Canadian Copyright Levy Group Wants New iPod Tax... But It's Not Really For The Artists

from the doing-the-math dept

Last week, a few folks submitted the news that the Canadian Private Copying Collective, who collects a tax (levy) on every blank CD sold in Canada is now, once again, pushing for a tax on every iPod sold. They try to do this pretty much every year. A few years ago, Canadian courts struck down an attempt to do so. Then there was another try which, again, was struck down with the court pointing out that they'd covered this in the past.

But they're back at it again. And it's really no wonder. Already the cost of a blank CD in Canada has an astounding 90% of the price go to this levy. But what happens to all that money? Well, the CPCC claims that it needs this levy to sustain the livelihood of artists. That's also its reasoning for extending it to iPods. But, Howard Knopf dug into the numbers a bit and notes how laughable that claim is. First, CPCC claims that its brought in over $150 million from the blank CD levy, and handed it out to 97,000 rights holders "most of whom would not be able to continue their careers without this revenue."

That's quite a claim, isn't it? But if you just do the most basic division, you'll find that it makes no sense at all. At $150 million over ten years for 97,000 rights holders, you're talking about $160 per year on average. And, of course, the truth is that it's significantly less for most, and much bigger for a very small number. I think it's safe to conclude that "most" of the 97,000 rightsholders aren't relying on CPCC money for any kind of career. Oh, but you know who did get a lot of money to play with? CPCC. Knopf notes that:
About $22 million has gone to the costs of pursuing Copyright Board tariffs (lawyers, consultants, surveys, etc.), collection and enforcement (e.g. lawyers and auditors), and other causes such as "communications and government relations - $1,272,000." And that's only the end of 2007.
But it's all about the artists, right?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    Fair Trade?

    Seriously, any Canucks up there willing to trade medicine for CDs?

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 9:54am

    Consequences and reprecusions up in here?

    "They try to do this pretty much every year."

    They do? In the same name filing and it's easily identified as an identical law/suit/whatever? Is there no Judge Mathis in Canada willing to start berrating these groups on national television for wasting everyone's time and money?

    "Already the cost of a blank CD in Canada has an astounding 90% of the price go to this levy."

    Well, yeah, it's outlandish, but to be fair now we don't have to deal with lawsuits against individual filesharers....oh, we do? Well then THAT doesn't make sense either. Plus, in my humble opinion, that group owes an awful lot of money to people buying blank media for legitimate use. An AWFUL lot of money.

    "Well, the CPCC claims that it needs this levy to sustain the livelihood of artists."

    Huh. Odd how the taxing claims of the CPCC and the CCCP seem to line up fairly well, with what appears to be equal levels of corruption. Coincidence?

    "you're talking about $160 per year on average."

    Yeah, but when you do the conversion rate, that's like $190 in US dollars. Feel better?

    "and other causes such as "communications and government relations - $1,272,000.""

    .....and now we can toss allt he humor directly out the window. 1.3 million in communications and government relations? Uh, why are we hiding the word lobbying all of the sudden? Has that become a four letter word? And if it has, maybe instead of hiding your shitty practices you should just stop them? Guys? Heeeeelllllllooooooo?

     

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    AnonCow, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:01am

    That's probably $149.9M for Bryan Adams, Gordon Lightfoot, and Rush. The other $100K goes to other Canadian "artists"...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:04am

    "Canadian Copyright Levy Group Wants New iPod Tax... But It's Not Really For The Artists"

    Somebody needs to support their Crystal Meth habit.

    Something seriously ain't right, man.

     

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      Ryan, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:10am

      Re: "Canadian Copyright Levy Group Wants New iPod Tax... But It's Not Really For The Artists"

      yeah well, you know, that's just like, uhh...your opinion, man.

       

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        Ryan Poopy Pants, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:16am

        Re: Re: "Canadian Copyright Levy Group Wants New iPod Tax... But It's Not Really For The Artists"

        Uh, yeah, man!

        We need all the best people we can get. The Cremme-de-la Cremme as the man used to say, and that starts with people who know how to make a decision that doesn't look like it came out of left field. Are these guys meditating on Crystal Balls, or Crystal Meth?

        Because something ain't right, man.

