Canada One Step Closer To Adding The 'You're A Criminal Tax' To iPods

from the automatically-guilty dept

Remember two years ago when Canada's Supreme Court said that iPods shouldn't be subject to the blank media levy that the entertainment industry had convinced Canada to put on blank media like recordable CDs? Well, apparently the Supreme Court isn't the last word on the matter. Earlier this year, we noted that the Canadian Private Copying Collective, the group that administers this "you must be a criminal" tax on media was pushing to get the levy included on iPods anyway. Now, the Copyright Board of Canada appears to be supporting that position, saying that it's clearly within the law to tax iPods and other such devices. As Michael Geist notes, the ruling could also apply to such things as personal computers as well, as the entertainment industry may now start to claim that it needs a tax on anything that can store recordable content, even as it continues to fight piracy in Canada. So, at what point do people realize that the entertainment industry is getting paid twice here? First when they get the "you must be a criminal" tax and then again when people buy legitimately purchased content.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 6:39pm

    Levy-free south of the border

    I have a co-worker who has parents that lives in the next state over.

    This state doesn't have a sales tax, the state we're in does. As a result
    he will occasionally tell his parents to buy certain big-ticket items
    before his trip home...

    Don't most people in Canada live near the US border?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 7:00pm

    how are they getting paid twice, if the songs were illegally downloaded? "You're a criminal", well you probably are. If you took a census of all the ipods being used, the majority contain illegally obtained songs. It's reasonable for the state to help cover artist's losses with music piracy so rampant today. Record companies aren't evil, you are for stealing music that people have put a lot of time and money into creating.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 7:15pm

    Re: Levy-free south of the border

    "Don't most people in Canada live near the US border?"

    Strange that you brought that up. I was just thinking that most people in US live near the Mexican border.

    /sarcasm

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Old Guy, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 7:18pm

    Piracy

    It's cool. I assume then that the American movie industry will be allowed to collect tariffs on all Canadian sold video cameras since half of the piracy is due to Canadians filming movies in the theater... hehe

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 7:21pm

    Re: Levy-free south of the border

    It is actually illegal to just go over to the States, purchase whatever (even clothes), and bring them back to Canada without paying customs fees. You never get checked/searched, but it is still illegal.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Joe, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 7:33pm

    Re:

    Have you actually researched where the money goes when you buy a CD? Talk about inflated and misplaced value!
    http://www.cnn.com/interactive/entertainment/0101/cd.price/frameset.exclude.html
    So where does the difference go when it's downloaded content? Sure you have bandwidth and storage fees, but those costs pale in comparison.
    The industry (and now politicians) have found a way to convince consumers (legal-downloaders) to pay more for less. So when you look at the "Record Companies" in this aspect, "evil" might be a bit strong, but it's definitely unmoral!

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    skimo, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 7:39pm

    Re: the majority contain illegally obtained songs

    How is Apple making money off i-tunes if the "majority" of i-pods contain pirated songs? I'm betting most i-pod users don't even know they can buy music from places other than i-tunes. There may be a large number of pirated songs out there, but there are even more legally bought CD's that are ripped to mp3's and placed on DAP's. For those of you that think i-pod is the name for every player out there, DAP stands for Digital Audio Player. Assuming that songs are illegal just because they are in digital form is unconstitutional in the US, guess not in Canada though. ;)

    Canadians, squash this movement before it's too late!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 7:53pm

    Levies aren't a 'tax' on illegal activity. Indeed, private copying -- the thing that the levy 'compensates' for -- is legal in Canada. What kind of logic could a government use to justify taxing an illegal activity? It would be an unbelievable conflict of interest; there would be actual disincentive to actual prohibit the activity.

    I don't agree with the levy but this whole 'taxing an illegal activity' rhetoric is absurd.

    Private copying should remain legal (and expanded from audio recordings) and the levy -- welfare for the recording industry -- should be abolished.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Re: Levy-free south of the border

    thats why you get a gift receit and claim it as a gift. Its legal and you don't have to pay the tax.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Matty, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: the majority contain illegally obtained so

    Two words about i-Tunes:
    Loss Leader

    Look it up. . . .

    -M

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 8:26pm

    As many people complain, piracy has built the music business. Many artists would get far less attention if people didnt share their music.

    Also, a downloaded song isnt necessarly a lost profit. Many people download things which they would never pay money for. Who wants to pay $25 for a CD when you only like one song?

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 9:45pm

    Re:


    Record companies aren't evil, you are for stealing music that people have put a lot of time and money into creating.


