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The Almighty Buck

Canada Taxing Blank CDs? 196

Anonymous Coward writes "Canada has restarted talks on a tax of 74 cents per 15 minutes on digital recording media that is scheduled to begin on January 1st." It's interesting that when DAT was taxed, the format never caught on. Then again, CD-ROM is already a popular format. For more on the DAT issue, which this very closely parallels, RMS has an interesting article that appeared in Wired about 7 years ago, titled "The Right Way to Tax DAT".
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Canada Taxing Blank CDs?

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  • I live in Canada, and tho I'd never move from it, let me say this: Canada will and does find a way to tax just about everything. It's the cost of social programs I suppose, but we also have this insane notion that the way to protect our culture and musicians is by taxing the consumer. So now, when I buy a CD, it'll be:
    7% provicial tax (Ontario)
    8% GST (federal tax)
    74 cents per 15 minutes (so another 2 dollars)?

    I'll tell you though, I'm reaching my limit.
  • ...you know that piece by RMS linked to above may be the first thing I've read by him where I found myself nodding "yeah" all the way through it.

    Maybe there is hope for the guy yet.
  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Thursday August 26, 1999 @10:46AM (#1723558) Homepage
    Oh, incidentally, I'm an independant musician. Now I get to spend another 2-4 dollars per blank CD that ends up in the pockets of succesful Canadian musicians. I'm really happy about that too. As an intelligent, cultured musician, I'm proud to say my tax dollars will end up in the pockets of such amazing Canadian musicians as:

    Brian Adams
    Celine Dion
    Sarah McLaughlan

    And yes, I'm being just a tiny bit sarcastic. Thank god for mp3.com
  • Digital recording media? You mean like the binary digits on my hard drive? I figure, since my MP3s equate to about a megabyte per minute of stored audio data, then my next 2.3 gigabyte drive would cost me $113 in taxes alone.


  • They are just talking about a tax on blank, recordable cds. This isn't going to affect the price of a music cd. And really, its still a lot cheaper than going out and actually paying full price for the real (legal) thing.

  • Are they taxing them as well? You can fit a lot of MP3 on a 10G hard drive...
  • Im american and live in Connecticut so we pay 6%
    State tax, 1% Income tax in the state, about 5k a
    year in property taxes, 33% income tax, 53% gift tax, marrige tax etc etc. Taxing for the hell of it is tyranny. Anyway the recording industry does not like this. They do not get a share of the taxes and therefore it makes their product out right m0ore expensive to their target audience. THe are already having trouble fending off mp3s all over the net and now this? If this does happen I could see some real big friction betweem the music industry and the canadians. You might not just be paying more for just the tax, the rec. industry might also raise the price of cds to cover their losses, 25 dollar cds anyone? (of course with the exchange rate that is probably what you pay already :-).

  • Yes.. and don't forget such memorable TV shows as "Beachcombers" and "Littlest Hobo" I also live in Canada and I'm getting just a little pissed at another grab by the taxman. I already pay closs to a 40% tax rate and it appears that it is only going to get worse. But wait, the Government has announced that it's going to reduce taxes by $500.00 per year. Let's do the math: 500 / 52 weeks = 9.62 / 7 days = 1.38

    Holy shit.! I'm going to get $1.38 per day relief. That won't even pay the tax on one %^&$#^ CD.
  • by HP LoveJet ( 8592 ) on Thursday August 26, 1999 @10:56AM (#1723565)
    What about hard drives, which are digital media frequently used to store music in both dedicated and general-purpose systems?

    If you assume that music is stored as uncompressed 16-bit 44.1kHz 2-channel samples, an 8GB drive contains roughly 54 15-minute units, for a total tax of 0.74*54 = C$39.96, which is not bad.

    On the other hand, if music is stored as 112kbit stereo MP3s (using the rule of thumb that 1MB=1min), that same 8-gig drive can store 559,240 units of 15 minutes, for a total tax of C$413,837.60.

    I personally would find that excessive.
  • by Eric Seppanen ( 79060 ) on Thursday August 26, 1999 @10:56AM (#1723566)
    A. It's impossible to determine whether a blank piece of media is destined to be used to duplicate copyrighted material.

    B. At over $2 per CD-R, I'd buy my media from Afghanistan if I had to.

    C. Copyrighted material can be stored on lots of other media- attempting to tax one media is a slippery slope... what, are you going to add a $200 tax on hard drives because you could store music on them?

    A+B+C = somebody's smoking crack.
  • It isn't clear from the article and I doubt it's a target but it is possible to digitally record music on Hard Drives. I'd hate to see the tax on those 2.3 TB drives that are supposed to be available in a couple of years.

    What about software vendors? They'll have to pay tax on these even though they are original content creators.

