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House of Commons Debate on iPod Levy

There was a lengthy debate on the iPod levy in the House of Commons on Friday, including discussion on my appearance before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage the day before.

5 Comments

  1. The Strangest Comments ever…
    Mrs. Carole Lavallée (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, BQ) says: “Unlike what the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages claims, this has nothing to do with BlackBerrys, laptops or iPhones.”

    If Blackberrys, laptops, and iPhones weren’t used as audio recording playback devices, this might have been true.

    Interestingly, the motion from committee refers to “audio recording devices”. But the vast majority of MP3 players are NOT audio recording devices, and never have been. They are audio playback devices. I’m not even certain that this would be an easy fit in the current Copyright Act, because the structure of the levy is on media, not devices.

    Mr. Dean Del Mastro (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, CPC) says: “Today we are hearing about a tax on technology. I cannot believe we are actually talking about instituting a special tax on technology, the same kind of technology that would drive Canadian innovation and productivity.”

    Of course, if this is a tax, then this is Bad. But his own party is apparently quite prepared to consider an outright ban on technology via the anti-circumvention route. Will someone remind him that banning technology can be as anti-innovative as taxing it – possibly even more so?

  2. From the minutes: “In return, they are asked to pay a tiny fee when purchasing the blank medium they use to make copies.” Would that were true. The fee is a significant portion of the overall price, and in spite of Ms Lavallee’s statement, you pay if for when purchasing the blank medium that MAY be used to make copies… not just on the ones that copies are actually made with. This increases the effective levy.

    So, is the levy to be paid on an MP3 player? What constitutes an MP3 player? Perhaps she actually believes that she is talking about something like a dedicated MP3 player. If she does, then she needs to either educate herself about technology or ensure that the levy applies specifically dedicated MP3 players, because otherwise computers, phones (smart phones in particular), PDAs and eBooks will also be covered currently. Computers are doubly levied as the computer itself would have a levy paid, and if you burned a CD full of MP3s, the CD would have had the levy paid as well.

  3. @Chris “Of course, if this is a tax, then this is Bad. But his own party is apparently quite prepared to consider an outright ban on technology via the anti-circumvention route. Will someone remind him that banning technology can be as anti-innovative as taxing it – possibly even more so?”

    I 100% agree with you Chris. From my understanding these are our new options: take lawsuits and anti-circumvention, or levy the mp3 listening devices (which are soon to be extinct) while amending the fair dealing provision. I guess my only question is how will the international artists I listen to get paid from said levy? I listen to pure overseas indie. I would like to know whether the levy would be overhauled to support the present and future wide range of artists. I don’t listen to Canadian music anymore. Why should I pay a cent to Céline Dion or her labels?

    ( http:// ) sites.google.com/site/sxswtorrent/2010 heres a link to 2 torrents containing 5.4 gigs of free indie music. You would be hard pressed to find a single one of these artists included in the levy.


  4. “I listen to pure overseas indie. I would like to know whether the levy would be overhauled to support the present and future wide range of artists. I don’t listen to Canadian music anymore. Why should I pay a cent to Céline Dion or her labels? ”

    ++

  5. Producer
    Gee: We have been down this road when the CD burner came out we had a levy on CD’s.