Consumer Information

ACTRA Wants Hard Drives/Mp3 Players Levied

The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists has asked the government to not only extend the private copying levy to Mp3 players but want hard drives levied and the fair dealing exemptions for educational institutions provisions dropped.

In a press release issued on November 16th, the organization claims that Bill C-32 “rips millions of dollars from creators’ pockets”. And in a November 5th press release they also state “Institutions pay the full cost of desks, computers and teacher salaries, why would they not pay for the content deemed valuable enough to use in their classrooms?

Well, according to the Private Copying amendments the items currently being levied are primarily used as recording media. Mp3 players failed to be levied because they were not technically recording media and hard drives and flash drives failed to be levied because they were not primarily used to copy audio recordings.

Has the situation changed since the last rulings ? No.

ACTRA may claim that Bill C-32 “isn’t good for consumers” but if the Copyright Act were altered to enable the levying of devices like Mp3 players and hard drives, the consumer would be paying significantly more via the manufacturers and importers of these devices.

One only has to review the exorbitant rates the Canadian Private Copying Collective had applied for on the levied media in the past to know that the Canadian consumer is secondary.

Does $21 per gig on mp3 players sound consumer friendly ? How about $2.27 per recordable/rewritable DVD ? Those were the requested rates for 2003/2004, as published in the March 9th, 2002 Supplement of the Canada Gazette (Supplement, Vol. 136, No. 10).

These proposed levies are in no way good for the consumer because it opens the door for additional levies on other products.

ACTRA not only represents radio artists but performers in film and television. And their November 16th statement they claim the film, television, video game and book industries would also face losses because of Bill C-32 :

If Canadian cultural industries are to keep producing films, TV programs, video games, music and books, we can’t afford a bill like C-32 that rips millions of dollars from creators’ pockets“.

The devices on which films, TV programs, video games and ebooks are recorded, downloaded and/or displayed are not currently levied and Bill C-32 calls for an ability by Canadian consumers to perform backups of some of this material.

What will be levied next ?

Limewire Closing

An injunction to cease P2P operations has been issued to Limewire on the 26th of October, 2010.

The company has stopped offering downloads of their software via their web site.

(UPDATE : The original site on which the injunction was hosted is gone but thanks to Simon Grant you’ll find a replacement source for the injunction by clicking on the above link. And for good measure, here is another source, also in PDF format)

Free Shipping Offers For Canadians

Amazon Canada and chapters.indigo.ca have altered their free shipping offers and are now offering free shipping for order above $25.

Other companies offering free shipping to Canadians :

Sony Classical Opens Online Store

Ariama.com, Sony’s new classical online store, is now online.

This service offers most of the Sony Classical catalog in mp3 and lossless format. But physical shipments of CDs are limited to the United States for the moment.

People who love soundtracks, like yours truly, will enjoy this service. It features numerous recordings, including many by John Williams, Danny Elfman and Howard Shore.

Blockbuster Canada Unaffected

Blockbuster Canada has published a press release re-assuring their customers that the Canadian operations are unaffected by the Chapter 11 Process in the United States.

Apparently the Canadian subsidiary is still profitable, at 440 stores through-out Canada.

Netflix Now In Canada

Netflix is now online in Canada and offering unlimited film and television downloads at $7.99 per month.

Unlike their American counterpart, they are not currently offering rentals by mail. But Canadians can now stream videos to their desktop and laptop computers, Wii, PS3 and mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone.

The company promises to add the XBox 360 and internet compatible Blu-ray players and televisions shortly to their service. And the service will be available on the Apple TV device soon as well in Canada.

BTW, those wishing to try the service can do so for one month, for free. Details can be found on the Canadian Netflix site.