    Just some thougths

  • by DonkPunch ( 30957 ) on Thursday August 26, 1999 @10:58AM (#1723568) Homepage Journal
    Actually, it will end up in the pockets of the record companies who signed Brian Adams, Celine Dion, and Sarah McLaughlin. :P

    You're dead-on right, though. Taxes or penalties on new media formats (be they CD-ROM, DAT, or MP3) HURT independent musicians. I've never ripped a CD to my DAT deck, but I've recorded a heck of a lot of original stuff with it.
  • by rde ( 17364 ) on Thursday August 26, 1999 @10:58AM (#1723569)
    If you're going to have to pay more when you buy blank media locally, get 'em on the internet. 'Computer media' are likely to get over the border with little problem.
  • luckily, I record all my songs at 100Mhz with 64 bit stereo samples, so I only get a few seconds recording per CD. That works out to just a few millicents tax, which I'll gladly pay once they make a coin small enough.
  • What the little blurb up there doesn't mention, is that the tarrif was scheduled for January 1st, 1999. As I understand it, they were going to charge businesses for all cds sold after Jan 1, even though they hadn't agreed on an amount yet! This resulted in some stores adding arbitrary amounts in order to compensate for what they were going to get charged (or maybe they were just BSing me).

    What I can't stand about this is, what about software piracy?! There are some $15,000 programs floating around which probably have been copied a time or two. It's not just the recording companies that are being ripped off.

    Further more, there are plenty of legal uses for cd-rs.

  • Let's see... if I record my audio to a CD-R uncompressed at 44.1 kHz, two channels, 16 bits per channel, that's 74 minutes per CD-R that they need to tax for a total of $3.65. But data's data, and maybe I like high-end audio -- five channels at 24 bits apiece, for only 19.7 minutes per CD-R, and I only need to pay 97 cents tax on my blanks. But of course a bit is a bit, and if I'm intending to write the music at 32kbps MP3...why, I owe $160 dollars in tax per blank. And let's not even talk about the fact that any hard drive is potentially digital recording media!
  • by _J_ ( 30559 ) <jasonlives@ g m a i l . c om> on Thursday August 26, 1999 @11:02AM (#1723576) Journal
    If blank CD's are taxed and these taxes go to artists for the inevitable copies that are going to be made of their music, does that make it OK for me to copy music to one of these blank CD's?

    If I pay a surcharge on a CD to cover someone's copyrights, I think I should have the RIGHT to store music on that medium.

    Just another thought

  • No kidding...

    And if the DVD audio standard is approved (was it?), then recordable DVDs are _never_ going to get a chance to survive in Canada. You figure that right now the media costs about $50 (anyone confirm that?), if/when it ever comes down in price there is still going to be a $30 surcharge that Canada would be plopping on top of that (assuming 5.2G per DVD)

    I can find blank CDRs for less than the Canadian tax on 15minutes of audio...sheesh.
  • What ever happens if they discover my cd recordings of MP3s... god, that's like 8 hours of music. Blank CDs will cost more than full ones.
  • How is this going to stop online purchases of $1 blank CDR's from the US. So what if I buy 100 and the UPS ground shipping costs me $20. That works out to $.20 a cd. All that's happening is Canada is destroying the sale of an item in Canada and exporting that economy to other countries (namely the US).
  • So, it's $0.74/15 minutes, eh?

    Well, I certainly hope they don't insist on charging me based on MP3 compression ratios!

    After all, every audiophile worth their salt knows there's nothing quite like 8-channel Surround-sound style (corners of a cube, listener at centre, speaker placement) recordings at 176.4KHz. ;-)
  • by Mignon ( 34109 ) <satan@programmer.net> on Thursday August 26, 1999 @11:04AM (#1723581)
    Maybe this will promote smuggling of blank CD-R's across the border, like during Prohibiton. I can see a modern-day Elliot Ness smashing boxes of CD-R's with a bulldozer.

    Or, more likely, various Indian/Native American reservations along the border will add CD-R's to their shelves, along with the duty-free cigarettes and liquor. If the taxes are high enough and demand is high enough, it'll be worth it.

  • As a Canadian who keeps up on current events, I know that this tax was scheduled to go into effect last January (that is, Jan 1, 1999 not Jan 1, 2000). It was held back because of the public and (mostly) corporate outcry over it. Last I heard, it was being held off indefinitely. You can read about Bill C-32 here [http] (it is an amendement to the Copyright Act). The bill did pass, and is legislation, but has not been implemented (as such that a consumer would notice any price differences).

    This tax would extend to cover all recordable media (audio cassette tapes, CDs, video tapes, etc - not pre-recorded media), and is designed to help reduce copyright infringement of copyrighted materials.

