Canadian Writers Guild Wants 'You Must Be A Criminal' Tax On Both Distribution And Storage Of Content

from the well-that's-sensible dept

Canada has long had a blank media levy on things like blank CDs, which is a sort of "you must be a criminal" tax on things. Of course, what it really does is drive down the usage of blank CDs by making them ridiculously expensive -- such that, in some cases, it accounts for 90% of the price of a blank CD. There have been failed efforts to extend such a levy to things like iPods, and Michael Geist alerts us to the news that the Writers Guild of Canada is proposing extending levies to all distribution and storage -- including things like DVRs. Yes, because when you time shift that TV program, you're a thief and should have to pay extra for it. Beyond just being a "you must be a criminal" tax, this really seems like a way of double, triple or quadruple charging people for the same media. Say you buy a song on iTunes, which you've paid for. But then you also need to pay the levy to the ISP for distribution. So now you've paid twice. But then you need to pay a levy for your hard drive to store it. So that's three times. Oh, and then another levy on your iPod to transfer the song to that. So you've paid four times for the same song. That makes so much sense, doesn't it?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), May 7th, 2010 @ 3:43am

    Then all filesharing in Canada should then be made legal. They can't have their cake and eat it too.

    Either levies and legal filesharing, or criminalize filesharing but don't collect any fees.

     

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  2.  
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    Geezer, May 7th, 2010 @ 5:01am

    It makes so much sense that I do not feel the need to have any media or storage.

    Oh, and get off my lawn!

     

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  3.  
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    Michael, May 7th, 2010 @ 5:02am

    Re:

    They are already a haven for these file-sharing, pirate, miscreants.

    (do I need to say this was sarcastic?)

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 5:27am

    These kind of shenanigans are why I and every Canadian I know feels absolutely no obligation whatsoever to pay for music. (In the circles I travel, the general view is "Never pay for music. They don't deserve to be paid twice.")

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 5:39am

    "Then all filesharing in Canada should then be made legal. They can't have their cake and eat it too"

    Unfortunatly when the government gets involved to assist their paymasters companies can often have their cake & eat it too.

     

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  6.  
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    Nobody, May 7th, 2010 @ 5:40am

    It seems to me that, if I was paying a tax on blank CDs because an assumption was made that I would copy music, that would actually give me the *right* to use those CDs to copy music.

    After all, I've paid for the right, haven't I?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 5:45am

    Re:

    well it makes sense. why should someone be paid 50 times for one song? They should be focusing on making music easier and faster to get from them and the cost an affordable monthly fee. I shall call this MAS or Music As a Service. They could gather better metrics on the songs that are popular and which ones are bad. A platform to promote concerts, sell tickets, and scarcities. Basically a one stop shop for all music needs and that would be a nice new business model.

     

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  8.  
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    NullOp, May 7th, 2010 @ 5:47am

    Canada

    We shoulda taken them a long time ago!

     

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  9.  
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    Josef, May 7th, 2010 @ 5:48am

    I don't get it

    I'm not sure I understand how they can tax the media that many times. Are all these levies and taxes added to the purchase on iTunes? Because otherwise you could only tax the HD and iPod only once.

    This doesn't make sense. If Canada were to overtax the media then most people would be criminals because the price would push people to file sharing as the only reasonable way to get media.

     

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  10.  
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    Vaudevillian, May 7th, 2010 @ 5:57am

    Re: Re:

    I proposed that to the government already. If we already pay for it through taxes. downloading should be made legal and tracked to find out where those collected funds should go.

    I had a complete write up about it and distributed it to different departments of the government.

    that way you can download anything legally and everyone gets paid.

     

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  11.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 7th, 2010 @ 6:03am

    Re: I don't get it

    They want to add a tax to the price of the hard drive or the iPod at the time of purchase. Judging from the up to 900% increase in the price of CDs, the relatively small number of MP3s that can be put on the CD, and the fact that an MP3 can only be burned to that CD once, I'd guess that the price of an iPod would rise to a few thousand dollars. Ha, maybe that's where the 1G = $18,000 is coming from.

     

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  12.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 7th, 2010 @ 6:04am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, Canada is the source for 70% of all piracy. New York City is also the source for 40%.

     

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  13.  
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    JEDIDIAH, May 7th, 2010 @ 6:20am

    Re: I don't get it

    The tax seems to exist for any possibly medium that your purchased song might pass through. Instead of being charged for this alleged piracy once, you get charged for it N times where N is the number of storage devices that the song passes through.