         

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re: "Canadian Copyright Levy Group Wants New iPod Tax... But It's Not Really For The Artists"

        Lord I love a good Dude reference.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:34am

        Re: Re: "Canadian Copyright Levy Group Wants New iPod Tax... But It's Not Really For The Artists"

        Here's another reason, Ryan: These guys are coming to Governments with tincups looking for money.

        No one in Canadian parliament said "Hey, let's start a program and give money away to the artists directly, and they have to take the money, and if they don't, they'll be fined." But these idiots came to elected officials, with agendas and tincups in-hand. When that happens, there have to be expectations that people start telling them what to do. If they do add yet another tax, they better by-gum take a percentage ownership in the business, otherwise they will come back in a few years for another tax.

        I wonder if these guys just take their brains out of their heads and play with them, as if that's all they are good for.

         

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          TW Burger (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 1:49pm

          Re: Re: Re: "Canadian Copyright Levy Group Wants New iPod Tax... But It's Not Really For The Artists"

          Exactly: Two of them together and they can play dice.

           

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          wvhillbilly (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 10:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: "Canadian Copyright Levy Group Wants New iPod Tax... But It's Not Really For The Artists"

          I wonder if these guys just take their brains out of their heads and play with them, as if that's all they are good for.

          Maybe they have tapeworm mentality.

          Get it? Tapeworm = parasite?

          About like class action lawsuits in the USA. The lawyers get $millions, the plaintiffs get coupons. And the defendant gets the shaft.

           

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    Rabbit80, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    Shouldn't the $22 million be taken from the $150 million - leaving an average of just $132 per artist per year?

     

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      Luci, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

      Re:

      That wasn't per artist...

       

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        Twisted Insanity (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

        Re: Re:

        First, CPCC claims that its brought in over $150 million from the blank CD levy, and handed it out to 97,000 rights holders


        At $150 million over ten years for 97,000 rights holders, you're talking about $160 per year on average.


        Yes it is, and yes that $22m should be deducted before the "artists" gets paid.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Solution is obvious

    Spend some of the tax training artists to become lobbyists and litigators. It's the only way they'll see any real money.

     

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    NullOp, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:27am

    Tax....

    This is just another shake-down attempt by a group claiming to help the artist. They couldn't care less about the artists! This group needs to be shut down, NOW!

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    Just a thoughtabout not for profits ....


    is this CPCC a government not for profit?
    this line "The power to enact and enforce a tax levy." make me think it is.
    If so shouldn't their books be open to public scrutiny?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    iPods

    See the beatiful USA, buy an iPod.

     

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    iNtrigued (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 11:44am

    Micro$oft is at it again!

    This is obviously Microsoft's doing. Anything to slow iPod sales. Those Greedy Bastards!

     

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    TW Burger (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 1:47pm

    SCAM!

    The Canadian Private Copying Collective is a group of fraud artists not entertainers. I have asked around and only once met omeone that was a professional musician (studio guitarist) that received a subsidy from the CPCC. He signed up and got $12 - once.

    This is a bunch of suits and lawyers getting big money for next to nothing. It's amazing what monumental greed and no morals can achieve.

    I will not buy an iPod if this passes and I will vote against any government that allows it.

     

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    captn, trips, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

    common cents

    To re-iterate ... It's unethical to support these oppressive regimes. They collect money from consumers and use it to undermine their rights. Very simply put, who wants to pay tax in 1943's Germany???

    I've spent so much time in Canada that it's like a second home to me. I find it hard to believe that it's so corrupt that it can justify taking bribes from sleazzy suits over the good of its own people. I mean CDs are used for data more than audio these days...

    So where might one live thats outside of the reach of the corruption? that would make an interesting post. The top 10 countries for intellectual freedoms.

     

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      Louis, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:30pm

      Re: common cents

      But that means that the music industry hasn't been able to sue anyone in Canada. The courts have rules that because of the levy, people are already paying for the copying, so the courts have squashed any lawsuits against copiers.

       

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        Blaise Alleyne (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 11:41pm

        Re: Re: common cents

        "But that means that the music industry hasn't been able to sue anyone in Canada. The courts have rules that because of the levy, people are already paying for the copying, so the courts have squashed any lawsuits against copiers."


