Must Reads

Angus Defends iPod Levy Proposal

NDP MP Charlie Angus defends his iPod levy proposal in a Toronto Star op-ed and in a Search Engine interview that touches on the proposal, fair dealing, and ACTA.

14 Comments

  1. Duncan Murdoch says:

    Where to get accurate information?
    I read the op-ed and the comments that followed it. Like most online comment sections, those were full of misconceptions and false claims. It would be nice to be able to point people to a reliable source of information on this. Is there one? For example:

    Many posters complain that they are paying a levy on
    recordable CDs and DVDs even though they don’t download music. It would be worthwhile to point out that they don’t pay a levy on DVDs, because they are not classed as audio recording media. If they don’t want to pay the levy, just record to DVDs instead of CDs.

    Other ask how much money goes to the artists. This one I don’t know. You (Michael Geist) have complained that too much is kept as overhead by the collective; what is the proportion?

  2. I refuse to participate in funding of Nickelback. Haven’t we done enough damage?

  3. Angus’s approach to this levy is based on people not buying media, when that’s clearly not the case. The dwindling profits are due to industry not moving forward with the digital marketplace, and pushing it’s consumer base away from purchased product. Simply put it is self inflicted. If artists and musicians want a resolution and compensation, then maybe they should file suit on their respected labels for specifically and purposely driving consumers away from this marketplace. Leave the consumers out of this, would be my suggestion. We shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes. Maybe moving this levy on a temporary basis towards ISP’s and regulating broadband rates would be a more proactive and forward looking approach until the slaughter of the music marketplace by groups such as the RIAA subsides, or even that the RIAA itself becomes financially responsible for dwindling profits. Maybe artists should start to boycott the RIAA members. It’s not the consumers fight, nor should the consumer be brought into this at all with higher rates on mediums.

  4. The copyright consultation Toronto townhall was very representing of the “blame the consumer” for everything approach. The more that’s taken by law makers the worse the alienation becomes towards this industry. There is ample proof out there that members of the RIAA, and CRIA are 100% totally to blame for a lot of problems this industry is having. Why are the artists still going after consumers for compensation? You have enough material to go after RIAA, CRIA for that compensation yourselves. DO IT!

  5. The answer is quite simple – many artists have been as cowed by threats of litigation as have “consumers”- if not more so. And those that haven’t have little or no access to affordable independent (of industry) legal representation. Most artists support and actively free up their work – they also need some stream of remuneration – one that some advocates refuse to accept or appreciate. If there is to be a balance in the conversation then artists need to be connected and involved perhaps some so-called consumer and user groups culd get behind meaningful arts funding . . . just a thought

  6. Re: Martha
    I think there is a lot of repair towards consumers that needs to go on before consumer and user groups would support any type of extra funding by tax dollars. Right now the music and entertainment industries are the “bad guys” in large part because many “not all” have pitted consumers against this industry by actions such as this (at a time when 1 in 10 Americans are out of work):

    RT @EFF: 50,000 lawsuits vs individuals for downloading movies. Mass litigation as a business model http://eff.org/r.2hm

    I agree with you that artists need to be a hell of a lot more connected and involved in this debate. Those with the so called industry leaders need to speak out on mass with respect to the way their rights holders have handled issues in the past, and how creators are basically caught in the middle of this and are suffering financially. If consumers were to see that those with business dealings with the major labels are speaking out on how they have treated their own fans, than consumers and fans will be behind that 100% and this would also give more credibility and open up the communication lines with not just consumer groups, but those that are actively and purposely refusing to adapt to the times to come up with a solution that is consumer based!

    It’s time for those in industry to take a strong stand against this, the financial security of artistic talent will depend on whether they continue to alienate their main source of income, or one that is based on the market and the needs and wants of that marketplace ie. consumers.

