Private Copying Tariff increase

2008-12-12

in Canada, Economics, Law, Music, Politics

Canada has increased its Private Copying Tariff on writable CDs from 21 cents to 29 cents. Supposedly, the purpose of the tariff is to pay artists back for unauthorized copying. In total, the levy generates about $30 million per year. 66% of the revenues go to eligible authors and publishers, 18.9% to eligible performers, and 15.1% to record companies. That being said, the tariff does not give consumers a clear right to make copies of their music. It certainly will not do so if the new copyright bill tabled by the Conservative Party becomes law.

It is clearly unfair to assume that all writable CDs will be used to copy commercial music. It is also clearly odd to levy the tax on CDs but not DVDs, and to not make clear what rights are conveyed by the existence of the tariff.

Hopefully, we will see this system rendered more rational through future government policies and court decisions. Whatever your feelings on the ethics of copyright, the current arrangement is an ugly muddle.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Aliens December 12, 2008 at 8:01 am

Pod people make bad policy.

Milan December 12, 2008 at 9:14 am

The tariff was created in 1997, under the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien.

While they are responsible for their copyright efforts, they are not responsible for the present muddle on recording media.

Litty December 12, 2008 at 11:55 am

The really odd thing is the $0.24 tariff on audio cassettes.

I am pretty sure any grandparents still using cassette tapes doesn’t have the ability to access the internet, much less file-sharing sites.

Gabriel... December 12, 2008 at 10:05 pm

It was not well thought out then, now or in between. It was initially a reaction to pressure from the United States and in 2006 even the president of the Canadian Recording Industry Association came out and said it was a bad idea… despite the tax having raised already over $150 million, including $26 million in ’06.

The present “muddle” is a direct result of how the levy was created in the first place. The consultations did not include the people who use the media most, the tech firms. The money is also collected whether I plan on “pirating” Canadian music or American. So Canadian artists are also compensated for the loss of income from artists who have nothing to do with the Canadian music industry.

The entire point of the tax was to compensate the artists through the Canadian Private Copying Collective for digital piracy which, at the point of purchase, hadn’t even happened. By paying the tax the public were agreeing they were guilty of the intent to commit piracy even if all they did was burn some family photos onto a CD-R.

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