Having reviewed the format and time shifting provisions, I now turn to the music shifting provisions (Section 29.22). Industry Minister Jim Prentice has heavily promoted these provisions as he assures Canadians that they can now shift music from CDs to their iPods. The provision has faced significant criticism from all sides, however. The Canadian Private Copying Collective is livid at the change, arguing that it will "rob creators of their rights, denying them compensation for this use of their work." In what sounds a lot like consumer group complaints, the CPCC adds that they were not consulted on the issue and that an open consultation is needed.
From the consumer perspective, the provision does not go far enough. I think it is fair to say that most consumers believe that if they have paid for a song, they should have the right to listen to it on the device of their choice without further compensation (CRIA seemingly agrees). Such uses should be considered fair uses and the value of listening to a song on multiple devices can be built into the initial purchase price.
Yet the music shifting provision is subject to some significant limitations that undermine their fairness.
First up – as with the other shifting provisions – is the fact that it is subject to an anti-circumvention limitation. In other words, the right to shift music to your iPod is not a right that you control. It is a right that is effectively dictated by the record label who can easily remove the right by including copy-controls on the CD release. In fact, the anti-circumvention limitation even applies to private copies onto blank CDs. This means that consumers pay for the CD and pay the levy on a blank CD that nominally gives them the right to make a personal copy, yet violate the law if they circumvent a copy-control in order to do so. If these provisions are to strike a genuine balance, the law should stop treating paying customers like criminals by giving them the right to legally shift their music to the device of their choice.