Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Canada's CD Tax Out of Hand? 599

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the eventually-part-of-my-paycheck-will-just-go-to-them dept.
CRIA Watcher writes "The Canadian Copyright Board has just announced that it is bringing back the tax on blank CDs, called the private copying levy, in 2007. Michael Geist demonstrates how the tax has created a huge distortion in the retail price of blank media on his blog with as much as 70 percent of the purchase price now heading directly to the music industry."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Canada's CD Tax Out of Hand?

Comments Filter:
  • Re: Cheap CD's (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chris Tyler (2180) on Monday February 27, 2006 @12:56PM (#14809917) Homepage
    ...buy cheap CD's from the US. This is perfectly legal, and a great way to save money.

    Yes, but as an 'importer' I'm liable for the levy on imported CDs. Excuse me for a second, the doorbell's ringing...
  • Re:Unfair (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2006 @12:56PM (#14809928)
    Which is incidentally what the Ontario Court of Appeals said, and why there was no levy for a while.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2006 @01:03PM (#14809976)
    He ya go:

    The Private Copying Levy Distortion

    The Copyright Board of Canada last week released its proposed tariff for 2007 for the private copying levy. The numbers remain unchanged: 21 cents per CD-R. As prices have dropped, however, the levy now frequently comprises a significant percentage of the retail price. Consider the purchase of 100 blank Maxell CDs. Future Shop retails the 100 CDs for $69.99. The breakdown of this sale is $48.99 for the CDs and $21.00 for the levy (even worse is a current Future Shop deal of 200 blank CD-Rs from HP, which retails for $59.99. The levy alone on this sale is $42.00 (200 CDs x 21 cents/CD) which leaves the consumers paying $17.99 for the CDs and $42.00 for the levy).

    This results in a huge distortion in retail pricing when compared to the U.S. market which does not have a levy system. For example, the same Maxell CDs retail for US$34.99 at CompUSA. When you add in the exchange differential, the Canadian cost is just over $40.00. Obviously the price is slightly lower in the US even without the levy (35 cents per CD vs. 40 cents per CD). With the levy, the price increases by another 50 percent.

    Given how little Canadians get for their money (the private copying right doesn't cover copying CDs to Apple iPods) is it any wonder that countries such as Australia are considering allowing for such private copying without a levy scheme? The solution in Canada is obvious: either ensure that the levy covers the full panoply of private copying as is the case in France or drop the levy altogether and institute a fair use user right.
  • by Tester (591) <olivier.creteNO@SPAMocrete.ca> on Monday February 27, 2006 @01:09PM (#14810042) Homepage
    The Private Copying Levy Distortion

    The Copyright Board of Canada last week released its proposed tariff for 2007 for the private copying levy. The numbers remain unchanged: 21 cents per CD-R. As prices have dropped, however, the levy now frequently comprises a significant percentage of the retail price. Consider the purchase of 100 blank Maxell CDs. Future Shop retails the 100 CDs for $69.99. The breakdown of this sale is $48.99 for the CDs and $21.00 for the levy (even worse is a current Future Shop deal of 200 blank CD-Rs from HP, which retails for $59.99. The levy alone on this sale is $42.00 (200 CDs x 21 cents/CD) which leaves the consumers paying $17.99 for the CDs and $42.00 for the levy).

    This results in a huge distortion in retail pricing when compared to the U.S. market which does not have a levy system. For example, the same Maxell CDs retail for US$34.99 at CompUSA. When you add in the exchange differential, the Canadian cost is just over $40.00. Obviously the price is slightly lower in the US even without the levy (35 cents per CD vs. 40 cents per CD). With the levy, the price increases by another 50 percent.

    Given how little Canadians get for their money (the private copying right doesn't cover copying CDs to Apple iPods) is it any wonder that countries such as Australia are considering allowing for such private copying without a levy scheme? The solution in Canada is obvious: either ensure that the levy covers the full panoply of private copying as is the case in France or drop the levy altogether and institute a fair use user right.
  • by Lexor (724874) on Monday February 27, 2006 @01:26PM (#14810213) Homepage Journal
    If it's the same as it was before, it only applies to blank CDs that are specifically designed for CD-Audio use, not bulk (eg. spindle) packs that may or may not be used for music.

    More importantly, this levy goes hand-in-hand with the philosophy not of assumed guilt, but of "fair use" that includes sharing. Yes, sharing your tunes is perfectly legal in Canada, as it's simply assumed that people will continue to make copies and mixed CDs for friends, etc. in the new digital world.
  • Re:Clarify (Score:4, Informative)

    by Foobar_ (120869) on Monday February 27, 2006 @01:32PM (#14810269)
    I went to school in Canada to be an audio engineer. I know about the workings of the Canadian recording industry.

