a large backlash against their industry?
    2. They know the whole concept is just free cash for the music producers?(granted its canadian play money but hey ya know...)
    3. OR IS IT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY specifially wanted them excluded from the deal so they don't have to share there free cut of the cash cow.

    things that make ya go hmmmmmmmm..............eh?

    • Not only that, but it's just the Canadian music industry that gets the profits. Nothing against Bryan Adams, but who do you think sells more albums, him or N'Sync? Who do you think gets copied more, him or Britney Spears? So not only does he get a cut if I copy Slackware, he gets some cash every time I copy American/English/Swedish/Zimbabwean/Japanese music. Laughing all the way to the bank.
      • Not only that, but it's just the Canadian music industry that gets the profits. Nothing against Bryan Adams, but who do you think sells more albums, him or N'Sync? Who do you think gets copied more, him or Britney Spears? So not only does he get a cut if I copy Slackware, he gets some cash every time I copy American/English/Swedish/Zimbabwean/Japanese music. Laughing all the way to the bank.

        Somehow I doubt that Bryan Adams, or for that matter any artist, will ever see a single red cent of the money collected from these taxes. Its the record labels that get the money, and its the record labels that will keep the money.

        • Somehow I doubt that Bryan Adams, or for that matter any artist, will ever see a single red cent of the money collected from these taxes. Its the record labels that get the money, and its the record labels that will keep the money.

          Hehehe... you mean you don't trust the record labels to distribute this new source of income derived from the work of artists back to the actual artists!!! shame on you! ;)
    • Perhaps every canadian should start his or her own music label and thereby lay a claim to the tax..!! it could be a new kind of social welfare.. nifty thought at least..

  • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @05:04AM (#3147679)
    Be sure to point out the fact it only is for blank audio media when buying blank DATA CDR's. The tarrif is only for the blank MUSIC media. (read the PDF.) Print out the PDF and take it to your local retailer who doesn't know the diffrence between a data and audio blank CDR.
    • Not true !

      There's a 59c levy on CR-R/CD-RW with 100MB or more storage capacity and a levy of $1.23 on CDR audio and CDRW audio or minidisc. So no matter what you use it for .. you pay the levy !

    • On the bottom of Page 6 of the PDF lists a lower levy on regular CDR's of 59 cents each! Ouch! Audio CDR's have a higher levy of $1.23. This definetly crosses the line from sanity to insanity.. It reaches too far and taxes all your office backups, e-mail archives, digital camera photos, removable microdrives for your PDA, etc. This needs to be fought tooth and nail. Defend your backup media. The RIAA is not entitled to a tax on my photo backups.
  • The ammount of possible brain-capacity I have to store MP3s will have me taxed to death!


    Better get that lobotomy now!
  • But I won't believe a word any of those corporations that cry about "piracy" say about it until their "losses" from "piracy" appear on the balance sheet in their quarterly statements that are handed to their stockholders and projections of the effects of "piracy" are given to stock market analysts along with the rest of the projections that they make.

    Until then, I'm going to consider any claim any of these idiots make with respect to "piracy" as complete and utter bullshit.

  • And I thought I was predicting usury when I wrote this little ditty [vwh.net] a while back.

    $21/Gig? I would never have believed anyone could seriously propose such a figure. Even if it is Canadian Dollars, it's still outrageous.


  • And... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Iamthefallen ( 523816 ) <Gmail name: Iamthefallen> on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @05:11AM (#3147710) Homepage Journal

    In other news, goverments world wide have added a tax for pen and paper and any copying techniques which will effectively raise prices by 800%. Mr. John Doeyes from GreedyBastardsPublishing was quoted saying: "This is very important for the entire books industry, after years of studying we found that people were actually copying selected sections of books! Furthermore we found that students and proffesionals were taking a lot of notes based on our material, this illegal activity must seize for the good of the nation and democracy. Copying books or exerpts is aiding communism and terrorism by blocking the freedom of fair trade.

    Another proposed bill states that any books bought for multiuse purposes (meaning to be read to others) will see a price increase of 250%. Mr Doeyes again explains: We found that a large amount of parents actually read books out loud for their children, thus violating the single use license of the book. When someone reads the book out loud, 3 things happen, 1 person is reading it which is ok, then they relay the contents by voice, and another person listens, this is unacceptable because the industry loses the income it could've gotten from selling audio versions of the books. Not to mention infringing on the voice artists work by making a very poor copy of their effort, this is sheer terrorism at work! But after careful consideration we decided to only raise prices by 250% instead of 300%, this means that parents instead of buying a book license for themself, one audio license and one listeners license, they can get all 3 bundled at a lower cost, thus benefitting all.