  • Not all blank CD's sold are used to pirate music. They can be used as a backup or to distribute your own software. So why should my company pay a tax to recording artists when we back up 400MB's of project info on a CD?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    (Apologies to all whose names I misspelled or I failed to mention)

    • Rush
    • Bryan Adams (although his songwriting partner is British)
    • Snow
    • Barenaked Ladies
    • Moxy Fruvous
    • Our Lady Peace
    • Gordon Lightfoot
    • The Guess Who
    • Lorenna McKennit
    • Sarah McLachlan
    • Big Sugar
    • Victor
    And this is just a short list. Just because it's the "Great White North" doesn't mean it's devoid of culture.
  • I mirror Redhat's FTP to my computer every night and burn a new copy of the CD whenever there are major changes (because I do so many installs). If I lived in Canada, my burning a redhat CD would cost me like 5 dollars, and half of that would go to recording companies? That's screwed up..
    And if heaven forbid I burn a blank, I'd be REALLY pissed...
  • They're going to tax CDRs based on the idea that they are being purchased solely to record music. But what about recording just data? Am I really expected to pay an extra $3.70 per disk? If I were a system administrator using CDRs for backups, and I purchase a bulk supply of 1000, now I have to pay a few extra $3700? That's absolutely crazy.
  • While I agree this is true for the types of things you're talking about. As an amateur musician, and a concert taper, I burn a LOT of discs, somewhere in the neighborhood of 3/day. And they're all legal, as many bands allow and encourage taping and trading of their lives shows.

    Had I moved to Canada, this would mean that I'd be paying somewhere in the neighbourhood of $11.00/day to continue my perfectly legal hobby.

    How would they decide how much the tax is for things digital multi-track stuff? 74 cents per 15 minutes per pair of channels? or would something that accepts an hour and a half of 8-track digital audio now be taxed at $17/tape, as it can hold 6 hours of 2-track digital audio?

  • I'm proud to say my tax dollars will end up in the pockets of such amazing Canadian musicians as:

    Brian Adams
    Celine Dion
    Sarah McLaughlan

    You left out Alanis Morrisette. It is amazing that the Canadian government would not at least exempt from the tax blank CD's used for recording of new music and for later resale or export. The government is stepping on its own local music businesses!
  • by wesmills ( 18791 ) on Thursday August 26, 1999 @11:22AM (#1723597) Homepage
    At my local computer store, I pay $39.99 for a spindle of 50 blank "computer" CDs, which comes to $0.7998 per CD (roughly $0.80). Now, to buy just ONE "audio" CD, which can be used in these $3,000 audio burners, I will pay $5-$6 (I believe that's right, but either way its much more than data). Supposedly this difference goes to the US Copyright office who doles it out to the labels. So, is this unlike what the US does already? If this is the case, then why doesn't Canada do the same thing? (YES, I know taxing is bad, but if they're going to do it, why not do it in a way that makes sense? Oh, and I do know that PCs can burn audio to a "data" CD, which can be played with no problem, at least in my feeble, consumer-level audio devices)
  • If I could just figure out a way to re-write those damn AOL discs I get every month. Huhm...
  • Actually I was just thinking what this means to me.... I generally us my CD burner for backup purposes or for grabbing those handfull of songs off of EPs and the sampler CDs on magazines like CMJ. I rip the things for my own use alone. I don't make discs for friends, I don't give away albums, etc.

    What this tax seems to do in my eyes is create a market. I never would have thought of copying an audio CD and handing it out to my friends before, but maybe I'll start doing that if this tax goes in.

    Treat me like a pirate, and maybe I'll start acting like one.

  • I just bought a nice Sony M1 today. Apparently it has no problem reading and writing computer-grade DATs; this is what everyone I know uses in theirs anyway. Cheap as all hell and you don't have to pay the Gestapo when you want to record something.

    As for CD-Rs, I imagine they'll probably only end up taxing the "audio"-grade and not the generic, no-name "data" kind. People that pay premiums for "audio" grade _anything_ deserve to be ripped off, IMHO, and, according to the article, 60 percent of you Canadians agree with me.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • You can't make the assumption that all cd-r's are used to make illegal copies of music. If that's all people used them for, I'm sure the majority would feel that a tax is fair, to compensate the artists. However, many independant musicians use cd-r's as a means to distribute demos to radio stations, record companies, etc... When the have to shell out $2 extra for every cd, how is this supposed to help the music industry? By preventing new bands to break into the marketplace? Um, yeah, that's a good idea. Imagine, new bands having the nerve to produce good music. We must stop these creative people once and for all, before its too late! Oh, by the way, that was a bit of sarcasm
    One more thing. I bet the majority of cd-r's sold are not used to copy music. Many people use them to copy programs and games, so when is the SPA tax coming into effect? I know I can't wait for it, what about you? What's that one going to be? $5 a cd? Ever used a cd-r to back up a hard drive? Well, now it might cost $20 more (assuming your hard drive is 6-7GB and you don't use compression -that's around 10 cd's). That can sure build up if you're doing weekly or even monthly backups. And where does that $20 go? Well, maybe $5 goes to Bryan Adams, $5 to Celine Dion, and $10 goes towards some record exec's vacation. Do they need the money? No. Does the money help that talented garage band around the corner get radio time because of the tax? No, in fact the tax will probably cost them money too, as I explained above.
    So, keeping all that in mind, answer just one question: Do you honestly think the tax is going to help those who could need it? No, you might as well be stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.


