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Music Media Government The Almighty Buck Politics

Proposed Canadian MP3 Player Tax Struck Down 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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Proposed Canadian MP3 Player Tax Struck Down

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  • Good and bad? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hemogoblin ( 982564 ) on Friday January 11, 2008 @06:23PM (#22006424)
    Here's Dr. Michael Geist's take on it: []

    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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmpeax ( 936370 ) on Friday January 11, 2008 @06:25PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by webmaster404 ( 1148909 ) on Friday January 11, 2008 @06:32PM (#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.
    • 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 the
      • by jmpeax ( 936370 )

        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.
        • 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, ba
          • 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.
            • 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.
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
      Ah, but if you've already paid for it, it isn't illegal, now is it?
  • Bad news (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    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 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by webmaster404 ( 1148909 ) on Friday January 11, 2008 @06:46PM (#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".
      • by Ammin ( 1012579 )
        Until the RIAA comes after you for ripping your CDs to MP3s. That's still a technical copyright infringement.
      • by Giltron ( 592095 )
        Unfortunately this is also an option that has been/is being considered.
  • This news item published today in French [] 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 []. It is a very interesting read which includes several pertinent references and statistics (whatever stats are worth). On this page [], 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dr Caleb ( 121505 )
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Luthair ( 847766 )
        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: (Score:2, Funny)

        No, but I would love that everyone with water at home pay $5 a month, so I got unlimited beer.
      • by RobinH ( 124750 )
        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 comp
  • I was kinda hoping it would go through.
    Nothing says "fun conversation around the water cooler" like flimsy moral justification for continued song downloading.

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