    When asked if this isn't just excuses and heavy lobbying from the book industry to increase their revenues at consumers expense Mr. Doeyes giggled like a schoolgirl and laughed all the way to the bank.

    Or not, strange how different media have different rules ain't it?

    • Or not, strange how different media have different rules ain't it?

      Hehe, no. When a similar tax was proposed in Norway, it was delayed because EU wanted a uniform policy on all media....

    • Don't laugh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jeti ( 105266 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @07:33AM (#3148013) Homepage
      I don't know if you're aware of this, but you quoted
      the license terms for Adobe ebooks quite precisely:

      No printing is permitted on this book.
      This book cannot be given to someone else.
      This book cannot be read aloud.

      These are actual terms in the license for the ebook version
      of 'Alice in Wonderland'. This is even more strange because
      the original text is by now in the public domain.
      You can get a free, legal copy at Project Gutenberg [promo.net].
      It has even been suggested that the text of the ebook version was
      actually taken from the Gutenberg archives.

      Here's an article [thestandard.com] that a quick search retrieved.

  • (a) a recording medium, regardless of its material form, onto which a sound recording may be reproduced, that is of a kind ordinarily used by individual consumers for that purpose and on which no sounds have ever been fixed, including

    All one needs to do is to sell re-writables with pre-recorded free music from struggling artists?

    I'll gladly pay a levy on that if the money actually goes to the struggling artists...

  • Same old story (Score:2, Informative)

    by heinzkeinz ( 18262 )
    First, this is a levy, not a tariff. This new charge will be applied to all recordable media sold in Canada, not those imported into the country.

    Second, the government has been trying to get this off the ground since 1999. (Many of you will remember the first time this story came around). However, I can still buy a 50-pack of 80-min CD-Rs for $35 CAD in Toronto. Public and political opposition to this move prevented it from being enacted back then; it can again this time. The story got a lot of press in Canada at the time and the Globe and Mail ran several high-profile editorials attacking the proposed levies. Remember: this levy is only a proposal, and the Copyright Board of Canada will be holding public hearings into the matter. It's a simple matter to type up a letter to your MP, and as many of them have so little to do that they are bored silly, they are likely to give your letter some attention, especially if it is halfway-intelligent.

    This proposal is so basically flawed that it really stands little chance of ever being enacted and will likely fall to the wayside as it did in 1999. It is unlikely that this idea could withstand a court challenge. Moreover, were this levy actually imposed, there would be a big boom in business for American online computer shops. I'm pretty sure that Canada Customs has better things to do than to levy a $5 charge on your $30 CD-R purchase.

    You can see the Copyright Board's original proposal from Dec. 2000 here [cb-cda.gc.ca].
  • ...so that's about $0.06US
  • I have hundreds of CD's stuffed with various software (I'm developer of it as well), ISP accounting data (just in order to have whole history). CD-R's and CD-RW's is really affordable media for data you don't use often, but you have to keep.


    • How will recording industry pay to free software developers?
    • How will recording industry pay to those, who keep their backups, accounting data, and similiar stuff, which has no relations to music?
    • How will recording industry pay to independant artists?
    • Why not charging floppy disks, mini discs, zip's etc? They're recordable as well, and can hold files, documents and of course mp3's :)

    I can't find the answer. I hope Canadian government does. BTW, notebooks are also quite good mp3 players, and they've got HUGE hard drives. As well I can mention mp3 workstations or... mp3 servers with terabyte raid arrays.

  • Confused (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cannonfodda ( 557893 )
    I have a pencil and a bit of paper, and I was thinking about writing some music down.

    Do I owe someone money ???
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is deeply depressing....

    1). I will not be able to back a backup of my personal data without paying the 'MPAA' tax.
    2). I will not be able to create and distribute software (propriatory or Free) without pay the 'MPAA' tax.
    3). I will not be able to create my own music without paying the 'MPAA' tax.

    Surely the law makers must realise that this proposed tax is wrong, even if the MPAA is telling them that they are losing 'so much' money.

    We (and I mean EVERY Canadian who reads this) should write and express our concerns about this.