    For the iTunes example it's going to be at least 2 since you need to buy the song in the first place (tax #1). Then you put it on your portable device (tax #2).

    Then there are all of the other bits of media that may or may not ever hold music of any sort. (legal or otherwise)

    If I was Canadian I would be pissed. You don't need the DMCA and you certainly don't deserve to be on the RIAA watchlist.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 6:39am

    Who is still buying blank CDs? That's so 90s. I got myself a Synology 4TB NAS. It's an amazing NAS and it does bit torrent. I'm a music lover. Over the years I've bought hundreds of CDs. Many of them were total crap with one good song. In any other industry I would be able to return a crappy product so it's time for payback. Now I discover music at the Pirate Bay, Demonoid and other indexers. If I really like it and they are not with the big labels I buy it. If they are with the big a-holes they don't get a cent from me.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 6:51am

    A couple of things...

    First of all, the levy isn't to subsidize illegal actions. It's exact purpose, as publicly stated, is to provide compensation to artists for private copying of copyrighted works, which has been a perfectly legal activity. Regardless of the ethicality of them wanting a slice of that pie, the activity being "taxed" by the levy is still entirely legal. Again, the levy does not legalize filesharing in Canada, it is to subsidize private copying only. The confusion often arises because of a court case in Canada where the judge appeared to legalize firesharing, but the judge was actually focusing strictly on the activities of the person being tried directly, and as far as this person was concerned, he was really copying something for his own private use. That it also happened to be publicly shared (by somebody else) was deemed superfluous to the case.

    Second of all, the Conservative Party of Canada, with less than 5 percentage points short of a majority government in parliament, has often stated that they strongly oppose the expansion of the levy. However, this same government also wants to bring into legislation amendments to the copyright act that will make it illegal to engage in any form of private use copying of digital works except those where the publisher has expressly permitted it (either by providing tools to the consumer or else by not having copy protections on their works). If such legislation passes, the levy will become utterly unjustified even from the stance of organizations that benefit from it, and is liable to be abandoned because taxation without representation is illegal (the levy is already questionable on this basis, in spite of its claims, but without private use copying being legal, it loses even the weak justification it once had). Thus, it makes sense why the Conservatives oppose the levy expansion, and why they will likely want the levy dropped entirely if they get these amendments put through.

     

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  16.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), May 7th, 2010 @ 7:28am

    levy on all media that COULD be used for copies

    it is to subsidize private copying only

    Same in Germany. Of course you're no longer allowed to make private copies since the industry managed to get a law passed that actually forbids it as soon as the media (albeit paid for and yours to own) has any form of copy protection (even as easy to break like CSS on DVDs).

    Currently the collection agencies and hardware manufactures are fighting to agree on which levy is acceptable for PCs (no matter if they come with a DVD writer or not).

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 7:30am

    people should revolt against the tax by being against those who do break the law and do steal content. if there was less piracy, and more people actually paying for content, there would be no need for such a tax. another example of certain people having to pay for the freeloaders.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 7:39am

    Re:

    Downloading is already legal, for private use. It's the uploading (sharing) which is infringement.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 7:45am

    Re:

    Well, the tax isn't because of piracy - it's supposed to subsidize private copying. That a lot of people happen to abuse the legality of private copying to engage in illegal copyright infringement is another matter entirely.

    I suppose where it gets dicey is when you buy CD's and use them only for data... you are essentially being taxed for something you aren't doing, although if one is willing to keep a detailed and provable accounting of how, exactly, they use blank any blank media, they can apply for a refund of the levy on CD's that are used for data. Although admittedly it's not generally viable for private individuals because there's not enough accountability for the records-keeping, but businesses can and often will do it. About the only real argument left for it is that sometimes people pay taxes for things they don't actually utilize anyways, on the grounds that they are always free to utilize them, such as how a portion of one's property tax in a city goes towards public transit, even though a person may not ever take the bus.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    Re: levy on all media that COULD be used for copies

    Well, somebody offshore breaks the digital lock, and then in Germany or Canada you are free to download for personal use.

    There is no way that ACTA will take effect in each and every jurisdiction in the world.

    There is always a Cayman Islands or a swiss bank account of the world to run to; it's what the rich do. Follow how they hide.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    Re:

    It's not stealing, it's infringement.

    And private copying in Canada is not infringement.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 7:56am

    Re:

    Well, no. In the U.S. the government pays for R&D and then they have to pay again, monopoly/patent prices/ to benefit from the R&D they already paid for.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    Did any musician get money from the CD levy?

