International

Excellent News For Music Fans

I have just received word that the “Tour Tax”, a prohibitive fee that international artists were subjected to when performing in Canada, has been scrapped.

This counterproductive fee kept newer artists out of Canada, especially independent and unsigned artists, and has caused many clubs to stop featuring live acts altogether. 

Over 143,000 signatures had been registered on a change.org petition promoted on this blog in 2013, which was presented to Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister for Multiculturalism.

New Fee May Hurt Small Clubs

The Calgary Herold reported yesterday that new fees for international performers have been introduced on July 31st, 2013.

Non-Canadian musicians, technicians, sound engineers, crew members and tour managers may now be subject to a $275 fee, per person, per venue. This amount is added to the $150 work permit fee that most of these people are required to pay to work in Canada.

Prior to the introduction of this fee most bands were subject to a maximum of $450 to play Canada’s smaller venues. But now the fees have quadrupled for some international acts resulting in extra expenditures that will be passed along to consumers.

This new fee will also hurt new and upcoming international performers who have not yet gained enough of an audience in Canada to play the larger venues, some of which are tax exempt.

A petition against the implementation of this fee is available at change.org. Please consider signing this petition.

Thank You.

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.

ACTA Vs Canadian Law

From the 12th to the 16th of this month numerous international government representatives will meet in Wellington, New Zealand to discuss the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

This agreement seeks to enforce measures to control the illegal distribution of copyrighted material internationally ; Measures that include restrictions that could result in extensive searches at the border, prohibitions in regards to the use of devices that circumvent the digital locks on media and intrusive, mandatory policing by internet service providers.

In an email to The Ottawa Citizen, Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan stated “Negotiations are continuing and there is not yet an agreement.” and that the current government would not sign on to the agreement unless it “reflects the best interest of Canadians.”

The proposed measures do not reflect the best interest of Canadians.

Since 1997 Canadians have been able to legally make private copies of audio recordings and the sale of region free DVD or Blu-Ray players have yet to be restricted in Canada.

Canadians have also not been subjected to undue searches at the border over this issue, have not been subjected to copy protection since due to the consumer and legal backlash against rootkit based copy protection, and the attempts to force internet providers to police copyright on their systems failed in federal court.

The proposed measures were also introduced in a manner contradictory to our laws on transparency and may conflict with the conclusions derived from our recent public consultations on copyright reform. Even the EU Commission had been forced to put those issues to a vote this month, to open the Agreement’s process up to the public.

Amendments to our copyright act will be proposed shortly by the Canadian Government in response to the aforementioned public consultations.