Music Technology

Gouging Canadians – Mobile Data Roaming

So the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has confirmed what every Canadian cell phone and mobile data user has suspected for years, and more so. Canadians are being gouged when it comes to mobile data roaming charges.

According to their May 30th study, Canadians that download and upload whilst roaming are charged some of the highest fees in the world, at up to US$24.61 per 1 MB transfer on a laptop.

These rates are of course prohibitive when it comes to the viewing and uploading of digital photographs and videos. But the use of cloud services whilst roaming are also subject to these enormous fees, as are music downloads.

I personally believe that though somewhat inconvenient at times, WI-FI is the preferable option for any traveler that wishes to transfer files to and from their devices.

Free WI-FI is available in many hotels, motels, campgrounds, airports and chains like Starbucks and McDonalds though-out Canada and the United States. And some hotels also offer faster wired connections, in select rooms of course.

Personally i’ve saved quite alot of money using Skype in hotel rooms and campgrounds in the past, using these free connections. And there is an option to limit transfers to wi-fi on the new iCloud service, so there are ways to avoid these fees altogether.

iCloud Beta Available

An iCloud beta is available in a new version of iTunes.

Version 10.3 will include access to the service, which will enable Apple product users to automatically download their iTunes music purchases to their devices via wi-fi or 3G, free.

When activated the service will automatically send past and future purchases to every device or computer registered to the service. And in the Fall a service called “iTunes Match” will enable iTunes users to add up to 20,000 non-iTunes recordings to the iCloud service, without uploading these recordings to a server.

As previously mentioned, the basic iCloud service will be free to iTunes users whilst the Match service will cost $24.99 per year.

Note that this beta is not available through normal program updates. The most recent version available through the program is 10.2.2.

Apple Cloud Service To Be Unveiled In June

According to an official press release, Apple will be unveiling their new iCloud service on June 6th, at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Durring the key note address Apple CEO Steve Jobs and several executives will discuss this new sevice as well as the new Mac operating system, Lion, and a new mobile operating system for the company’s devices, iOS 5.

I believe this key note address is scheduled for 10am, PST. Details in regards to the cloud service accessibility in Canada will probably be discussed at that time.

Makes You Think, Doesn’t It ?

Today the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has approved a settlement of $50.2 million dollars in the “Pending List” class action quit against the four major labels in Canada.

Appearently several years back several recording artists, composers and their estates had noticed their recordings had been released by these labels, with no licencing agreement or royalty payment.

From June 2007 to December 31st, 2009 countless compilations were released that included recordings that the major labels assumed were available to them without prior negotiation because they had assigned a royalty rate to these recordings.

Unfortunately the rights agencies that collected royalties on behalf of the artists found it rather difficult to confirm what was on these lists and coult not truly determine how much was owed to specific artists.

This of course eventually resulted in a class action suit in 2008 that alledged the labels had performed hundreds of thousands of copyright violations, that resulted in the unauthorised sale of recordings.

I find it rather interesting that the labels hindered the collection of royalties associated to this scheme whilst opposing private copying on the grounds that it would hurt artists.

Private copying does not enable the consumer to sell copies of the recordings.

Stickam Live For Japan

Just thought i’d bump the Stickam Live For Japan charity event on Stickam, which is on from 5pm Eastern from The Roxy in Los Angeles.

This event, which is being held to raise funds for the relief efforts in Japan, will feature live music performances by Cypress Hill, Abused Romance, The Drills, Juke Kartel, Alex Lambert, Drew Seeley, Stu Stone and others.

It will also feature special appearences by Action Item, Against All Will, Allstar Weekend, Joe Brooks, Cash Cash, Chantal Claret & James Euringer, Cobra Starship, Crossfade, Drowning Pool, Myles Dyer, Fareast Movement, Flula, Jake Fogelnest, Forever The Sickest Kids, Four Year Strong, Hey Monday, The Hit, The Holding, Hyper Crush, The Janks, Stephen Jerzak, Randall Kleiser, Krash Karma, Live The Story, The Millionaires, Mod Sun, My Genuine Find, Natalise, The New No2, 9 Electric, Adam Paranoia, Revis, Nathan Ryan, SammiDoll, Set It Off, Linda Strawberry, The Summer Set, Brady Szuhaj, Jac Vanek, Andrew W.K. and others.

You can help them raise money to benefit the Red Cross, The Japanese Red Cross Society, and Global Giving, just by watching. For every viewer who tunes in, the sponsors have pledged additional money.

CLICK HERE TO TUNE IN
STICKAM LIVE FOR JAPAN

Retail Council Wants Levy Scrapped

According to The Wire, the Retail Council Of Canada has formally asked the Conservative government to scrap the blank audio media levy.

The group had previously stated in a March 12th, 2010 press release that they oppose any extention of the levy, stating that it would disadvantage Canadian retailers. And in this press release they stated they believed this “anti-competitive tax should be repealed altogether” :

Retailers contend the levy system is obsolete in an age of rapid technological change and does nothing to support and protect Canadian artists.”

I agree. And strangely enough the proponants of the levy also agree because they’re constantly trying to levy the next technology by stating the previous technology is no longer being used to copy music.

In less than five years the current levy was made obsolete, resulting in the following question on the savethelevy.ca web site : “It’s 2011 … who uses CD-Rs to copy music anymore?”

Well, cell phones and tablets are now being used to play back music files and cloud services will stream music to these devices shortly in Canada, making mp3 player obsolete soon. But of course like the Retail Council of Canada I believe the CPCC’s arguements are fundementally flawed :

Retail Council of Canada calls for changes to the Copyright Act to provide an explicit exception recognizing that private copying for archival or backup purposes and for format shifting purposes by individuals of legitimately acquired copies of works or sound recordings and movies is legal. This should include private copying for such purposes as platform shifting, backup purposes, or the avoidance of obsolescence.”

Remuneration is not required from consumers that have purchased music from online music retailers whose formats imply use on portable music devices in which electronic memory cards can be placed or embedded. And individuals that make personal copies for private use from recordings they’ve purchased fail to qualify as distributors because the recordings and resulting copies remain in their possession, regardless of the format shifting involved.

Private copying in no way infringes copyright, as defined by Part III, Section 27 of the Copyright Act. And a levy is not required because royalties have already been collected from the sale of legally purchased compact discs or music files, from which the private copies are made.

The alledged prominence of piracy on the internet in no way make devices like mp3 players conform to the term “blank audio media”, as defined by the Copyright Act. And the Copyright Board have already ruled that memory cards also did not qualify in a December 12th, 2003 decision.