    The problem is that the money from most music sales aren't going to the people that worked to create it. It's going to some old guy in a suit that doesn't do anywhere near as much work as the artist that created it.

    This is just an attempt to keep their middleman role alive in a changing music distribution world.

    And as for the "you probably are" card:

    Most people in US prisons are young black males. Should we play the "you probably are" card here and just throw them all in jail before hand?

    Most people that drive have broken the speed limit at some point. Should we play the "you probably are" card here and just start mailing speeding tickets out to drivers everywhere?

    The most popular portable music player is the iPod. Should we play the "you probably are" card here and just take all other portable music players off the market?


    And speaking of this levy/tax/what-the-frack-ever will only be placed on iPods?

     

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  13.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 20th, 2007 @ 11:08pm

    Re:

    how are they getting paid twice, if the songs were illegally downloaded?

    For every legal purchase, they're now getting paid twice.

    Record companies aren't evil, you are for stealing music that people have put a lot of time and money into creating.

    Fascinating. I've never once downloaded an unauthorized song, so why would you accuse me of infringement? I'm simply pointing out that it makes no sense for the gov't to prop up a broken business model. And, by the way, learn the difference between infringement and stealing.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    James Jones, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 11:31pm

    Learn

    ...learn the difference between infringement and stealing...

    Technically, literally, fugitively, ethically, or morally?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 11:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Levy-free south of the border

    thats why you get a gift receit and claim it as a gift. Its legal and you don't have to pay the tax.
    When was fraud legalized?

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 11:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: the majority contain illegally obtaine

    Two words about i-Tunes:
    Loss Leader
    Look it up. . . .
    Two words:
    B*** S***
    Look those up.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 11:51pm

    Re: Learn

    Technically, literally, fugitively, ethically, or morally?
    Truthfully.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Musicless, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 12:15am

    Good thing there's no music worth listening to these days. All I need is dad's old tapes recorded from the radio back in his day.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    mike allen, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 2:59am

    Re:

    the only criminals are the record companies who tie up artists in contract that the actual artists get no copyright money what so ever the record company gets the lot and keeps it. They are the criminals.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    claire rand, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 3:44am

    I presume once you've paid this tax, you have 'paid' for the content you copy to such a device yes? presumably that means it no longer matters where that content comes from?

    I would assume someone with a good knowledge of the law, certainly a better knowledge than myself, could run with this. I would also have thought any possibility of a judge agreeing with it would lead to a very fast out of court settlement, or a dropping of charges totally (probably with a gagging agreement maybe).

    this could well be a two edged sword.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 6:26am

    Re:

    It already is - as far as I understand it, it's impossible to burn an infringing CD in Canada because once you've paid this levy, you have the right to all music on the CD.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Just Me, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 7:18am

    Re: dad's old tapes?

    Lol, just as an FYI - taping music off the radio IS copyright infringement. It was just as illegal back then only they didn't have a way to enforce those rules.

    Now they still can't enforce so they just levy everybody to make up the difference.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 7:29am

    Re:

    I presume once you've paid this tax, you have 'paid' for the content you copy to such a device yes?presumably that means it no longer matters where that content comes from?
    Unfortunately, no. As I understand it, the record industry claims that this tax is only payment for copying stuff that you already bought and paid for once. For example, making your own mix CDs from CDs that you already bought. The kind of thing that's covered by "fair use" in the US. That's why people complain about "paying twice". The record industry claims that it is still illegal to download "unauthorized" music in Canada even with this tax.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    sendeth, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 8:41am

    you know what assuming does

    you are assuming that everyone is a criminal. if you buy a song legally, than they ARE getting paid twice. this is just an incentive to steal all your music because you are only going to pay for it once. i intentionally steal most of my music just to say "to hell with the artist". except the really good ones who aren't whiny bitches wanting to sue everyone. how about embracing the new model laid out in front of them, rather than fight it and (as mc lars says) "run your label like it was 1992... you overcharged for music for years. all we are looking for is a level playing field."

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    sendeth, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 8:44am

    @post #2

    btw, i was addressing post #2

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Mystified, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 10:58am

    Re:

    Anonymous Coward comment 2 - Please learn to read! The post in comment 1 clearly states "and then again when people buy legitimately purchased content." We all should be able to figure out that if the content is stolen, then the second 'tax' isn't paid.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Corrupt, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re:

    "Good thing there's no music worth listening to these days. All I need is dad's old tapes recorded from the radio back in his day."

    I hate people like you. Plenty of good trance, electronic, and ambient music is recorded these days. People like you don't try hard enough.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    BECAREFULWHATYOUVOTEFOR, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 11:22am

    Nobody to blame but...

