Canadian Recording Industry Suddenly Against Private Copying Levy It Fought So Hard For

from the suing-is-more-lucrative dept

For many years, the recording industry has been able to convince the Canadian government that it needs to add a "private copying levy" to various forms of blank media, to reimburse the industry for any "private copying" that happens on that media. This is pretty questionable for a number of reasons -- basically amounting to a government tax to support a private industry and its inability to adapt its business model to the market. At times, this private copying levy can be an astounding 70% of the cost of blank CDs. Once mp3 players (specifically the iPod) started to become popular, the recording industry fought to have the private levy attached to those players as well. In late 2003, the industry got its wish -- but with a catch. A ruling found that the devices could be taxed, but if they were, then downloading unauthorized content would be seen as legal (uploading unauthorized content would still be illegal). A judge later overturned the iPod levy, but some in the industry have kept fighting for it, and the Copyright Board of Canada supports extending the levy to iPods.

However, in a surprise move, the Canadian Recording Industry Association (basically, Canada's version of the RIAA -- controlled by American record labels, of course) has come out against extending the private copying levy to mp3 players, admitting that if the levy is extended (even though it will send millions of dollars directly into recording industry bank accounts), Canadians may (incorrectly, in the view of the CRIA) start to believe that downloading is legal. Of course, some people pointed out this loophole in the recording industry's efforts to extend the private copying levy years ago -- but it seems that it just occurred to the powers that be. Once again, it's a case for the industry to be careful what it wishes for. The private copying levy makes the industry a ton of money, but does so at the expense of anger from purchasers of any blank media. Still, that anger is probably better than the anger generated by thousands of lawsuits against file sharers based on flimsy evidence.

Filed Under: copyright, downloading, ipods, levy, private copying
Companies: cria, riaa

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  1. identicon
    His Shadow, 17 Sep 2007 @ 10:21am

    My brother has already beat me up on this so I am here to pass it on.

    Essentially, the CRIA has never supported the levy on CDs. And they made their opposition to the expansion of this levy a year ago or more. The levy is administered by the CPCC.

    The CPCC is the organization which wants to expand the levy they administer and the CRIA is making their opposition to this expansion public.

    I am certainly not a fan of organizations which appear to be using the courts to prop up failing business models.

    That said, the misinformation currently spreading around the web like wildfire is painting an inaccurate picture of the situation with regard to the Canadian CD levy. The CRIA was not a member of the CPCC only apparently saw the levy as an interim measure. .HERI26.000001.AA1300.A

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