Feeds

Canadian 'iPod tax' illegal, judge rules

Canada's Copyright Act only specifies blank media

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Canada's levy on blank media that could be used to record copyright material does not apply to MP3 players, the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal has ruled.

While the Copyright Board of Canada is indeed permitted by Canada's Copyright Act to tax sales of blank media, the terms of the Act do not allow it to levy a similar fee from MP3 player makers, Mr Justice Marc Noël said.

Judge Noël admitted that the Board was acting from an understandable desire to recompense copyright holders for revenue lost when copies of their work are downloaded from P2P networks, but crucially "the authority for doing so still has to be found in the Act", he said.

As such the tax it levies on MP3 player sales are not legal.

That tax was imposed in December 2003. Since then the Board has demanded that player manufacturers cough up $2 for each player with a capacity of less than 1GB, $15 for 1-10GB players and $25 for devices with storage of more than 10GB. The levy was imposed to help compensate artists for music copied from P2P networks.

Under the terms of Canada's Copyright Act, the Copyright Board of Canada can apply levies on blank media to compensate copyright holders for "private copying". In 2000, the Board imposed levies on recordable CD media, having already applied one to blank audio cassettes.

Not surprisingly, player vendors weren't too happy about it and took the Board to court. The case finally ended up in the Court of Appeal, where Judge Noël yesterday delivered his verdict.

The immediate upshot of the judgement should be reduced prices for iPods and other players. Today, the Canadian AppleStore had yet to reduce the price of the 20GB and 40GB iPods, but presumably such a move can't be far off, particularly if other vendors quickly drop their prices.

Meanwhile, organisations such as the Canadian Private Copying Collective, which distributes the proceeds of the levies to artists and recording companies, are pondering whether to take the case to Canada's Supreme Court in a bid to have Judge Noël's ruling overturned, local newspaper the Globe and Mail reports.

At the very least, they are likely to lobby the Canadian government to amend the Copyright Act to take into account MP3 players and, indeed, to provide scope to cover future product developments. ®

Related stories

Apple opens Canadian iTunes store
Canadian ISPs not liable for content royalties
Canadian police back snooping tax
Canada OKs P2P music downloads
Canada mulls blank CDR, MP3 player tax
Canada offers refuge to distraught Democrats

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees
India's 'predictability and stability' cited as mobe-maker's tax payment deadline nears
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.