    Does anybody know (references please) if the Canadian collection societies ever paid out any money from the CD levy to artists?

    If so, how much and to who.

    Also, how much money has been collected so far?

    If the answers to these questions are what I expect them to be (nothing paid out of a large amount collected) then is this not clear evidence of a fraud that the Writers Guild wants to repeat?

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 8:01am

    Re:

    "people should revolt against the tax by being against those who do break the law and do steal content."

    Why should it be breaking the law to make copies of something you're already paying for via a tax. I'm not against those people who "break the law" because the law itself is retarded. Canadians are paying a tax to allow them to make copies, they can go right ahead and do it as far as I'm concerned.

    and do you honestly believe the tax reflects the amount of people file sharing or that stopping these imaginary file sharers would fix anything? These taxes are merely a money grab. People should revolt against the tax by starting huge protests against the govt.

     

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  25.  
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    WammerJammer (profile), May 7th, 2010 @ 8:08am

    Stranglehold

    I quote: 'The tighter your grip, the more Star Systems will slip through your fingers.'. I think that's copyrighted but appropriate. Bye bye business with Canada as they strangle what small creative force they have. Just like who needs Arizona? What do they provide that I need? Nada.

     

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  26.  
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    R, May 7th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    I thought Canada had somewhat decent IP laws, but if they're being taxed for the right to make private copies, a right that even the US enjoys for free...

     

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  27.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), May 7th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re:

    From http://riaa.com/faq.php
    Q: Is it still illegal to download music on P2P sites like LimeWire, BitTorrent and Ares?

    Absolutely. We will continue to monitor these and others and send notices to ISPs upon detection of illegal file-sharing activity. Additionally, we will continue to hold file-trafficking services responsible. That is and always has been our number one preference. We are not out of the anti-piracy business and will continue to focus and invest time and resources in going after the illegal services that facilitate and encourage theft.

     

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  28.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), May 7th, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I understand, and halfway agree, but then you have people with no music on their hard drive or downloaded via their ISP paying for nothing.

    Doesn't seem fair, does it?

     

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  29.  
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    beakman, May 7th, 2010 @ 8:49am

    uh.... what?

    So, the Canadian GOVERNMENT wants you to pay them because you're stealing media from the creators of that media? What????? That amounts to the end user NOT stealing, because they are in fact paying, so then the government ends of with the money, not the creator. So now the government is stealing from the creator.

    Oh, and I'm now officially quitting my job to become a media smuggler into Canada. Wonder how many hard drives I can hide in my underwear each trip?

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Re: uh.... what?

    Want to kiester a flash drive for me, baby?

     

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  31.  
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    BigKeithO, May 7th, 2010 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Q: Is it legal to download P2P music in Canada?

    A (Micheal Giest): "Canada has a private copying levy, which grants the right to make personal, non-commercial copies of sound recordings. The Copyright Board of Canada has ruled that the source of the music for the copy does not matter. This means it could be a copy of a CD you own, a CD from the library, or arguably a copy from a peer-to-peer system. In return for this copying, there is a levy on blank media (such as blank CDs) that has generated over $200 million for the industry and artists over the last number of years. Note that the right to make private copies of sound recordings does not extend to other media such as video."

    Owned. RIAA can stay in the US, we're still a separate country.

     

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  32.  
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    BigKeithO, May 7th, 2010 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nope, it sure doesn't. But lots of things aren't fair in life. Guess it would be in everyone's best interest to start downloading if they did this.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 10:16am

    Re: uh.... what?

    I don't believe that this is a tax that goes to the Canadian government. It is a levy that is remitted to the collection societies who are supposed to then give it to the artists. Only, AFAIK, they do not do that - they keep the money for themselves.

    So it is _worse_ than a government tax which at least might get spent on something of common good.

    It is a government collected corporate levy that is then trousered by the mafIAA while they continue to lobby the government to imprison citizens.

     

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  34.  
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    NAMELESS ONE, May 7th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    OK folks - blank MEDIA levy - not blank MUSIC levy

    NOW i went a whil backand contributed to the fair copyright for canada that turned out to in the end to be swarmed with marketers nd swarmed with lawyrs for the industry

    IT BECAME A JOKE
    but in a shinng brief moment 95 000 of us did make a statement nd no where no country has ever done so much to prevent abuse of these mafia driven cartels.

    I sat there for a month working on a levy like system while the industry shills attacked and attacked and attacked until they looked soooo bone headedly retarded i just gave up.

