When 70% Of The Cost Of Blank CDs Goes Straight To The Recording Industry

from the an-awful-lot dept

It's well known that Canada has a "private copying levy" on blank CDs. This tax was pushed by the entertainment industry as compensation for the fact that many people will use blank CDs to record music. It's somewhat up in the air whether or not this means that private copying is completely legal in Canada (the recording industry still insists no, many people insist yes). However, Michael Geist notes that the latest proposed tariff would keep the fee the same, despite the fact that the cost of blank CDs keeps dropping. This leads to a distorted market where more than half the cost of the blank CDs Canadians buy may go straight to the recording industry. Geist points to a deal for 200 blank CDs that costs $60 -- $42 of which goes to the recording industry. Prices in the US, where no such levy exists, obviously are much lower. Perhaps we should start swapping blank CDs for Canadian drugs.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 3:18am

    considering...

    that a good number of people buy their new computer with a cd burner (heck, pretty much standard by now) so they can burn music - usually music either from cd's borrowed from a friend or illegally downloaded - so you practically *have* to expect the music industry to make it up a least a small bit somewhere down the line...

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 3:34am

    greedy RIAA

    I personally use CDs/DVDs to burn applications and games, so where's the developer and game industry's cut?

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward (and proud of it), Feb 27th, 2006 @ 3:40am

    This is bullhonkey

    I've burned dozens and dozens of CDs. How many of those CDs were music: 3. How can they assume that black CDs always mean illegal music?
    The music industry deserves to get ripped off after the countless boy bands and pop sluts they shoved down our throats.
    Start a boycott by switching to DVD. (wish it were that simple)

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    littleandy, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 5:14am

    No Subject Given

    I prefer so store my data on an external hard-disc.

     

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  5.  
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    Frank J. Mattia, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 5:14am

    all the more reason why,

    we need to start shooting record execs (and everyone else with similar tendencies) in the face at point blank range in front of their families. greed is a mother fuck - if only it would come back and bite them in the ass.

    of course, that wont happen so we have to use the law to appeal to them.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 5:22am

    Re: greedy RIAA

    yeah, but honestly, how many of your applications and games that you're burning are legally owned? As much as everyone always argues that "we have the right to make copies of my software", very few people actually do. The odds are they're pirated apps and vids which makes it hard to complain when they're just giving the levies to the wrong industry.

     

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  7.  
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    Wolfger, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 5:47am

    Re: all the more reason why,

    Well said, if perhaps a bit extreme. Paying the recording industry money so that I can hand out disks of my European vacation pictures to family members is just absurd. These corporate fat cats are stealing money from us since they seem to be unable to earn it.

     

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  8.  
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    Joey, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 5:48am

    Boo Hoo

    Why don't we then charge a sin tax for paper? How about a Sin Tax for Hard Drives?

    Oh! how about they just charge extra for their crap and figure in the price of "pirating" (like the software companies do).

    unless they already do...

     

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  9.  
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    winx, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 5:50am

    Re: developer and game industry cut


    they get a cut from all the ads/spam sponsered on the torrent sites. :P

    BTW - I must have at least $3000 worth of "archived" appz and games from over the last few years - and I only seem to get burned by my ISP for downloading copy-protected movies (CAMs or DVD-screeners that haven't been released yet.

    Honestly - when was the LAST time any of us paid 20 bucks for a movie at a theater, or bought a CD??

     

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  10.  
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    lar3ry, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 5:56am

    How about recording music I made myself?

    I was a bit astonished the first time I purchased blank CDs in Canada (I have a summer home there).

    If the surtax is to compensate the record industry for illegal recordings, then I should be able to record all the music I want onto that surtaxed CD--the industry has already been compensated for this very use.

    The problem that I see is that if I decide to record my own music that I personally wrote, performed, and produced myself without the benefit of the record industry, why must I still be compensating the record industry who has no monetary interest in my music? Unfortunately, I cannot claim that I am now entitled to some of that surtax, since people (or even the recording industry!) might use blank media to pirate MY music!

    I wish the Canadian government would give their citizens the ability to show cause: "Look, this CD has my own music on it. Can I please have a rebate on the tax that I paid to the record industry?"