    Canadians and all those who live in democracies have only themselves to blame when Government entities run roughshod over them. They voted for these people. They are only a reflection of the idiots who put them in office. When the judges start legislating from the bench (judiciall tyranny) that is a different problem but still fixable by electing the correct people to appoint these black robed tyrants. Quit whining and start voting for those who respect, love and protect freedom.

    In the meantime, all Canadians are invited to buy their iPods in the good ole' US of A.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Humored, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 3:21pm

    iPod music

    I have an iPod with about 800 songs on it and ALL of them came off of LEGALLY PURCHASED CD'S by me (of which usually only one or two songs is WORTH listening to) and the rest were purchased on iTunes. I think if I purchase the music, whether it be on cd or on a legal internet site, that I should be able to put that song on any media I want for myself. I think the RI is completely full of (*&^ for saying that this music is stolen. Downloaded illegal music (that I've heard on others' players') is usually not worth buying. Seems anyone that can speak tries to "sing" and gets paid the big bucks..........witnessed on TV almost daily.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    R3d Jack, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 8:15pm

    Re:

    If your assessment is true, then we should simply pay the tax, which really covers unlimited downloading of material. Since we are all criminals by decree, the fact we are criminals really has no moral or ethical significance. Furthermore, everyone should download as much as possible, since we would be foolish to not get our money's worth.
    However, your incredibly self-righteous and arrogant assessment is false. The real solution is to find means to protect intellectual property without root-kitting the customer's PC or dragging people into court, claiming damages 10 or a 100 times the actual losses. I'm no fan of piracy, but the current behavior of the media industries is intolerable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    niftyswell, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 8:49pm

    Re:

    Is it just me or does it seem like the MPAA and RIAA have figured out this blog exists and always have someone quick to endorse the industry? Every time a story goes up about the assumptions of the recording industry leading to indiscriminate taxation there is immediately an anonymous coward backing the RIAA. If it werent for IPODS and their download site the industry would be all but dead by now. Keep up the taxation, lawsuits, or other ways of making money without adding any new creativity to your market and people will figure the best way to get around it is to go completely underground where they dont even engage in legitimate sales....just watch!

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 12:17am

    in Canada we can legaly download any copy protected content
    it is legal under the same law that allows our libraries to function
    so dont pay for a cd download it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Luci, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 1:04am

    Re: Re: dad's old tapes?

    Incorrect. It has always been /legal/, within the terms of fair use, to record music off the radio for your personal enjoyment. It is /illegal/ to record music off the radio to /sell/.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Eileen, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 7:57am

    why are we assuming that everyone steals?

    I have songs on my ipods from my personally purchased cd's and itunes. Why are most of you working under the assumption that stealing is the norm? The tax is stupid and just another in a slippery slope. I hope they squash it.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    TedK, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 8:28am

    Makes illegal content legal?

    I'd think this levy would be a good deal. Pretty hard to be accused of stealing something if you've paid for it:

    It's a levy on the content of your Ipod.
    Therefore, any content on your Ipod has been "paid" for.
    Therefore, so long as you only listen to downloaded content on the device - you are free to get the content anywhere you chose.

    If there is a levy at point of purchase, proving you've paid for the device is proof you've paid for any content on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: dad's old tapes?

    The "over the consumer owned airwaves" radio recordings are legal unless you attempt to resell them. They are there for anyone and everyone who has the equipment to receive it. The recording industry tried to sue to stop recording and the judge clarified how it was fair use of freely available content. Now we've got the next level of the fight with digital content.

    The recording industry took a few notes last time around and went in head first into this round by sponsoring the DMCA. Before the DMCA it was gray area for all reverse engineering but commonly accepted as fair use. You can still reverse engineer physical objects as fair use but with the DMCA you can't do anything to break digital encryption (cough, DeCSS).

    The DMCA also covered the butts of the satellite industries long enough for them to all but eliminate people using signals forced upon them. Once we get high quality fiber to the home as a commonplace thing, the phone companies will quickly beat out cable and satellite providers with On-Demand HD shows. And THAT is why there is a battle over net neutrality.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 10:21am

    Blank Media levy?

    Does this blank media levy apply to paper? I'd hate to think people may be copying the lyrics to songs and passing them on, or possibly even trying to reverse engineer it by coming up with sheet music.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 11:57am

    Re:

    You believe the "piracy is evil" bullshit the media companies force down our throats?

    You haven't been reading techdirt for very long have you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 3:16pm

    Lets squash piracy by making it more costly and complicated to do things legally!

