levy

CPCC demands levies on MP3 Players

In a press release dated June 2nd, 2010 the Canadian Private Copying Collective criticized the recently proposed amendments to the Copyright Act stipulated in Bill C-32.

They are again proposing a levy on Mp3 players, this time at a rate of up to $25 per unit in response to a survey of 1000 Canadians. And apparently found some support in The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to extend the levy to digital music recorders.

In response to this issue Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus proposed such a levy on audio recording devices in a private members bill in Parliament, Bill C-499, on March 2010. But it stalled at first reading without the support of the conservatives, who in turn tabled Bill C-32.

The problem here is that the CPCC are trying to implement a scheme that ignores the fact that royalties are already being collected on the sale of online recordings, a medium in which copying is required for use, and that the popularity of these recordings are dependent on the sale of mp3 players.

The CPCC may claim that MP3 players are without value without music in their press release. But online recordings are nothing but a series of ones and zeros without devices to play them. And compact discs are a dying format from which people will make less and less private copies from as time goes by so the CPCC is basically trying to sustain their existence by levying anything that comes along.

One has to wonder what the true value of these rights are now that the CPCC are attempting to propose a significantly reduced rate, from $21 per gig of memory in March 2002 to $25 per unit.

Did the value of these rights drop over these eight years or is the scheme being made more palatable ? And would the later then mean the rights are being subjected to the market and are flexible in value ?

The CPCC do attempt to claim they are looking for fair value on their Save The Levy site. But how fair is it to levy consumers via the mp3 player manufacturers, who would pass on these expenditures to their customers ?

Private copying may result in copying. But this copying is distinguished from commercial distribution because it is for private use by the consumer.

It does not result in the collection of funds by the consumer, from which royalties would have been collected if it were commercial distribution.

Furthermore it is the consumer that distributes music to these devices and not the manufacturer of these mp3 devices, so the manufacturer is not engaged in the commercial distribution of music either.

Like the compact disc player, these are playback devices in which media is introduced by the consumer ; Media whose data is played from the media, stored in memory and converted into music.

Yet CD players are not levied because the distribution medium in question is the compact disc, a format whose sales result in royalties. And in turn it can be argued that online recordings are also formats whose sales result in royalties.

Bill C-32 addresses issues relating to online piracy by establishing penalties for the illegal distribution of music, both offline and online. And this will further promote the collection of royalties from legitimate online distributors and sites from which music can be streamed.

I believe the proposed mp3 player levy is redundant in light of the measures tabled by the Government of Canada and could be counterproductive if it results in significantly higher prices when it comes to audio playback devices.

In conclusion I oppose the proposed levy as a consumer and would remind the government that such a levy would promote the importation of playback devices by individual Canadians, to the detriment of Canadian retailers.

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I would again like to remind you that you may contact your local member of Parliament on this issue using the contact information provided by the Parliament of Canada web site.

You will find this information by entering your postal code in a form on the main page, under the words “Current Parliamentarians“.

Thank you.

New Levy Proposed For Mp3 Players

A new levy for mp3 players and iPods has been proposed in Parliament.

Private Members Bill C-499 would extend the current private copying levy from blank audio cassettes, CD-R, CD-RW and DAT tapes to MP3 Players, including iPods, in order to compensate copyright holders for the distribution of copyrighted material to these devices.

Unfortunately the previous attempt to expand this levy to “digital audio recorders” called for rates up to $75 per device, which would have been passed onto consumers by the manufacturers, and would have resulted in the decimation of the Canadian sales of these devices because Canadian consumers would have imported them to avoid the additional fees.

As a consumer I oppose these levies because I believe I have already paid for the right to distribute recordings that I have purchased online to these devices. And I have also purchased the compact discs from which I make private copies, copies for personal use that are deemed legal since the passing of the Private Copying Act in 1997.

Remuneration is not required from me because I do not download music illegally off the net, yet this levy is based on the assumption that I download recordings off the net illegally simply because I own a device that can be used to store this material.

After all they had assumed that most of the previously levied items were used to make copies of copyrighted material. And this will of course result in further assumptions about film downloads, which will likely result in more levies in the future on DVD-R, DVD-RW and devices on which video can be stored or played back.

We need an equitable, logical remuneration scheme based on the realities of today’s recording industry.

Distribution is no longer limited to a physical medium like vinyl, cassette or compact disc and the consumer should not be paying for a recording every time they copy this recording to a medium when this copying is meant for personal, private use.

Please contact your local Member of Parliament and voice your opinion on this issue as soon as possible.

I will be updating this blog entry as the issue progresses.