    Another interesting (but untested) idea is that as an American citizen, I am entitled to a refund of Provincial sales taxes on items purchased in Canada and brought back to the USA. I wonder if that refund also applies to the CD blank media tax (which, unfortunately is levied at the wholesale level, rather than as a point-of-purchase tax... makes it hard to get a receipt for the tax I paid).

     

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  11.  
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    Bedtech, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 6:10am

    Great!!

    Since I have a home recording studio...
    What do I have to do to get my share from the money colected on taxed cds??
    What about the underpayed audio engineers? Do they get a tax deduction?
    Isn't it all just another scheme so big co.s can suck more money???

     

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  12.  
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    MMonte, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 6:10am

    Re: How about recording music I made myself?

    Why did we never have all this grief with cassette recorders? Although I don't even own a cassette deck anymore, at one time my system included a nice tape to tape "high speed copy system". Everyone I knew made copies of cassettes, copied CD's onto cassettes, copied vinyl onto cassettes...and I don't EVER recall hearing the recording industry complain.
    Same with dual drive VHS machines. Whenis the last time anyone heard a complaint there? Why is it that it is only now that things are more high-tech, and our American society has gone bonkers in the legal arena, with the RIAA suing dead people, etc., that this is such an issue?
    Go back even further, and I remember making/trading/receiving copies of 8-Tracks and reel-to -reel tapes....
    Something is wrong with the system today!

     

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  13.  
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    Professor HighBrow, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 6:11am

    Re: How about recording music I made myself?

    The problem that I see is that if I decide to record my own music that I personally wrote, performed, and produced myself without the benefit of the record industry, why must I still be compensating the record industry who has no monetary interest in my music?

    Or your personal data (photos, recordings, documents, etc.)

    I'd say the tariff itself equals absolute unlimited piracy rights. You've already compensated the "Recording Industry" by buying the blank media, right? Therefore, you ethically have free reign over any copyritten material you choose to place on the disk.

    Of course, like you said, what if it's your own content? Now you are paying some corporation just so that you can make a copy of what you have already created.

    This whole "Fair Use" idiocy in the US and everywhere else fro that matter is just a neverending battle of The People V. Corporate Interest.
    One begins to wonder why we give a Schlitz at all...

     

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  14.  
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    Dosquatch, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 6:22am

    DAT tax

    Prices in the US, where no such levy exists,

    Incorrect. The US has the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, known also as the "DAT Tax". It in fact covers NOT just digital audio tape, but ALL digital recording devices (incl. CD & DVD recorders), and a fair number of analog devices (incl. audio cassette recorders & VHS machines).

    While the royalty charged on recorders & media in the United States is not as high as the royalty charged in Canada (sect. 1004.a.1-3), it is still there, and for the same reasons, which raises the same issues (i.e., can you charge me a fee on the presumption that I'm going to do something, and then charge me with a crime if I do it?)

    In fact, AHRA-92 specifically indemnifies against infringement claims when royalties are paid (sect. 1008). (That is, not in violation of sect. 1002-1003)

    This is all exactly as lobbied for by the various media industries, who seem to have conveniently forgotten all of this.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    SMG, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 6:31am

    Re: How about recording music I made myself?

    Why did we never have all this grief with cassette recorders? Although I don't even own a cassette deck anymore, at one time my system included a nice tape to tape "high speed copy system". Everyone I knew made copies of cassettes, copied CD's onto cassettes, copied vinyl onto cassettes...and I don't EVER recall hearing the recording industry complain.
    Same with dual drive VHS machines. Whenis the last time anyone heard a complaint there? Why is it that it is only now that things are more high-tech, and our American society has gone bonkers in the legal arena, with the RIAA suing dead people, etc., that this is such an issue?
    Go back even further, and I remember making/trading/receiving copies of 8-Tracks and reel-to -reel tapes....
    Something is wrong with the system today!

    been my arguement for years.
    you know what, i am kind of happy these days when i wal through the mall, and look into the music store, and that sucker is EMPTY. when i was a 16 that was the place to be in the mall. you were really cool if you were caught purchasing some vintage stuff

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    ZOMG CENSORED, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 6:41am