    SOCAN (the Canadian equivalent of ASCAP/BMI) handles royalty collection and distribution for Canadian music authors. If you're a Canadian composer, songwriter, or lyricist, you must do this to get royalties:
    1. Apply for membership with SOCAN
    2. Register your copyrighted works
    3. Sit back and wait
    You don't have to be owned by a record label to get your royalties. Also, SOCAN has arrangements with other performing rights organizations around the world, so if your music is played in the USA, or Germany, or Japan or whatnot, you'll still get royalty payments from SOCAN but on the accounting it states that the money is coming from that territory.

    Royalties are only paid to the "writers" and the "publishing company". The "writers" are composed of the songwriter (who does the music) and the lyricist (who writes the words). A songwriter and lyricist can be the same person. Usually it gets split 25% songwriter/25% lyricist/50% publisher respectively, which means that if a composer wants to get more money, they start their own publishing company.

    There are simple yet comprehensive materials available on SOCAN's site. Quick links:
    *SOCAN Overview for Music Creators and Publishers [socan.ca]
    *How your music makes money [socan.ca]
    *Private Copying Royalties update [socan.ca]

    Up until recently, the money collected from the media levy has sat in SOCAN's accounts while writers and publishing companies fought viciously to get it all for themselves. Seems the writers have won; the "private copying royalties" now go 100% to writers by default. This of course doesn't stop publishing contracts from specifying that lots of money goes to the publisher...

    By the way, I finished the audio engineer training, said "I don't want to do this as a job" and have just opened a computer repair shop. I'll be selling those taxed CD blanks soon enough...
  • Re:Unfair (Score:2, Informative)

    by Andrzej Sawicki (921100) <ansaw@poczta.onet.pl> on Monday February 27, 2006 @01:34PM (#14810309)
    No, you are paying for the security (and other) copies you might want to make on those CDs from original CDs (i.e. for whatever the "fair use" copying is allowed in your country). Call it the fair use tax if you will.

    This tax has nothing to do with illegal copies (i.e. burning an ISO you just downloaded). That is a separate issue.
  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@NospAm.keirstead.org> on Monday February 27, 2006 @01:52PM (#14810488) Homepage

    Consider the purchase of 100 blank Maxell CDs. Future Shop retails the 100 CDs for $69.99. The breakdown of this sale is $48.99 for the CDs and $21.00 for the levy (even worse is a current Future Shop deal of 200 blank CD-Rs from HP, which retails for $59.99. The levy alone on this sale is $42.00 (200 CDs x 21 cents/CD) which leaves the consumers paying $17.99 for the CDs and $42.00 for the levy).

    For example, the same Maxell CDs retail for US$34.99 at CompUSA. When you add in the exchange differential, the Canadian cost is just over $40.00.

    Umm... [futureshop.ca] excuse [ncix.com] me

    This article is on crack. Maybe if the authour was actually a Canadaian he'd know WTF he was talking about.

    See above links. You can get 200 blank CDs for 40 bucks anywhere. And when they are on sale you can routinely get them for less, like 20 or 25.

    So that means either this guy doesn't know WTF he is tlaking about RE the actual cost of the levy, or all these stores are selling CDs at a loss constantly.

    I think option A is more likely.

  • Re:Unfair (Score:5, Informative)

    by DeeKayWon (155842) on Monday February 27, 2006 @02:29PM (#14810851)
    Section 80 of the Copyright Act [justice.gc.ca] says thus:

    --

    80. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the act of reproducing all or any substantial part of

    (a) a musical work embodied in a sound recording,

    (b) a performer's performance of a musical work embodied in a sound recording, or

    (c) a sound recording in which a musical work, or a performer's performance of a musical work, is embodied

    onto an audio recording medium for the private use of the person who makes the copy does not constitute an infringement of the copyright in the musical work, the performer's performance or the sound recording.

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the act described in that subsection is done for the purpose of doing any of the following in relation to any of the things referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) to (c):

    (a) selling or renting out, or by way of trade exposing or offering for sale or rental;

    (b) distributing, whether or not for the purpose of trade;

    (c) communicating to the public by telecommunication; or

    (d) performing, or causing to be performed, in public.

    --

    (emphasis mine)

  • by Garwulf (708651) on Monday February 27, 2006 @03:02PM (#14811134) Homepage
    Looking closely at the material, this is still in the proposal stage, and there is time to object to it (I just sent in my objection). The actual proposal and the contact information for writing in to object can be found here: http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/tariffs/proposed/c25022006 -b.pdf [cb-cda.gc.ca]

    Speaking as somebody who has dealt with proposals in the public sector before, when you object, make certain that you make a reasoned argument. Point out the flaws in the assumptions behind the levy (such as the fact that not everybody is going to use the media they're taxing for copying music, etc.), and how it makes the levy unfair. Whatever you do, don't make statements about good and evil, or corruption - it's a surefire way to get ignored. Just point out the flaws in the proposal, give concrete examples if you can when you do, and give your name, city, and province/territory.

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan

Working...