Canada mulls blank CDR, MP3 player tax

Not so sweet music

The Canadian government is mulling copyright levy proposals which will see a royalty charge of CAN$1.23 imposed on each blank CDR, and CAN$100 added to each MP3 player sold in the country.

Lobbying for the changes is the Canadian Private Copying Collective, a representative of music companies and publishers. It is pressing for new royalty lines, bringing blank CDRs and MP3 players into line with other recording media, such as audiocassettes which already carry a levy to compensate for their use in copying music.

It also wants paying on "blank DVDs, flash memory cards, MP3 players with internal hard drives and other media that could be used to store music", the Globe and Mail reports.

But hang on a mo - approx. 100m blank CDs are sold a year, of which 44million a year are used in home-ripping, according to the Canadian Private Copying Collective's own figures, the Globe And Mail notes. So why should the levy be applied on all CDs, the majority of which is used in IT? No, we can't work that one out, either.

And what about the pirates who store stolen movies on CD. Shouldn't the movie industry get a slice of the pie?

If the Canadian music industry gets its way, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young will get even richer, while electronic shops will get poorer, as Canadians, where they can, buy hardware and recording media from across the border.

There is still everything to play for: The Copyright Board, the Canadian government body which decides such things, is mulling over the new copyright tax proposals. It's taking soundings from interested parties, with hearings starting on May 23.

If the music industry wins, the new copyright tax rates will come into effect in 2003, lasting until 2004, end. It's not going to happen, is it?

Canadian readers can voice your complaints through this
online petition
.

Or you can email directly to The Copyright Board here.

You can also write in: the snail mail address is -

Copyright Board Canada
Suite 800 - 56 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C9

The deadline for submission is May 8. Good luck. ®