    I use it but it still seems pointless

    Considering that I'm a registered musician, I get a cut of blank CD's if I so desire. I don't really need nor want it since I haven't earned it. I just don't apply to receive payment. It's that simple. I'll pay the levy since most of my CD useage is actually what it is used for (burning ripped/ downloaded music), but I don't see how well it works when the Canadian levy goes to Canadian musicians... Most of the music I have on my drive that I don't own the CD for isn't from Canada. Shouldn't that be taken into account?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    ErichL, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 6:42am

    Re: DAT tax

    I'm pretty sure "Audio CD-R's" are the only ones taxed. A stupid friend of mine bought one of those $400 CD dupilcator decks (not realizing that he could buy an entire damn computer for that price) for his Stereo system. Anyways, the thing will only burn to the more expensive "Audio CD-R" variety of discs, which are always more expensive if you haven't noticed. Any tech savy person knows that it's all just digital data. But apparently "Audio CD-R's" have a flag on them that tells the deivce that this is in fact an "Audio CD-R". This would indicate to me that those "Audio CD-R's" are the taxed ones, which I never buy. I always buy the cheap shit. Regardless, only taxing the CD-R's marked "Audio" would make more sense to me.
    Actually, upon googling, I found this on crutchfield.com...
    What is the difference between an Audio CD-R and a Data CD-R? Will both work in my car stereo?
    Consumer Audio Recorders require Audio CD-R's, and will not record to Data CD-R's!
    All CD-R's have some information pressed into them that can not be altered. One portion of this information is an Application Flag, which tells the recorder what kind of blank disk you are using. This Application Flag is the only physical difference between an Audio CD-R and a Data CD-R. The only other difference is price. The reason Audio Disks cost more is because a portion of the price goes to the music industry.
    So uh... yeah, y'all are getting screwed up in Canada, they should only be taxing CD-R's marked as Audio!

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    wolff000, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 6:42am

    Re: greedy RIAA

    "yeah, but honestly, how many of your applications and games that you're burning are legally owned?"

    actually all mine are. the only time I use my cd burner is to back up software that i had to purchase for business reasons. The orginal goes in the office safe and the copy is what gets used for running the program. this kind of charge on a blank cd is ridiculous. I'm not saying i don't pirate software and music, they just leave on my server so i can continue to share them. just one more example on how screwewd up the recording industry is. I would love it for the whole damn thing to fold. that way the only musicians left would be ones that played for the joy of playing.

     

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  19.  
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    Feldmarschal Von Fluffy, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 7:44am

    Re: DAT tax

    That means that the record guys are double dipping the chip! Yuk! The fact is if you buy music from ITunes then they get a cut of the money. Then you burn the music to CD and they get another cut of the money! What's that all about? Write your congressman and tell him you're unhappy about the RIAA...

     

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  20.  
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    NOCcer, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 7:54am

    Re: developer and game industry cut

    Re: developer and game industry cut
    by winx on Monday February 27, @05:50

    they get a cut from all the ads/spam sponsered on the torrent sites. :P
    BTW - I must have at least $3000 worth of "archived" appz and games from over the last few years - and I only seem to get burned by my ISP for downloading copy-protected movies (CAMs or DVD-screeners that haven't been released yet.
    Honestly - when was the LAST time any of us paid 20 bucks for a movie at a theater, or bought a CD??


    Yesterday. And last Sunday, and Valentines day.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    apoc, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 7:57am

    Re: considering...

    you cant expect anything, the "typewriter industry" didnt tax home computers when they came on the market

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Brian, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 8:26am

    Re: considering...

    Most of time I record to CD, it is from CD's that I purchased legally. I want to keep them in my car, but to prevent them from being scratched, I make copies and put the originals away. Also, I usually buy small independent artist music, and they usually get the money directly. I am also a developer, so many of the times it is just files or web site material I need to transfer to another computer. Maybe about 10% of the time I use it for music, and when I do it is legal music that is from my church or small independent label. Often times I made CD's from Church website broadcast which are free, and MSDN podcast which are also free. Not to mention things like e-books I purchase legally or other legally purchased software. I do not think you can make an assumption on what people use CDs for. They are for both Data and Music. Not to mention video, we are constantly making CD from our video cameras and distributing to church and family members. Sometimes we need to make VCD for our family overseas. I hope they will consider all these things that are not related to the music industry. The technology is changing, so if you do not keep up, you will be shut down. That is the new way of the world, the recording industry just has redifine their business based on the new technologies.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 8:44am

