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Canada's CD Tax Out of Hand? 599

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."
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Canada's CD Tax Out of Hand?

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  • Unfair (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spikestabber ( 644578 ) <spike@[ ] ['spy' in gap]> on Monday February 27, 2006 @01:49PM (#14809845) Homepage
    This is a load of crap, I'm sick and tired of paying a fortune for blank CDR's while the Canadian Recording industry is out to call everyone a criminal and lobbying to cripple our rights by introducing ludicris laws to ruin what us Canadians take for granted. Either fuckoff trying to take our rights away, or do away with this stupid tax!
  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @02:08PM (#14810034)
    be stupid not to copy as much as I can get my paws on, eh?

    I got mad enough before to start dreaming up "piracy booths", where you could burn cds from a "collection" - for free, of course, with your own hands. My understanding is this would be completely legal..
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @02:17PM (#14810114)
    Its easy. Just do what we Americans do for prescription drugs. We buy them from Canada because they are about 1/2 the price.

    The State of Minnesota asks that its employees purchase their prescription drugs from Canada for savings. That's great and all if Customs would stop seizing them [].

    I love being told by my Governor to break Federal Law. Awesome.
  • Re:Unfair (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Winterblink ( 575267 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @02:30PM (#14810248) Homepage
    That's a great reaction, one I think most folks will share. Does posting it here on Slashdot matter? How will it make a difference at all?

    Does anyone know who to contact in order to get our views voiced PROPERLY?
  • by NamShubCMX ( 595740 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @02:33PM (#14810280)
    I do.

    I play in a small punkrock bands. We produce everything "D.I.Y." which means we burn all our CDs on blank CDs and sell them for 3$.

    We don't care about the CRIA. We don't care about their crap and we don't want to be on their labels. It seems they'll still have a cut off of every CDs we produce... awesome.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2006 @02:41PM (#14810393)
    Thank you for pretty much describing exactly what this levy does. Do you think we pay it because we're sheep? (Okay, don't answer that) The levy makes the assumption that everyone is a criminal. In exchange, we are granted a limited set of rights of private copying.

    It's not entirely unreasonable. What gets my goat is now they're trying to pass laws to explicitly retract those rights, but also keep the levy in place. It's enough to make me want to shoot someone.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @02:45PM (#14810429) Homepage
    I don't know nearly enough about 'law' but I think it is extremely illogical for the consumer to pay for crime of which they haven't been found guilty. However, this is a 'tax' and isn't a criminal matter. And I am unfamiliar with the Canadian constitution, but I have a feeling they have the same "no taxation without representation" rule that we have in the U.S. And if that's the case, I'd like to know what 'service to the people' is being bought through these taxes? My assumption would be that the services are in the form of musical licenses since this is all about copying music.

    These taxes essentially make copying music to canadian-purchased blank CD media legal.

    I'm sure this will take a huge team of lawyers and a lot of public outcry to make it happen, but one way or the other, the music industry will have to give something up -- they can't have both a 'tax' and pursue additional civil penaties against individuals at the same time. If a person who downloaded music can show that he did so in order to utilize his rights granted to him by purchasing blank media from Canada, then I doubt there's much more damage that can be claimed. If this idea holds up, I predict a huge increase in the sale of blank CD media from Canada.

  • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Monday February 27, 2006 @03:10PM (#14810671)

    In the US, the Federal law regarding chemicals that people put in their bodies is just wrong.

    Many of the "FDA" approved drugs are horrible, expensive, have side effects up to and including death, etc.

    In 5 years, I will be free from having to take FDA approved drugs on a daily basis. The medication that I am on now gives me dry heaves, makes me insane at times, gives me headaches, disturbs my sleep, gives me vertigo to the point that I have almost died in a car accident, and being that it is a relatively new drug on the market, nobody knows what the long term affects are.

    I have much better results and fewer side effects from uncontrolled and/or "illegal" drugs than the FDA ones.