        But it's a really weak bandaid solution. If Canadians are already paying for the copying... then why would we need to pay for it again with a digital audio player levy? What about copying on laptop hard drives? When are they going to target other devices, and what's the reason or rationale for which devices get taxed and which don't (aside from simply "whichever devices they can get away with taxing...")?

        The levy is not an appropriate substitute for user rights.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 6:02pm

    "But they're back at it again. And it's really no wonder. Already the cost of a blank CD in Canada has an astounding 90% of the price go to this levy."

    More examples of how rich and powerful corporations get their way against the will of the people no matter what. Then they turn around and claim to be free market capitalists when ALL they do is distort the free market with their lobbying power in ways that benefit them alone and harm everyone else.

     

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    Louis, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:18pm

    Prices of CDs and DVDs

     

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    Louis, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:26pm

    Prices of CDs and DVDs

    As I was reading the article, I decided to go look at the prices of DVDs and CDs in the online store. I went to Futureshop, a staple of electronic merchandise here in Canada. The blank CDs are more expensive than the blank DVDs by quite a bit. The Fujifilm 100-Pack 16X 4.7GB DVD-R Spindle is $22.99 on sale while the Verbatim CDR 52X 50-Pack Spindle
    are $25.99. So the CDs are already twice as expensive and the DVDs. Now, those are the sale prices, but on a per disk cost, even on regular prices, CDs are more expensive.

    For the people that want links as proof, here it is. http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/class.asp?logon=&langid=EN&catid=23033

     

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      wvhillbilly (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 10:32pm

      Re: Prices of CDs and DVDs

      In the USA I can get a 100 spindle pack of data CDRs for around $19 at Sam's Club. Music CDRs which are the only kind that will work on CD recorders cost substantially more, like around $40 for a 100 spindle pack, because they carry the RIAA tax.

       

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    Painter, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 4:40pm

    Is it a

    The word 'tax' and the word 'royalty' as in copyright are, in reality, completely opposite in both intention and effect. It seems that in many parts of the world, the two concepts are frequently and rather wilfully confused. Is this Canadian scheme actually viewed as a royalty? It is clearly tax-like. In Australia a similar levy on blank recording tapes was struck down by the Supreme Court for the exact reason that it was redistributive (tax-like), there were no individual copyright owners (even in theory) and therefore was not a valid copyright. The Goods and Services Tax in Australia replaced an extremely confusing and complex system of sales taxes that varied enormously across very similar products. There is now just one flat transaction tax on all now. Most countries have some form of GST/VAT. How is it possible to have on top of this, specialised transaction taxes? It seems to be a complete contradition. Regarding the $23 million in management fees, the correct term for the promoters of these schemes is RENT-SEEKERS. An important advantage of a flat GST type of tax is that it fences off one of the most lucrative areas for rent-seeking and that is, specialised forms of transaction taxes justified by a rich fudge of sentimental toss about poor, exploited artists, laid on very thickly by managements.

     

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    painter, Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 6:49pm

    The FCA ruling 2008 re 'Ipod tax'

    [3] The applicants, supported by the intervener, have submitted a number of different
    legal arguments in support of their challenge to the decision of the Copyright Board, but
    in my view it is necessary to consider only the principle established in Canadian Private
    Copying Collective v. Canadian Storage Media Alliance (C.A.), [2005] 2 F.C.R. 654,
    which is dispositive. I read that case as authority for the proposition that the Copyright
    Board has no legal authority to certify a tariff on digital audio recorders or on the
    memory permanently embedded in digital audio recorders. That proposition is binding
    on the Copyright Board: Canada v. Hollinger Inc. (C.A.), [2000] 1 F.C. 227, at
    paragraph 30.
    (Emphasis added)

    What are CPCC on? this is only a year ago- and it is a final
    ruling: go away, dont even think of it!

     

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    Marty Peterson, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 8:58pm

    CPCC Blank Levy Unfair to Artists

    Unfortunately the payouts to artists are based on radio play and record sales. Most music that is copied onto cd's and iPods doesn't get played on the radio or appear on billboard charts. These artists get nothing from the CPCC levy.

     

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    J-Man, Apr 29th, 2011 @ 9:09pm

    CPCC = Self perpetuating bureaucracy:
    "The sky is falling, we need to add a levy to this product to put money in our pockets...Err to help these poor starving artists"

     

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