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Apple pledges to refund punters hit by Canada iPod tax

Levy's 'illegality' confirmed

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Apple Canada is to allow consumers who bought an iPod between December 2003 and December 2004 to claim a refund for a government tax on MP3 players.

The announcement, made yesterday, follows a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that invalidated a levy placed on iPods to compensate the music industry for revenue lost to piracy and illegal copying.

The levy was introduced in December 2003 and demanded CAD2 for non-removable memory capacity of up to 1GB, CAD15 for 1-10GB and CAD25 for more than 10GB. It was collected by the Copyright Board of Canada (CBC), which is said to have amassed CAD4m from the sale of MP3 players.

The tariff was dropped in December 2004 after the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the tax was illegal. Mr Justice Marc Noël said authority to collect the levy was not provided by Canada's Copyright Act, which simply permits a levy on blank media. Apple Canada dropped iPod prices less than a week later.

Mr Justice Noël's verdict was subsequently challenged by the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC). But, last month, the Supreme Court sided with Judge Noël, not the CPCC.

Apple Canada said yesterday it would "shortly announce a claims process so consumers can request a refund for the levies they paid". ®

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