Canadian Law

Changes in Retail Sales Taxes in BC and PEI

Effective today, residents of Prince Edward Island will be subject to a Harmonized Sales Tax of 14% on most services and products whilst British Columbia Residents will be subject to a Goods and Services Tax of 5%, which will be replacing the Harmonized Sales Tax of 12% in BC.

In British Columbia there will be a decrease in taxes on books (audio, electronic, bound and printed), basic cable services, concert tickets, music lessons and movie tickets but a combined tax of 12% (5% GST + 7% PST) will remain on most products and services. Individually purchased magazines will be subject to less taxes in this province.

In Prince Edward Island there will be decreases in retail sales taxes on CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, MP3 players, DVD and Blu-Ray players, radios, stereos, televisions, movie tickets, basic cable subscriptions and individual magazine purchases. Audio Books and Books will still be subject to the GST at 5% in this province whilst music lessons will be exempt.

For additional information please consult the following documents :

chapters.indigo.ca

Bill C-30 Killed – Replacement On The Way

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has stated that Bill C-30 will not proceed in Parliament in response to the concerns brought up by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and members of the public.

This bill would have enabled police to access internet traffic without a warrant and would have required the installation and maintenance of extra equipment by internet providers, who would have passed the associated expenditures down to the consumer.

Canadians would not only have lost rights in regards to privacy but could have also been subjected to security breaches via the new aforementioned online spying equipment had this bill gone through.

A new bill will be unveiled shortly in Parliament so additional information will be posted to this blog a.s.a.p.

Keep Those Receipts !

A new virus has been detected by Seculert on point of sale terminals in the United States, Britain and Canada.

“Dexter” forwards information from debit and credit cards directly to fraudsters who can duplicate cards.

Seculert estimates that hundreds of terminals have been infected, in 40 nations, so it’s best to keep an eye out for odd transactions on your bank statements and credit card bills.

You should also consider enabling email and/or mobile alerts on your accounts, as an extra security measure.

Teksavvy Issues Statement

Teksavvy has stated in a recent blog entry that they have received a request for information in regards to 2000 IP addresses.

According to this blog entry, Voltage Pictures LLC intends to file a lawsuit on December 17th, 2012 in order to gain this information from the Chatham, Ontario based internet provider. And many members of the media have speculated that this is related to the illegal downloading of “The Hurt Locker“, an 2008 action film featuring Jeremy Renner and Guy Pearce.

The company claims that it intends to fight for their customer’s privacy. Click here to access the legal documents on this case.

File Sharing Lawsuits In Canada ?

British Columbia based NGN Prima Production will soon be sending notices to individual Canadians who have illegally downloaded a film entitled “Recoil“.

This company has successfully sued to gain access to the identifiable information behind 50 IP addresses, that it suspected were involved in the illegal distribution of this Steve Austin action film.

Four internet providers (3 Web, Access Communications Co-Operative, ACN, and Distributel Communications) have been ordered by the Federal Court in Montreal to hand over information in regards to those 50 IP addresses to NGN Prima Production, by the beginning of December.

The maximum penalty for non-commercial infringement is $5000 now that Bill C-11 has come into force. But many experts suspect that it may be significantly reduced by the courts in some cases.

Doom & Gloom ?

Debate has recently heated up in regards to the effects of peer to peer due to a report published by The American Assembly at Columbia University.

Since its publication in October, arguments on whether the technology is detrimental to the industry have been going back and forth, some claiming that the users of this technology buy more music whilst others claim they do not.

This study found that peer to peer users purchased 30% more music whilst RIAA proponents claim they spend pretty much that same amount as non peer to peer users on music.

This is only one of the numerous reports that found that peer to peer users buy more music, concert tickets and artist associated merchandise. And numerous members of the industry have responded to this information by consolidating their operations into media companies like Live Nation. But one should notice quite a few issues with the industry’s response.

One has to wonder why peer to peer is being targeted when it’s usage does not result in a loss of sales :

“The truth is that P2P users spend about the same on the core music categories as non-users, on this basis. P2P users spend a bit more on digital downloads and subscriptions but it would be a tough argument that there is much of a difference. Six dollars extra on tracks is hardly half an album.” – NPD Group Blog Entry, dated October 18th, 2012

You will notice the last sentence on that statement emphasizes the industry’s preference when it comes to sales.

They prefer the sale of albums. And any argument in regards to concert ticket and merchandising sales fall on deaf ears because they haven’t secured those sources of income.

“There is a significant difference in spend on merchandise and concert tickets, where P2P users spend nearly twice as much as non-users. Are we saying that P2P file sharing promotes T-shirt sales, or show attendance? Of course not; that would be silly. What it says is that the people who download music illegally are generally more engaged in music, so they go to shows and they wear their favorite artists on their shirts. I have news for you: they would be doing this if P2P never existed.”

P2P is used to preview music for free and the operative word, free, also applies to new technologies that the blog entry also acknowledges.

The average P2P downloader spends $42 on these categories of music. No contest- P2P users spend more. Guess what- people who follow artists on Facebook spend more than that, as do people who use Twitter; and those who subscribe to Rhapsody or Pandora spend a whole lot more than any of these groups.

We are no longer in the late 90’s or early 2000’s. Numerous licensed services now offer free music, some of which do not require the installation of questionable software and/or the mass storing of music files. And individuals will not care in regards to the source of this music because it’s free.

The problem of course if that the music industry is slow to adapt and have not licensed their complete repertoire to the new services.

The labels failed to negotiate and obtain the rights to older recordings so people continue to use P2P for recordings that are not available for download through the legal services, some of which are not available on or have yet to be made available on compact disc.

These distribution issues are also what is driving people to use peer to peer networks to obtain films that are not available on or have yet to be made available on DVDs that are compatible with their home theater equipment.

Peer to peer services will likely be used less and less by people who are looking for music that can be found on the other free services but the above aforementioned rights issues will keep peer to peer alive until they are addressed.