    Why would industry go towards government for a levy system like this, when industry sets the price for music at the till? Why isn’t industry including this levy in the price of music, and allowing consumers to copy to different platforms? Many believe the levy holds back mass litigation, which has been debated a lot over the past several years. Instead of musicians looking towards levies as block to litigation, musicians should be on mass demanding change from those threatening litigation instead, and put forth business models around what the market dictates and wants.

    Until that happens, I think you’ll see a tremendous amount of resistance to anything industry puts forth, even if it’s considered a “balanced” approach. Bring consumers and creators together outside of the middleman. That has to be done first and on mass. There are lots of creator unions in Canada that have the power to strike on any unbalanced approach, but is also those unions that are calling for an unbalanced approach. Maybe that too needs to change?

  7. Mr Angus argues that there are only two options “either you lock down and sue or you compensate”.

    I disagree. There is a third option. Neither. Reality.

    Musicians shouldn’t be guaranteed compensation. The laws should provide them an opportunity to make money, not guarantee they get paid.

  8. Re: Martha cont…
    Consumers just want to be able to share and enjoy the works they way they want, and artists just want to get paid for it. It’s up to those in industry not government to come up with solutions around this, not preventing consumers from doing what they want with media, nor imposing a tax to obtain compensation they should be receiving from their respected labels at this point in the debate. I would agree to the levy if it was 10 years ago, but a lots changed since 2000. There is a very good understanding of the digital marketplace right now, and it’s predictable. In 2000 it wasn’t.

  9. Alan Cooper says:

    IF the “Canadian solution” of a media levy is valid (and I think it is), then there is no logical reason to distinguish in any way between different types of digital memory. In particular, the memory in an ipod is much more likely to be used for music storage than a randomly chosen CD (which is just as likely to be being used for backup of business records or private photo albums as it is for mp3 storage). I favour the ipod levy as it is totally unacceptable that the CDs used to store my personal photographs be subject to a levy when an ipod used almost entitely to store commercial music tracks is not.

    In fact, EVERY bit of digital memory should be taxed at the same rate regardless of whether it is a CD, DVD, ipod or computer hard drive, UNLESS its owner has specifically undertaken not to record copyright content on it. But the proviso is essential and must be equally available on all memory types.

    This could be achieved by selling specially marked media and devices (much like the coloured tax-free gas that is often sold for agricultural purposes) – and if this was available, I for one wouldn’t mind if the penalty for abusing it was quite substantial.

  10. Alan Cooper,

    The majority of iPods or any other portable media devices (notice they don’t call them portable music devices) have progressed from just storing music to storing music, video, photos, audio books, files, etc. and is now similar to your described use of CDs for non-music purposes.

    As for being fine with it, will you still think similarly when Access Copyright, BSA, CMPDA/MPAA, SOCAN, ACF, CSCS, DRCC, PACC, ACTRA, AFM, SACD, PGC, SODRAC, and CARCC want their respective levies as well for those other uses outside of music?

  11. Dwight Williams says:

    Make’em share the same levy.

  12. Re: Alan Cooper
    while we’re at it, let’s tax the amount of air you breathe per year, or better yet, throw a $5 tax on toilet paper. Maybe then people would start using the maple leaf to wipe their bottoms with. Not everything should be taxed, especially when industry can easily set the price at the till for this. Tax payers should have to “BAIL OUT” another industry. Let them set the price for their own ass wipes.

  13. correction
    “Tax payers should have to “BAIL OUT” another industry”

    Tax payers SHOULDN’T have to “BAIL OUT” another industry

  14. Alan Cooper says:

    MikeB you seem to be agreeing with me that iPods and “other portable media devices” are similar in use to CDs so it would seem only fair to tax/levy them at the same rate.

    JasonK your argument would make sense if people used toilet paper for copying and distributing other people’s work.

    In case I wsn’t clear enough, my points were that
    1) All digital media types should be treated equally
    2) IF there is a levy to cover the expected value of stored copyright material then there MUST be an option to avoid the levy on a media item by committing to refrain from using it for storage of unlicensed copies.