    Re: developer and game industry cut

    thats it? you must not be into any of the good apps... a thorough collection of the last few releases of solidworks ($3,800 x 2 versions), autocad ($3,800 x 4 versions), land development desktop ($3,800 x 2 versions) & visual studio ($900 x 3 versions) could easily put your collections value at $33,000. what kind of highschool student, college student & small business can afford that shit? they build up a monopolized industry standard - then charge you and arm and a leg to get in. if i had to wait till i was able to buy that shit to try all the new features and learn to fully use the product - i wouldnt have a job because i wouldnt know my shit. not to mention the side work i do with autocad and solid works that nets me a total of maybe 1000$ a year IF THAT.. how can i justify buying that when 1) i cant afford it and 2) cant legally use the "student" version to profit.
    same thing with visual studio. i write ObjectArx apps (unfortunately im stuck using 2002... since in their infinite wisdom, autodesk decided to build a whole cad platform on it) for fun and to learn. how are we supposed to foster a society of intelligent people when the bar for entry is a measure of your pockets depth??????

     

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  24.  
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    Tony, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 9:13am

    Re: This is bullhonkey

    Shoot with all the technology out there any cd player now can use mp3 players and especially with how big mp3 players are becoming, whats the point in charging extra for a disk. Most of the time any computer can rip music. All you have to do is put it on the mp3 player and then connect that to a player or even some speakers. So whats the point in adding price to an outdating hardware? Granted thats a lot of steps but you still didn't have to pay the extra for a disk.

     

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  25.  
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    Posterlogo, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 9:27am

    Doesn't seem legal.

    Not sure how an industry could levy another when the connection between the two is so flimsy. Especially now, when MP3 players are so much more common than burnt CDs. I work in a scientific lab where we burn a lot of our data onto CDs for backup purposes. I think this is a fairly common use for CDs in many many industries. I'd bet that data back-up is as common if not more common than the creation of music CDs. It does not seem legal for an industry to be able to levy a tax on that.

     

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  26.  
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    A-Non, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 9:31am

    Re: considering...

    Well, Canada is not the only place with such tax. I live in Finland and we have the same tax, here it is called "cassette tax" and as the name indicates, it came in effect when C-tapes came popular. So they then naturally applied the same tax to blank CDs later. And I belive few other European countries have similar tax, so you people in the US are darn lucky.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Bruce, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 9:41am

    Re: How about recording music I made myself?

    Excellent point - being penalized because it is assumed in the priice of a product that you will be using it illegally (even though there are still many perfectly legal applications for said product) is an absurd premise. Many people use blank cd's for a lot of other purposes besides recording music - and they still have to pay the recording industry to do so?!?

    The bottom line is that the recording industry is an aging, geriatric dinosaur that, unable to be truly innovative anymore, seeks only to protect itself, however unreasonably. Thus, we pay for their adherence to archaic technology and lack of ability to remain relevant.

    And why is it legal to buy a cd burner then? Why is it legal to buy blank cd's? Either it is legal (which it is), and the recording industry has no right to levy a tax, or it's not legal, in which casee the products shouldn't even be sold commercially.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Tom, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 9:55am

    Re: How about recording music I made myself?

    Here's where you can write your Congressman to tell him/her that you are tired of the RIAA fat cats ripping us off:
    http://www.house.gov/writerep/
    You might also want to give this a look:
    http://www.boycott-riaa.com/

     

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  29.  
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    Anceps, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 9:56am

    Tax on MP3 players

    In switzerland, we'll have to pay a tax on every MP3 player and video recorder with a hard disk bought in march 2006 or later. (see the story, in french). And, yes, we already pay extra money on blanck CDs to the swiss association of music authors.

    I think that's a shame to take money from honest people to balance with pirates stealing music. How is it fair to pay for stealing when you don't steal, and when that doesn't entitle you to do it?

    Why don't they add a tax on every suitcase sold, when you could use it to smuggle?
    And when I look on students passing an exam, should I take away 10% of the marks because everyone can cheat at a time or another and not being caught ? I doubt anyone with some sense of justice would agree with that.

    Can anyone give me a sensible justification for such a tax?