  • No, they smoked more drugs which changed their creativity to something else :)
  • by Tau Zero ( 75868 ) on Thursday August 26, 1999 @11:28AM (#1723606) Journal
    One way to make this tax go away is to force the recording companies to be fair about it; if the tax is to be applied to recordable media when purchased, it should be refundable when the media are returned.

    Seriously. If a recording is botched and the media are not recoverable, you should be able to get a refund of the tax you paid. In practice the recording industry would be forced to refund the tax on every disk returned. That would sure teach them.

    Further consequences of this would be that Parliament would be forced to criminalize the importation of recordable media for refund (fraud, y'know) just as Michigan has criminalized the import of out-of-state soft-drink containers for the ten-cent deposit. Now wouldn't that be fun!

    Finally, if you're lucky, you might even get everyone to agree that the whole thing was a rotten idea and that it ought to be scrapped. But you have to force the system into the exercise of the reductio ad absurdum first, so get moving!

  • I'm sorry, but this law assume that people buying these CD and music tape are criminals.

    I was a criminal when a friend copied me on a CD the music that him and his band did.
    I was a criminal when I did copy a Linux (RedHat) CD-ROM image.
    I was a criminal to backup some important files on CD-ROM. I was a criminal when I kept a copy of my music CDs for myself in MP3 format (on CD-R).

    I'm sure plenty small companies that need to give software to clients (by burning a CD-R) will love being considered criminals too...

  • I agree. I've been using my burner for four years now, and I've pirated one (count 'em one) CD of music. I've made a couple mix cd's (for myself), but that's perfectly legal. The rest of the 100-200 disks I've copied have been data, or legally copied music. And I somehow doubt the one at my work has been used for anything other than data. So I think this is more than a little bit bogus.
  • I don't think I could ever agree with Quebec Separatists. To quote Bouchard"...We will continue to press forward until the people get the answer they want". The bloody people have spoken 3 times already. Remember, this is the same government that dictates all manner of dangerous language related policies. You might save on your CD-R's, but you better learn to record them in French!
  • I'm still a proud Canadian. So as I so aptly am putting it...FUCK YOU!
  • Hm, maybe it's time to start labeling the packages as "Data Only - not to be used for audio content." Now... you know, and I know, that this would be ridiculous. But based on the logic used in formulating this tax, it just might work. "Oh golly, no, this isn't a recording medium. This is a binary backup medium, just like this tape over here..."
  • I'm intending to write the music at 32kbps MP3...why, I owe $160 dollars in tax per blank.
    That is just what I was wondering. Canadians should ensure that their legislators know that the tax on a blank CD should definitely be $160 because of this. See what happens next.
  • I was flipping through channels a while ago and the Littlest Hobo was on....

    You wouldn't believe who was on that episode. A very young Mike Myers playing a kid in a special olympics.

    My eyes opened fairly wide.
  • For all my US comaptriotes out there, a little lesson in Canadian government. First off they are just holding hearings. Translation - a few old judges and back-bench politicians are going to yammer about this for a long time. They may get around to doing something, they may not. They may have the price stay at 25 cents, they may drop it.
    If enough Canadians make a stink about this they may just drop it (after all they already backed it off for almost 6 months for the same reason).
    Even if they do pass it, it will not last long. Someone before mentioned about people heading across to the US or getting blank CD-Rs from Natives on border reservation. Well, the same thing happened a few years ago. Cigarettes, clearly a dangerous product that should not be promoted in any way, used to cost $7 Can a pack. When the US stores and smoke smuggelers began to make gobs of money while mom and pop stores in downtown Toronto went out of business, the hue and cry of a relatively small affected group cause our Prime Minister (Jean Chretien) to drop the taxes so that smokes are now about $2.50 to $3.00 a pack.
    If the public can force the government to drop the price of smokes by more than half in one shot (literally $7.00 on Monday and $2.35 on Tuesday morning), dropping the CD-R tax should be real easy.

  • taxing all digital media at $0.49 per 15 minutes..
    HMM- mp3 encodes at about 1MB/minute $1(Canadian) per 30 Megs Hard Drive space. That means the tax on my 13.6GB Hard Drive would have a "levy" of $453 dollars.
  • Now we who live in the northern states can make huge money bootlegging untaxed CDR blanks up to Canada! :-)

  • This is absoulutely true. I looked into the draft for the document which did go through, and the fees are retroactive. However, what people fail to mention is that the $.79 per 15 mins is proposed. The US already imposes a levy of this form, and all this dates back to some international agreement made a long time ago. Canada is one of the last countries to get in line on this thing.