    I'm probably the only one that has these issues though.

  • Re:Assumed Guilt (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CsiDano ( 807071 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @03:15PM (#14810731) Journal
    That's why when they removed the levy from mp3 players I finally bought one, and then switched to DVD backup, there is no levy from the music industry on blank dvds as of right now anyway. Uses less disks for backup. For those who may bring up car audio, my deck has a line in for other audio devices. In response to the other idea put forth about going state side, unless you are livving in a border town, it's not worth it, the savings just aren't there, the only thing accomplished by going stateside is sticking it to the Canadian music industry.
  • Re:Unfair (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2006 @03:22PM (#14810794)
    That just gives them more ammo.

    If the boycott is actually effective, it will decrease revenue. They'll take the decreased revenue numbers back to the legislature and say "See - It's those bloody pirates. They're bankrupting us! Raise the levy!"

    Throw in a few well timed campaign contributions, and you've bought yourself a pay raise.
  • Re:Unfair (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stripe7 ( 571267 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @03:41PM (#14810947)
    What happens to business uses of blank media? Do you get a tax refund? Ie if your media is used for backup of your HD with no music or if you are using it in a corporation do you get a refund? Also can you take that tax as a deduction from your normal taxes?
  • Re:Unfair (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dougmc ( 70836 ) <> on Monday February 27, 2006 @03:52PM (#14811034) Homepage
    I know there used to be "special" CD-Rs for copying music (special only when looking at the price tag, mind you)
    No, they weren't special `only when looking at the price tag'. They were special all the time -- just not very special. And at least here in the US, they're still available.

    The audio CD-Rs have a bit set somewhere that audio equipment looks at before deciding if they'll record on this media. So if you have cd writer in your stereo, it probably will only work with audio CD-Rs. Of course, the audio CD-Rs cost more, and some equipment can be hacked to not require this bit to be set, or you can swap it with a data CD-R at the right time and things will work, etc.

    The cd writer in your computer, on the other hand, has no such restriction, since it's meant to store data. Of course, you can also burn audio onto your data CD-R on your computer, and people do do this.

    As for the law changing in Canada, I have no idea. In the US, I know that audio CD-Rs include a tax that goes to the RIAA or the artists or somebody, and data CD-Rs do not. More on the DAT tax here []. (It's called the DAT tax because it was originally written for DAT (4mm tapes) and is probably the #1 reason why we don't have consumer DAT audio drives in our stereos now.)

    In any event, when I'm at Frys and I see somebody pick up a batch of Audio CD-Rs, I'll often ask them if they're going to burn them on a stereo component or a computer, and 95% of the time, the answer is `computer'. And then I tell them that they don't need the expensive audio CD-Rs -- the data ones will work just as well.

    The DAT tax does have one good benefit though. From the article above --

    It explicitly makes it legal (or more precisely, non-actionable) for you to copy audio works for your own use ( section 1008). That's right, it is now perfectly legitimate for you to borrow the latest Madonna album from a friend and make yourself a copy, despite the copyright. Pretty neat, huh?
    Of course, this page was written pre-DMCA. I've no idea if the law has changed since.
  • Re:Why CDs? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by klang ( 27062 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @04:03PM (#14811142)
    So the question really is:
    "Why do I have to pay the Record Industry, to send a CD with the holiday pictures to my mother?"

    It would make a *lot* more sense to tax something that's used entirely for music, such as speakers or portable music players. .. or guitars or drums or keyboards or .. ears?

    no, taxation is not the way to go .. adapting to reality is.
  • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @05:28PM (#14811758)
    Your links consisted of 2 CD spindles, each of which end up costing $60/200 blank CDs. Which is what the parent said: a current Future Shop deal of 200 blank CD-Rs from HP, which retails for $59.99.

    The levy is here, it's real, and it's by far the biggest cost of blank CDs in Canada.

    It's also a load.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas