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?