    The fact that retailers have not jacked up their prices 100% indicates one of two possible scenarios...

    1. Despite all the con-men trying to milk people for thick margins on a blank CD shortage in late 1998, retailers are ignorant of the issue. Or,
    2. Retailers are confident that the Canadian Levy will mirror that of the U.S... and that they will not be put out of business when they get the bill for back-payments.

    If I was a lawyer, I would have a copy of the document lying around to draw references from... but after careful reading in late 1998 and early 1999, these are the conclusions I have drawn. This whole thing will almost certainly blow over as such a small fee that the whole thing will be a non-issue.

    Aside from what I learned reading the document, The concept of paying the recording industry big bucks because I want to back up my HD, or a small band wants to distribute some work independantly, leaves a horrid taste in my mouth.

    Also of note is that people who are in medical need of digital audio media are exempt from the tarrif. If we are infact hit with a wicked fee for importing CDs, there could be a huge market for blind technicians... after they burn a CD, it is no longer digital recording media, and consequently, they are free to redistribute it free from tarrifs. The document prevents them from redistributing "digital recording media" without the recipients paying up, but it does not indicate "personal use", nor does it mention write-once media. :-)

  • Did you even bother to read the article or ever follow the discussion when this came up before. The recording industry is the lobby that is pushing for this levy. They love, nearly 100% of the levy will be distributed between the record labels in Canada.

    Next time, read the article before stating complete falsehoods.
  • Ah, yet another attempt to take money from the poor musicians and give it to the rich ones. Hmm, there's something fundamentally wrong with this, I just can't put my finger on it... :-)*

    Reminds me of Tom Green's "Scuba Hood" segment. Stealing money from the poor and giving it to the rich. He went into a mall with scuba gear and stuffed money from the fountain into a bag and brought it into a bank and just gave it to them. He got banned from that mall.

    "Turn off that camera!"

    "Ok, it's off ."

    Actually, I have a friend who knows someone at ATI. Apparently they're really pissed off about this because they use a lot of CDR media. They intend to fight. This is a "guilty whether your proven innocent or not" thing.

    Well, as long as there are rich people/entities actually fighting for us. That doesn't happen often.
  • Where do they draw the line? Does this apply to hard drives? What about Zip disks? What about DAT tape? What about Sony Mini Disks? What about flash cards?

    It seems to me there's no clear place to draw the line here. Just about any type of digital storage can be used to record video and audio data. Hell, you can store the stuff in DIMMs.
  • I should buy some land 100 ft from the border on the US side and sell recordable digital media! :-)
  • Nah, won't work if the system works the way it does in my country (the Netherlands). Businesses actually pay a special leavy for each CD-ROM player installed in computers on their premises, because a CD-ROM player is capable of playing audio CD's. Not because they are actually used to play audio CD's, but because they could be used as such. Another `shoot first, then forget about the questions' law...
  • The problem with that is the Canadian dollar exchange rate. Paying tax on a CDR makes the conversion to $US look like peanuts.

    That's why I was so happy when chapters.ca finally pulled it head out of it's arse and did a proper website. They aren't as good as amazon, but at least I can afford the books :)
  • and write our MPs!

    www.parl.gc.ca [parl.gc.ca]

    Hey, who knows... It might actually work.
  • Funny, I don't remember ever saying I thought this was a good idea or that I liked the music industry as it stands today. Its interesting what some people will assume based on one 'keep in mind' statement.

    I made the statement because I knew some people would misinterpret the tax to be on music cds (I have already seen some people make that assumption).

  • How can you tax people based on the reasoning that they're going to do something illegal? It's either illegal and they should be punished for it, or it's legal and you tax it. It shouldn't be both.

  • Don't forget I mother earth and len. If you like our lady peace you'll like i mother earth.
  • Actually you're not a criminal for copying a Redhat CD, are you? I thought everything beyond Netscape was open-source... now if you copied the application CD...
  • When this tax was first mentioned, prices of CDRs skyrockted within days. Where I bought, a single blank CDR use to cost about $1.50. The price then jumped to about $6.
    First of all, the tax was to be placed at the manufacturing level so any CDRs currently in distrubtion didn't have the tax on it. Why the hell did the price go up then? It has taken many months for CDRs to come back down to around $2 in a pack of 10.
    Now I guess, the price is going to jump again even before the tax.

    This reminds me of the oil prices. Whenever crude oil goes up the price at the pump instantly goes up. But when the price of crude drops the price at the pump stays up because the gas companies say they have to clear out the oil in the supply channel first. Think about that for a moment.
  • Do you really expect me to believe that the Beatles lost their creativity as their income swelled?