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anceps, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 10:01am

    Re: Tax on MP3 players

    Addendum:
    Well, it seems the tax won't be there in march and is postponed until a judgment to be pronounced.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    DoctorWHO, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 10:23am

    Re: How about recording music I made myself?

    "Why did we never have all this grief with cassette recorders? "

    Here Here... Let me know if you ever figure out what changed!

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Tyshaun, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 10:58am

    Re: How about recording music I made myself?

    Why did we never have all this grief with cassette recorders?
    Primarily its an issue of distribution capability I would guess. Unless you buy a bulk duplicator for VHS or cassettes, copies were always a 1to1 affair. Music companies I don't think are all that worried about a single extra copy of a product getting out there. I think the big problem is that digital media can be dispersed very rapidly and easily over the net, making it the case where one original can be used to generate copies by however number of people get the digitized version of the original. That means lots of lost revenue (potentially)

    Also, copying tapes and cassettes was often a lossy affair with every copy being a degraded form of the original. So you don't have an issue with someone making a copy for a friend who in turn makes a copy of the copy for another friend (because the quality of the "copy of the copy" is pretty bad). Not so with digital media where copy an MP3 as much as you want, it will still be the same MP3 (unless you do silly stuff like convert it to audio, then rip it back to an MP3).

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Dosquatch, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 11:10am

    Re: How about recording music I made myself?

    Why did we never have all this grief with cassette recorders?

    We did, sort of. Analog cassettes carry a blank media royalty as well, and the recording industry made a fair amount of noise about copyright violations, just not as much.

    What changed between then and now is the technology. A cassette recorder is a "dumb" device - no intelligence or programmable circuitry to "tell" to prevent copyright infringement. But it's also analog, so any infringement that does happen is self-limiting (meaning a copy of a copy of a copy sounds like crap, so it'll only get redistributed so far).

    Digital media (like CD's), though, doesn't degrade through the generations as readily, meaning your copy of a copy of a copy still sounds as good as the original source.

    "My God!" says the recording industry. "What's to stop one NKOTB CD being copied to everybody in the world in all its undegraded digital goodness??!?"

    "Practical limitations," was the response. "And taste."

    Of course, that answer wasn't good enough, so enter the DAT tax, which has been expanded and re-expanded over the past decade and a half, and you end up here.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Juan, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 11:31am

    Re: considering...

    With the death of floppies, how is anyone to transfer data... You can't get a laptop with a floppy drive and why would you? Are they going to start to levy portable media devices, flash mem, plugin harddrives, and usb drives? Their vision is obviously limited by their lack of knowledge on the ever expanding options for data transfer and storage. I take a lot of digital pictures, share them, and I back up my HD, both to CD. How does this impact the industry directly and why should I pay a premium for it? Sure, potentially I could burn a music CD, but potentially I could be a criminal. This isn't Minority Report; people are not jailed because of their potential for committing a crime. It is an obvious payoff to the entertainment industry, like calming a brat, "Itís not fair, boo hoo. We can't make billions like we used too, we may have to think up real solutions." Grow up. The government is opening up the doors for other industries to have ridiculous requests for free money paid for by their constituents.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    freakengine, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 12:38pm

    Change is GOOD

    The big problem in alla this is the reluctance to accept that all of our lives are ruled by constant change. The record industry has repeatedly exhibited its inability to cope with changes in its marketplace when it wasn't the one controlling the changes.

    Sure, the switch from LP/Cass to CD media was simple... charge more, then conveniently "forget" to lower prices when reproduction costs level out over the long haul. Wow, what a windfall! BUT, when the marketplace changes on its own and leaves them in the dust, all they can do is piss and moan about it and try to FORCE people to continue to support their outdated business model.

    I know that many people in the record industry have lost their jobs due to these changes, but many other jobs have been created by the shift. Change is good. It opens new markets and new potential, but it can't work when captains of industry cling to their antiquated notions of what their particular businesses are all about.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    KAYLA, Apr 6th, 2007 @ 11:24pm

    COME ON NOW

    DAMN, THEY MAKE GAZILLIONS OF DOLLARS. GREED AND GLUTTONY IS A SIN. HAVE THEIR RECORD SALES GONE DOWN? THEIR POCKETS ARE OVERDOSING AND THEY ARE WORRYING ABOUT RIPPING CDs. GIVE ME A BREAK. PLEASE.

     

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