music

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.

Levy On Memory Cards Proposed, Again.

The Canadian Private Copying Collective had applied for a levy on memory cards at the Copyright Board.

On March 31st, the CPCC has asked the Copyright Board to extend the definition of Blank Audio Recording Media to include memory cards so they can obtain up to $3 in levies per card from manufacturers and importers of this media.

Published in the supplement of the Canada Gazette on May 14th, the rates are as follows :

$0.50 on each memory card that is less than 1 GB
$1.00 on each memory card that is above 1GB but under 8GB
$3.00 on each memory card that is 8GB and more

Unfortunately for the CPCC the definition of what can be and cannot be levied is clearly defined in Section 79 of our Copyright Act :

“audio recording medium” means a recording medium, regardless of its material form, onto which a sound recording may be reproduced and that is of a kind ordinarily used by individual consumers for that purpose, excluding any prescribed kind of recording medium

In respect to this definition the Copyright Board had ruled in December 2003 that the evidence presented to them had not clearly demonstrated “that these recording media are ordinarily used by individuals for the purpose of copying music.”

To store and play back music all one requires is a class 2, 2GB per second memory card. A higher class card is not necessary as it does not improve the sound quality of the recording nor the performance of the device in which this memory card is placed.

Class 4, 4GB per second memory cards were introduced to facilitate the storage of photographs whilst Class 6 (6GB/s) and Class 10 (10GB/s) memory cards were created to record and store high definition video.

The only Secure Digital card created explicitly for music is the SD-Audio format, so a blanket levy on all memory cards is inappropriate or justified.

That said, one then has to wonder why the proposed rates are quite low in comparison to their previous request.

In 2002 they had requested $8 per gig on memory cards according to the March 9th, 2002 edition of the Canada Gazette. But the Canadian labels the CPCC represent still claim that more and more people are copying music “illegally” to devices with memory cards.

It appears their proposals are inconsistant and somewhat arbitrary.

Perhaps they’re attempting to make the levy more palatable. But it makes no sense to reduce the levy whilst claiming there is more harm to the copyright holders since 2002, unless the proposed rate in 2002 was exagerated.

I believe in proposing this levy the CPCC are actually attempting to solicit a definition that enables them to levy the memory cards embedded in mp3 players.

After all, the term they used in the proposal was “electronic memory card“, which doesn’t distinguish embedded from non embedded memory cards. And they could attempt to argue that though most memory cards are not ordinarily used for music that memory cards that are embedded inside mp3 players are.

Technically such a levy would not be a mp3 player levy but a levy on the memory card inside the mp3 player, that they could repackage as a “compromise” during the upcoming copyright reform process.

But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. For now we can object to the levying of memory cards that we primarily use for our own photographs and videos.

The Copyright Board will be accepting objections to the “Statement of Proposed Levies to Be Collected by CPCC on the Sale, in Canada, of Blank Audio Recording Media for the Years 2012 and 2013“, as published in the May 14th, 2011 supplement of the Canada Gazette, until July 13th, 2011 at the following address :

GILLES MCDOUGALL
Secretary General
56 Sparks Street, Suite 800
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C9

613-952-8630 (fax)

Please note that these objections may become part of public record so it is preferable to address the issue politely.

Free Music @ Empire Theaters

iCoke members can get free iTunes music downloads at Empire Theater locations through-out Canada.

Specially marked regular sized, 32 oz fountain drink cups will contain a code redeemable for a music download. But these will only be available until June 24th, 2011 or whislt supplies last.

The codes themselves will expire on June 30th, 2011 and 10 codes are reemable per iCoke account holder per week. Click here for details.

Google To Launch Cloud Beta Today

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Google may have it’s own cloud music service up by today.

The paper claims that an announcement about a beta service may be made today at Google‘s annual developers conference in San Francisco, this simplified service consisting of a remote server on which music can be uploaded and stored for playback on any web browser.

Unfortunately due to the limitations imposed by copyright, the users of this service will likely be able to download music from this server nor be able to add music to the service remotely, like on Amazon.com. The Wall Street Journal claims that Google has yet to begin negotiating with the labels for licenses.

Meanwhile, the iTunes cloud service appears to be on schedule, Apple having secured lisencing from Warner Music Group last month. But many speculate that a fee will likely be charged because of the bandwidth the service requires to operate.

P2P Majority Agrees with Avenue Q ?

Appearently a recent Envisional study has found that the majority of Peer To Peer users believe that “The Internet Is For Porn“.

In attempting to discover how much copyrighted material is being pirated, the NBC Universal commissioned study found that out of the 10,000 transfered files they examined, 35.8% were porn, followed closely by film at 35.2% and television programing at 12.5%.

Of those 10,000 PublicBT files, only 2.9% were illegal music downloads. But of course the study also found that “23.76% of traffic was estimated to be infringing“, meaning that almost a quarter of all internet traffic involved copyright violations of some sort, excluding porn.

When concentrating on American transfers Envisional found that 17.53% of the transfers were infringing. And that 20% of the transfers were conducted on Peer To Peer networks, 13.8% of which were copyright violations.

The vast majority of streaming on the net was either legal or porn according to the study, video streaming accounting for 27% to 30% of the transfers. Only an estimated 1.56% of this streaming material was deemed infinging.

The study also establishes that 93.4% of Usenet posts contain copyrighted material, which is rather interesting. I had thought most people had given up on this antiquated distribution method.

Discounted Music Downloads

Canadian Mastercard users can save 25% off purchased of 10 Tracks or more from Choose Your Songs, a site that contains the most popular Universal Music tracks off Puretracks.

I don’t know when it expires but the promo code for this offer is MASTERCARD25OFF.