    Yes, their output diminished to virtually nill. They broke up over squables of which not the least were money related. When was the last time the Beatles issued a new release? How much material have the surviving members released as solo artists during the years since the split?

    Once you have a lot of money, many of the motivations to write new material is gone. No worries about putting food on the table (or to buy drugs). The whole teenage angst thing doesn't really work as a motivator anymore once you are a multi-millionaire.

    Now this doesn't happen to every band, but it seems like it happens frequently enough to be a valid consideration.

  • I actually wouldn't mind this if:

    #1 - it were spurred by complaints by artists of piracy

    #2 - said money was being used to pay the artists...

    #1 - Artists being screwed by labels is incredibly commonplace, whereas pretty much the only artists that have successfully screwed a record company are the Sex Pistols...

    #2 - Seems record companies keep bigger and bigger slices of the profits as music moves from LP to Cassette to CD... Cost's of production lower, prices rise, and the artists get a smaller and smaller take.

    Therefore, though I can't speak for canada, I hope to join or start a class-action suit should they ever try that here. Besides all that, I have plenty of uses for cassettes, DAT's, CD-R, and just about anything else that in no way even approaches the record industries territory.

    That all said, I know some people with 200+ CD collections of pirated CD's... I don't condone or agree with it, but their stance is "The band won't get more than a dollar from this CD anyhow"... Should we penalize the users of the mediums for the reputation the labels have hoist upon themselves?
  • Sorry, Gentle Readers.

    I was off by a mere factor of 1024. The 8GB drive, of course, can store only 546 15-minute increments, which would make the tax C$409.50. Which is excessive, but not quite as bad as the earlier figure.

    (post && (!caffeine)) == bad;
  • Take off, you hoser.
  • Canadians are taxed more than most people in other countries, and it's just horrific. I don't mind stuff coming off for social programs, but it's a little disheartening - I once worked two part-time jobs and owed almost $900 in income tax this year.
    A friend of mine who had five part-time jobs in the tax year had to pay almost $1100. Gee, any idea why the guy had so many jobs in the first place?

    I like the idea of protecting Cdn culture, but we don't need the CRTC. If the music is good, people will listen. OTOH, CBC, spare us your crappy sitcoms! Documentaries and news and hockey is what you do best. More Daniel Richler and Avi Lewis (but forget Ralph Benmergui, pleeeeez)

    I'm lucky to live in Alberta, which has no PST, just GST...I can only pity ppl in the maritimes - that's like, 20% PST + GST.

  • As far as I know (and I've burned both kinds for years), audio and digital media are the same CD forms. There's just no difference. If they're selling two different kinds, one's probably either that ObPoorMusicCompanyBooHoo tax or just a scam to sell you "higher quality" media (it's digital... if the bits make it you have a perfect copy).

    Most computer CD preparation software can create ISO9660 data images, red book audio images, and even arbitrary byte stream images (ext2 works on a CD). The same 650 MB / 74 minute media is used for both.

  • I agree. I can buy a movie, which cost the company 100 million USD to make, for $20, yet record companies charge $20, and software companies charge tens, hundreds, even thousands of dollars ($2000 for 3D Studio Max R2!)
    "I already have all the latest software."
  • How could you foget Bif?!?

    Tak on

    -Concrete Blonde(they may have broken up, but Canadian they were)
    -Great Big Sea
    -Tragically Hip
  • Next time vote for a real government. One which will do something other than raise taxes and reneg on promises. But such a thing does not exist in Canada! The clasest we could give you are the Natural Law Party. ;`) Yes, when 50,000 yogit flyers are all bou -sorry- 'flying' at the same time all the wrolds probelms will go away!
  • I heard about this some time ago, and was quite angered by the concept. (I use many CDRs to archive downloads, and Free Software, and I don't have a single copied music CD.) I think that now that the media show has whined down, our wonderful record companies are trying to get this tax passed before the public catches on.

    I alse believe the best way to combat this is to encourage that ALL digital media be taxed (at $.75/MB ala MP3). The public would them go crazy when they find out that it costs $8,000.00 to buy a 10GB hard drive. The government then would repeal the tax, and taxing media would be such a sensitive issue that no government in its right mind would ever try something that stupid again.

    My $0.02.
    "I already have all the latest software."
  • I can't believe nobody has mentioned The Tragically Hip!!! Long live the hip.
  • Because some men committ rape, the legislature has decided that ALL men will serve a jail term of exactly 3 days out of the year to pay for the actions of rapists. While not all men committ rape. SOMEONE has to pay for the plethora of rapes that go unpunished every year and cost the nation $6billion in the mental trauma of women every year.
  • In Canada you will pay $5 for a pack of cigarettes.
    In Canada you will now pay almost $2 in taxes on blank CDs.