    ANYHOW it will never work cause THEY WANT CONTROL OF IT
    and they will up and up and up the cost till us fucking poor disabled cant afford the internet
    I SWEAR if i come across any musicians or actors in the next 6 weeks im a fucking beat you to a pulp as a message
    IM FUCKING SICK AND TIRED OF PANDERING TO LAWYERS AND FUCKING GREEDY MOTHERFUCKING coke headed asswipes that are so fraking lazy that with hollywood and music they'd all be bums on a street half dead form starvation.

    UNLKESS the majority of a council over looking it is elected by non association members of music and industry i say NO TO THEM
    agree to that simple thing and you could sell it , we can even experiment with letting PEOPLE online vote and yes that means some development there but in the right way.
    THUS you have people with net accounts get a vote card and youd be able to vote. OTHERWISE fuck it im never going to sanction such a thing.

    IF you want to see how it currently works look at how the CRIA even before th levy hasn't paid 300000 ARTITS since 1980 in a 6 billion dollar lawsuit. THATS WHO THE THIEVES ARE.
    COMMERCIALLY SELLING GOODS owned by others is a 20000$ offense per item. thats 60 billion dollar fine...if one album per artist.....ya see now where hollywood profits been coming from?

    WE should have the RCMP go arrest them all and toss them into life in prison as a message to treasonous politicians looking to get a bribe.

    btw that Geist is wrong
    its a "blank media levy"
    not a "blank MUSIC levy"

    this means non commercial downloading of all things and trust me they WANT geist drilling JUST MUSIC into your heads hes a puppet. MEMBER the fight i got into with him of TPM which is just fancy hardware DRM?
    member the fight over how he started appearing at conservative meetings about the so called copyright consultation
    member the fight over warrant less search and seizure laws?

    yea hes a lawyer they all the same and hes making money no matter what you or anyone says off IP. HE'D be unemployed otherwise. HE got sued and now even though he won he just presents information will not speculate no more or add it all. THE comments on his site after hes done censoring it hard core look like a lawyer form the cria owns the site.

    JOKE BIGTIME.
    he claims fair copyright for canada
    BUT that means same as it is which is still balanced far to the right for the industry and not the end user.

    FAIR wold be at worst 15 year copyrights and 8 - 10 year patents
    fair would be NO MORE levies then.
    FAIR would be making it a treasonous offense to bribe or lobby a poltician or govt emploee when you represent any foreign entity( READ THAT RIGHT - TREASONABLE OFFENSE)
    that would be what fair is ,
    NOT increasing terms to 80 years
    NOT making a download non commercially the same as a commercial sale - 20000$ fine or max 2.7 years prison at 90,000 $ a year to the tax payer.
    NOT makign it so that its again so vague as to be interpreted by your favorite judge whose investment portfolio happens to include hollywood and RIAA
    YA know that clause of ACTA where you dont know if more then 2 of a thing makes you an infringer? is it two tracks of a song , 2 seconds , 2 minutes of a movie WHAT?

    this law will cost the tax payers billions literally billions and they will get nothing in return
    NOTHING.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 11:00am

    the blank media levy -revenues

    actually geist i dont know where he gets his nfo but just last year alone it generated 75 million
    the previous two years was around 40 million each

    so if you figure how long its been in affect

    well its a lot more.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_copying_levy#Canada

    1997 so you can guess that as i said its almost up to half a billion dollars OF YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY GOING to these pumpkin head lawyers to go around bribe other nations and bribe your politicians

    and put lil kids in jail sue there parents
    and harm the disabled of our nations

    SO
    HARPER I WONT SHUT THE FUCK UP EITHER

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2010 @ 11:19am

    Re: OK folks - blank MEDIA levy - not blank MUSIC levy

    And the point of that endless, poorly-formatted, poorly-written blather was what, again?

     

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  37.  
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    Craig (profile), May 7th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Canada

    You tried, but we beat your asses back to DC and burned down the Whitehouse. 'nuff said.

     

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  38.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), May 8th, 2010 @ 3:16am

    Re: Re: levy on all media that COULD be used for copies

    Well, somebody offshore breaks the digital lock, and then in Germany or Canada you are free to download for personal use.

    No you're not cause said law also comes with a clause that forbids you from downloading material from "obvious" illegal sources.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: OK folks - blank MEDIA levy - not blank MUSIC levy

    rd gets like that sometimes.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2010 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Re: OK folks - blank MEDIA levy - not blank MUSIC levy

    what, like a paranoid liar?

     

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


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