    Ohh yeah, and all that money that is supposed to feed the "starving artists" instead goes to feed those "starving lawyers" who are paid round the clock to sue thousands of people for breaking unenforceable laws.

    You can't fight the future, the music and movie industry must adapt or die, thats just natural selection. People want I pods, and they don't want to get waxed on the music they buy. The people will get what they want in the end.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Canadiana, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Levy-free south of the border

    Ok, first, no Canadians do not mostly live close to the US border...get an atlas. The US is not the centre (yes, its CENTRE not CENTER) of the universe and we don't live in igloos.
    Second, What this does is make pirating legal. When someone is arrested, and charged with "stealing", the simple defense is...no I paid...the levy on the media is payment to the artist (at least that is what they levy is SUPPOSED to be for) and thus constitutes payment for said merchandise, namely the music.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Harry, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 4:00pm

    How much money are we talking about?

    This 'tax' is so little that it wouldn't pay for a guitar pick!

    A pack of 50 DVDs (including this media tax) costs maybe $25.00. I can copy and burn a million tunes with this much space - mighty lean pickins' for the artists!

    Same thing with iTunes - it's a drop in the bucket. Anyone who thinks this miniscule amount of money makes an illegal act legal must be smokin something!

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Asian, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 4:30pm

    watch the south park movie... and blame Canada .. blame Canada

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    comboman, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 6:44pm

    Another iPod tax?

    Considering iPods are already more than twice the price of an equivalent non-Apple MP3 player, the "You're A Criminal Tax" would be in addition to the "You're An Apple Fanboy Tax".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    divine inspiration, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 7:13pm

    Only a dumbhsit would pay for music. Seriously I have no friends who actually buy music anymore. Its not like record sales even pay an artist. Buying music is for dumb rednecks who don't know whats goin on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Wulven, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 9:43pm

    Re:

    I would agree with you in point of fact if the "artist" received even a remotely fair share of the profits.. The record companies themselves are evil incarnate as they with regularity ask us to pay HIGHLY inflated media prices, put up with ridiculous laws and lawsuits, and foolish regulations (an example of this is radio stations having to pay double royalties if the broadcast their show on the internet.. Which I believe has since been removed). If the record companies stuck to doing what they should. Publishing and promoting the music artists make. Costs would go down and their profits would go up. Instead they spend ungodly sums of money "fighting" piracy, and lobbying for stronger DMCA laws, and filing stupid lawsuits.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2007 @ 11:37pm

    Re: Re: Levy-free south of the border

    Well...the map of Canada shows that the northern end of country is inside
    the Arctic circle. This is the cold end of the country...it's probably
    warmer to the south.

    This includes the thing called the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor,
    which alone accounts for over 55% of the population.

    It's quite sensiable really-- build your house in a place
    where it's warm. I suspect that around there, igloos are built for fun...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2007 @ 5:28am

    Re:

    I have no problem buying music from artists that are not "represented" by the RIAA. At least in that case the money is actually going to the band thats busting its hump creating and playing music and all actual contributing parties involved and not going to some old guy in a suit that does nothing but sit in a boardroom counting money.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    YouKnowNothing, Jul 23rd, 2007 @ 6:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Trance Music" is an oxymoron.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    YouKnowNothing, Jul 23rd, 2007 @ 6:39am

    Re: Learn

    Legally...the only difference that really matters here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    SailorRipley, Jul 23rd, 2007 @ 7:37am

    Re: Nobody to blame but...

    and in what kind of vacuum have you been living your entire life?

    people living in democracies don't have themselves to blame for voting for "those people"...big business gives contributions to every candidate and expects "payback" once elected, regardless of what party the candidate belongs to or what platform he runs on (yes, of course there are exceptions). But to big business, it doesn't matter whether it's a Bush or a Clinton in the White House, or whether there's a Republican or Democratic majority in the House or Senate, a sufficient amount of members have been bought, lock, stock & barrel, so it really doesn't matter who you vote for

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2007 @ 8:23am

    Re: Another iPod tax?

    I've heard it all before, things like "twice the price of an equivalent non-Apple MP3 player"

    please tell me where I can buy a 80GB mp3 player for $175 or less...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    Nick (profile), Jul 23rd, 2007 @ 10:13am

    How about adding this one to law: The "Your a Murderer" tax (aka prison/death penalty) to anyone who buys a gun?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Lummer, Jul 23rd, 2007 @ 2:37pm

    Are they not ENCOURAGING piracy now...

    If we have to pay this levy, does this not legalize downloading music for free? You know, since we are being taxed already...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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