    Hey you guys should revolt, wait a minute you guys are in a socialist nation, you've been disarmed by your government.

    Come one down south, we're willing to accept people who want freedom.

  • are CD-Rs only a buck in the states?
    In response #44 in this thread, there is this quote:
    At my local computer store, I pay $39.99 for a spindle of 50 blank "computer" CDs.
    So no, they're not a buck. They're about 80 cents.
  • If you're that proud to be screwed, I think you really mean "FUCK ME!".

    Wait, you already are fucked. Never mind.

  • It's like if the police dept. starts billing me for parking in a handicapped zone wheather I did or not. Well, if I'm being fined anyway, why not to say "fuck it" and park in the handicapped zone anyway? Similarly, the tax on blank media will LEGITIMIZE PIRACY.

    Anonymous Coward, sometimes you can be a real jerk, but this time I think you have made a brilliant point! I almost can't believe that this is the same guy who wrote "First Post?"

    This is a point that needs to be highly publicized: The media tax is a copying license. Scream it from every rooftop: "You have already paid the alleged victims for the right to copy their work, so feel free to do so!"

    Maybe if the word gets out, the record companies will shit a brick and lobby for the law to be repealed. The law is based on the assumption that everyone is a criminal, but the actual sales are based on the fact that most people aren't, and they find it against their conscience to steal musician's work. If Joe Average, who doesn't want to steal, can be convinced that it isn't stealing, because he paid for the right, then I think all hell would break loose.

    Hmm.. I wonder. If I interpret the media tax as a license-to-copy, and it is tied to another product (media) so that you can't purchase one without also purchasing the other, does that mean there's a case for anti-trust? :-)

    Have a Sloppy day!
  • Don't forget two of the greatest Canadian artists of all time - Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. Oldies but still goodies!

    Oh, and didn't William Shatner put out a record once? :)
  • Won't work. Unless the package is marked as a GIFT, and the contents can at least pass for a gift (ie. if there's an invoice inside, you're screwed) the recipient will be dinged an import duty of roughly 100% of market value before they can claim the parcel.
  • Supposedly malt extract was labeled for baking, not making beer during Prohibition. Of course, the interest in baking products that used Malt Extract went up significantly during that time!

    Governments never learn, do they?

  • Well, didn't the article say that it had been published on Wired in 1992? But it also mentioned that comments and links/updates had been placed, in [], throughout the original article.

  • Bryan Adams == Sucky
    Celine Dion == Bitchy Diva
    Alanis Morrisette == went way too far with the nudie music video.

    and Sarah McLachlan... well, spell her friggin name right!
  • In Holland,(where I happen to live) there is already a $0.15 tax on CD-R/CD-RW 's. This tax is so small that few people actually noticed it's introduction. The distribution of that money is handled really fair here though, and aside from a percent or two in administration fee's for the government you'll at least be sure that your 15 cents will be distributed via a certain rating-system to all artists who had a song in the dutch hitlists in the last few months. Actually, if the canadian tax system would be put to effect, and distribution of the money would be handled in the same way as in holland. Then an average artist would earn more money from a CD-R on wich his album was (might have been) copied than from an album sold by his or her record company.
  • All music and video recording media is taxed in the U.S., including blank audio and video tapes. Think about it: That's why it cost's $6 to $10 for 3 lousy Type II cassettes-- a technology that is decades old. I guess CD-ROMS haven't been taxed bacause they've been viewed as a "computer product."
  • Maybe this will promote smuggling of blank CD-R's across the border, like during Prohibiton. I can see a modern-day Elliot Ness smashing boxes of CD-R's with a bulldozer.

    Yeah, except not the flow would be heading North instead of South....

    But hey, thats right, you Yanks DO still owe us (or at least our criminal underground) for doing that for you. What's more, considering Canadian beer is superior product to American swill... when do we see all those cheapo Gold-backed CD-Rs?

  • I would be a lot less hesitant to copy a CD and give it away if they are going to assume I'm doing this and charge me for it.

    If I'm paying a copyright violation fee, tax, whatever, I may as well do it if I'm paying for it.

    It sure makes it harder to feel bad about it anyway.
  • No No No.. Quebec is key in my Native Land Claims settlement... Well Actually that is the settlement..

    Bye Jean!!
  • This is probably because Marantz, Philips, etc. (the makers of the consumer audio burners) made an agreement with the media manufacturers. So if only Brand X CDR media will work in Brand Y's audio burners, then Brand X shares some of the profit from the media sale with Brand Y because the driving factor in Brand X's sales was Brand Y's functionality requirements. So basically the $6 "audio" CDR discs are only so expensive because of industry collusion.
  • though this is mostly assumption, i would think that bryan adams, etc. are all signed by _american_ record companies. aside from artists that are only known in canada, what successful canadian musicians are actually signed to canadian record labels?
  • You know, a VCR on slow speed can record six hours of audio. The tax on a videotape should be $17.76

    And even more if one instead records 32kbps MP3 using the full 5 MHz bandwidth of a video signal...