    The email address is:

    Simon Wood.
  • Unfortunately the PDF document hasn't made it to Google's cache yet, so you can't get a text-only version of it that way.

    Instead, go to Adobe's PDF conversion page [adobe.com], paste

    http:// @www.cb-cda.gc.ca/tariffs/proposed/c09032002-b.pdf [cb-cda.gc.ca]

    in the URL box, check "Reflow paragraphs", and click the big "get it" button. It intersperses English paragraphs with French, so isn't exactly easy reading...

    Sorry about the lame-looking " @" business... it's the only way to keep Slashdot from putting a space in the URL towards the end and breaking the link. It works, but for the wary, the actual link doesn't contain the " @".

  • In the story, it is mentioned that the levy (on CD-RW was going up to $1.23 (about US$0.80) each. This is wrong. The levy will be "59 cents for each CD-R, CD-RW or each unit of any other type of recordable or rewritable compact disk of 100 megabytes or more of storage capacity". This will be an increase from the current 21 cents a pop levied on such media.

    The $1.23 is for CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio or MiniDisc. If you bought one of those Philips audio cd copying boxes, which only use the high priced CD-R Audio, you pay that levy.

    When the levy was first introduced a few years back, the lower levy for CD-R over CD-R Audio was intended to reflect the fact that CD-R's can be used for other purposes than making audio CDs. The Statement of Proposed Levies in the Canada Gazette specifically states not to bother protesting against the levy based upon provable end-uses "other than reproducing musical works". It also disallows refunds of the levy and denys exemption for such non-musical ends.

    On the flip side, this levy means that we can copy audio CDs with impunity in Canada.
  • No way..! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Chicane-UK ( 455253 )
    Wow.. I cant actually believe they are going to start taxing customers for recording media.. how long before other countries follow suit? I know that, living in the UK, they tax EVERYTHING you do - I dont see why recordable media will be any different.

    I can't believe that they are gonna tax you per GB on portable MP3 players though.. I am genuinely stunned. Though seeing as some of the coolest ones use laptop harddrives, why not sell the MP3 players as 'bare bones' and then make you go buy the laptop drive seperately :)

    What a stupid stupid tax..
  • 400% tax? (Score:3, Informative)

    by qseep ( 14218 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @05:47AM (#3147825)
    Observe: an 40GB 2.5" HDD costs about $215 CDN

    Ratio: approx. $5/GB (3.5" HDDs are approaching $1/GB, but let's assume they don't use these in MP3 players)

    They are levying a $21/GB charge on MP3 players with HDDs - so for a 40GB this is $840

    So the tax is about 400% of the cost of the HDD! Even if you assume the base player w/o HDD costs $200, you would still be paying 200% tax on the entire device, making it triple what it would cost without the tax.
  • by Bamafan77 ( 565893 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @05:49AM (#3147829)
    "Like in the U.S., this tax is collected and given directly to the record industry, a governmental subsidy for no apparent societal benefit."
    How is this different from say, they way the US is taxing steel imports and farm product imports or the way Japan taxes automotive and electronic imports? Often, these taxes are used to subsidize the aforementioned industries too (especially, the farm industry).

    I think this particular (potential) tax/subsidy strikes a nerve merely because it is something that falls within the collective radars of people who post here, NOT because it's something drastically different from things government has done in the past. The "societal benefit" is that it's protecting jobs of the people who work in that industry in that country.
  • by ptbrown ( 79745 )
    Okay, someone tell me again what the **** was the point of NAFTA?

    "Free" as in beer.
    "Free" as in speech.
    "Free" as in anal rape?
  • It just doesn't say how they decide who gets the money. Is it based on how much money you are getting from other sources? If so, if a band only releases its music for free on the Internet, do they get no money at all even if they are more widely played? The end users need to be given control over who gets their money (see www.namesys.com/open_products.html)

    Hans Reiser
  • We get a big benefit for the US version of this tax:

    No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings. 17 USC 1008.

  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @08:15AM (#3148099) Journal
    I live in Delaware. Some little pissant state wedged between many others. We have a hard time raising taxes on stuff because it's well known that people will just go over the border and buy it, which hurts businesses in the state. They cry foul, never passed.

    The Canadian government should remember that most of the country lives within a shopping day-trip of the U.S. Not only will Canadian businesses lose money to those making casual purchases over the line, the Candian government will lose tax revenue via lost VAT (or whatever you call it). People will buy their mp3 players in the U.S., take it out of the box, chuck the box, strap it to them, drive back across the border. Maybe Canadians should discuss this concern with their elected officials.

    It kind of makes you wonder about Canadian sanity. To the south we have Bush passing an import tax on foreign steel to protect a dying U.S. industry. To the north, we have Canadians passing a tax that will only affect Candians and will benefit an industry making loads of money already.

  • by eldurbarn ( 111734 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @10:45AM (#3148782)
    This tarrif is only proposed on media that has never had sound affixed to. For the re-recordable media (such as CD-RW, flash memory, etc.) the solution would be simple: affix sound. Any sound. A simple "beep" will do.

    If the thing already has sound on it when it crosses the border into Canada, no tarrif can be levied. The user may then choose to keep or erase the "beep" that came with it.

    (Standard IANAL disclaimer applies)
    • If the thing already has sound on it when it crosses the border into Canada, no tarrif can be levied.
      The user may then choose to keep or erase the "beep" that came with it.

      Plus, if it's a Canadian "beep" then you should get a slice of the levy money when it's distributed to the "rights owners".
  • by alexjohns ( 53323 ) <almuric@nOSpam.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @10:50AM (#3148819) Journal
    $21 per gigabyte of storage on mp3 players? Well, you can buy a roopaq [genica.com] without a hard disk, then buy the hard disk separately. Hard for Fujitsu or IBM to know you're going to be putting it in an MP3 player. I would imagine if something similar passes in the US, it won't be long before most MP3 players come without built-in storage. You'll just buy flash cards or hard disks separately.

    There's always a way around the draconian measures these idiots come up with. I'm already a criminal, (speeding, jaywalking, ripping tags off mattresses, driving after having a beer with dinner, taping NFL broadcasts without express written permission, etc.) what's one more illegal act?

  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @11:43AM (#3149161) Homepage
    For land's sake, please respond to the request for comments! Doesn't matter if you're a Canuck or not: while they won't actually use a foreign comment, it will surely make an impression on them.

    Comments should be emailed to majeau.claude@cb-cda.gc.ca

    Please be polite but strong. Make it clear to them that this levy harms you, and is going to harm artists.

    The most important bit of the proposal follows. Note that it doesn't matter that most of these media are used for data archival: everyone still gets punished because someone might copy a Canadian artist.

    "3. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the levy shall be
    (a) 60 for each audio cassette of 40 minutes or more in length;
    (b) 59 for each CD-R, CD-RW or each unit of any other type of recordable or rewritable compact disc of 100 megabytes or more of storage capacity;
    (c) $1.23 for each CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio or MiniDisc;
    (d) 0.8 for each megabyte of memory in each removable electronic memory card, each removable flash memory storage medium of any type, or each removable micro-hard drive;
    (e) $2.27 for each DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM or each unit of any other type of recordable or rewritable DVD;
    (f) 2.1 for each megabyte of memory in each non-removable electronic memory card or each non-removable flash memory storage medium of any type incorporated into each MP3 player or into each similar device with internal electronic or flash memory that is intended for use primarily to record and play music;
    (g) $21 for each gigabyte of memory in each non-removable hard drive incorporated into each MP3 player or into each similar device with an internal hard drive that is intended for use primarily to record and play music. "
  • Boston Tea Party (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chuckw ( 15728 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @01:47PM (#3150328) Homepage Journal
    Yo folks, haven't you heard of the Boston Tea Party? Colonists protested unjust taxation on Tea imports by breaking into a tea shipment and throwing it into the ocean. Perhaps it's time to repeat this bit of history...
  • by locust ( 6639 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @07:28PM (#3153161)
    News flash: A new bill is making its way through the sentate. Proposed by the senator from Disney, the Unlawful Music Memorization Protection Act (UMMPA) would protect the recording industry from violations of copyright by people who know all the words to any given song, or can hum it. Extra penalties are to proposed for people who can sing. The new law would levey a charge of 10$US per word for each word of a song that a person can remeber. Harsher penalties would be incurred for humming the tune. Under the new law people would be required to report to thier local music stores on the first of next year to be examined for song lyrics they can remeber and melodies they know. The bill would also transfer the copyright for any existing or newly created piece music to the MPAA, to be held in trust on behalf of the artists.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.