Canadian Appeals Court Rules That ISPs Don't Have To Pay Copyright Levy
from the not-everyone-is-a-criminal dept
Up in Canada, it seems that there’s a constant push to expand copyright levies (the “you must be a criminal tax”) to nearly everything from iPods to ISPs, despite the fact that many people recognize what a joke the levies have become. After failing to get it expanded to cover iPods, supporters of the levy pushed for ISPs to have to pay the levy, because people using their internet connection might possibly access content. Thankfully, a Canadian appeals court pointed out that access to broadcasts of content is not the same thing as broadcasting it and rejected adding the “you must be a criminal” tax to internet access.
Of course, there is one rather interesting part of the ruling, which is that the court notes that one of the reasons for this ruling is that ISPs are effectively “content neutral.” If they were to stop that (i.e., and break net neutrality concepts), they could open themselves up to having this tax come back:
In providing access to “broadcasting”, ISPs do not transmit programs. As such, they are not “broadcasting” and therefore they do not come within the definition of “broadcasting undertaking”. In so holding, I wish to reiterate as was done in CAIP that this conclusion is based on the content-neutral role of ISPs and would have to be reassessed if this role should change
This is notable because, as in the US, there has been talk among ISPs of breaking basic net neutrality concepts. Perhaps this ruling will get them to think twice.