  • "I doubt you could claim with a straight face that the primary purpose of a DIMM is storing music."

    No, but I could claim, with all honesty, that I am thinking about buying a hard drive to move my existing MP3 collection onto. I would want this drive to hold 2G, seeing as how my current holdings are about 1G. That would be quite a little tax, seeing as how 1M holds 1Min of music (roughly).

  • any band with a frontman named Joey Shithead is ok by me! Even though they've been around since the early '80's (more than a lifetime for a punk band), they're still pretty awesome live, even if Joey's the only original member left
  • Greater income to a few artists means less income to the rest and he doubted that those few megastars made up for the creativity lost when the lesser known artists quit.

    The assertion is that the recording industry supports the recording industry and a few star artists, not all artists. Thus, the industry will propose law to help itself, not to help the artists. Being that we think the art is good and the industry is irrelevant, we should advocate laws that support the artists.

    With DAT copying, you could have a good underground music network, much like with MP3s. If the taxes actually went to the artists whose work was copied instead of the recording industry then we could legitimatize this underground copying because it wouldn't deprive artists of their money.

    If you think about it, there are probably more pirated copies of small artists' music than the stars, in relation to the total number of copies sold. This scheme would benefit the small artists because they're the ones who don't have contracts with the recording industry that would put their music in all the stores.
  • Of course it shows he is American ...
    What's wrong with that ?
    You have a problem with USA ?
  • Yeah, the only way is to abandon this madness and move to US. ( think about how much you would save on your taxes !)
  • >>Hm, maybe it's time to start labeling the packages as "Data Only - not to be used for audio content." Now... you know, and I know, that this would be ridiculous. But based on the logic used in formulating this tax, it just might work. "Oh golly, no, this isn't a recording medium. This is a binary backup medium, just like this tape over here..."

    Ah-HA! That explains all the wierdness in CD-R's that I see!

    I thought that CD-Rs were CD-Rs, regardless if they were used for music, data, etc. But now, you can buy "MUSIC-QUALITY CD-Rs". Heck, there's signs posted saying "Ad Correction: The xxxx CD-R's were inadvertently advertised for music purposes. They are not."

    I don't know about you, but they all look similar to me...

    Anyhow, what will they tax CD-RW's? (3 for CDN$12 at a more expensive store). After all, you can erase, rewrite with your favorite artist, when artist is boring, erase, and rewrite with current favorite... (Not for play in regular cd-players, but a useful way to not carry CDs to work)
  • Please... let me keep some of my money?!? For heaven's sakes, you drain me enough already!

    Who would bother recording material from some unknown starving artist. Alanis Morrisette, RUSH, Bryan Adams, etc... Fuck off already. You get enough of our damn money from Concerts, T-shirts, and tape sales. Do you really need another $10 million when you have $200 million already. Enough already.

    To the already over-paid artists who will benifit from this, I say: Try pumping gas for a living so that you can feed your family. Then tell me that you believe it is ethical to charge an additional tax on blank media.

    The tax presupposes all blank media purchases are made in bad faith with the intention of copying copywritten material.

    I say, fine, charge me the tax, but make the distribution of pirated material legal.
  • actually, isn't that every government?
  • You think Canadian artist will get money out of this! Don't think so, all that the mighty or should I say not so mighty governement will do wiht these taxes, is spend it where they want!!! And the place it's going is..... Pocket!?!?!?!?
    All the Canadian Governement is good at, is stealing from the poor, and giving to the rich!!!
    I may not know that much about politics, but at least, as a Canadian, I know that we vote for someone, and all they do is put money in there pockets, and for a thank you note, they write to us by adding more taxes :P
  • It seems to me that this tax is undefinable. Say you put 650MB worth of MP3 on a CD, and assume that it was 2MB/min (I don't know what the compression ratio is, I don't use MP3's) The capacity would be 325 minutes. At $0.49/15 min that comes out to $10.60/blank CD. Plus the other taxes. Am I wrong? Comments?
  • Yes it is. I used to live there, too. But I have to say that at least there are tangible benefits to average citizens for those taxes in Canada... few visible benefits here.

    And we have no room in the US to be smug. Taxes here are pretty high, too, and the politicians are no more realistic here than there.
  • > "This tax would extend to cover all recordable media (audio cassette tapes, CDs, video tapes, etc - not pre-recorded media), and is designed to help reduce copyright infringement of copyrighted materials...."

    ... but takes with it anyone using recordable media for legal purposes. Ergo, it's a blanket tax. Like charging everyone in the city for a 'parking' tax, regardless of whether or not you own a car.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court