Committees / News

The Bill C-32 Legislative Committee: My Opening Statement

I appeared before the Bill C-32 legislative committee as part of a hearing that addressed a wide range of issues including digital locks, fair dealing, and statutory damages.  I’ll post the full transcript once available, but in the meantime, the video can be streamed from the Parliamentary site and my opening statement can be found below.

Appearance before the Bill C-32 Legislative Committee, December 1, 2010

Good afternoon.  My name is Michael Geist.  I am a law professor at the University of Ottawa. As many of you know, I have been very active on copyright policy issues for many years.  In 2007, I launched the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group that grew to over 92,000 members with local chapters across the country.  Earlier this year, I edited From Radical Extremism to Balanced Copyright: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda, the largest academic study on Bill C-32 to-date, with peer reviewed contributions from 20 leading Canadian experts.

That said, I appear before this committee today in a personal capacity representing only my own views.

While I am sometimes characterized as a copyright critic, the reality is that I am supportive of much of Bill C-32.  When the bill was first tabled, I described it as flawed but fixable, with strong support for many of the compromises found in the legislation.  That remains my view and I’m happy to talk about any aspect of the bill but want to focus my opening remarks on two issues, fair dealing and digital locks.

Fair Dealing

Bill C-32′s fair dealing reforms represent an attempt to strike a balance between those seeking a flexible fair dealing provision and those opposed to new exception categories altogether. I think the C-32 compromise is a good one.

With full-page advertisements and regular op-eds, we are all aware that some groups claim that these changes will harm Canadian culture. I’d like to point to two reasons why the reality is far less worrisome and offer a potential amendment to alleviate ongoing concerns.

First, fair dealing in education is not new.  Fair dealing already encompasses research, private study, news reporting, criticism, and review.  As you can well imagine, these categories cover a considerable amount of copying on Canadian campuses.  These latest reforms are not revolutionary, but evolutionary, reforms that will help enable the use of new technologies in the classroom and support student creativity, innovation, and curiosity in their scholarly pursuits.

Second, Canadian fair dealing analysis involves a two-part test. Part one is whether the use (or dealing) qualify for one of the fair dealing exceptions. Part two is, where it does qualify, is analysis of whether the use itself fair.

The extension of fair dealing to education only affects the first part of the test. In other words, while Bill C-32 will extend the categories of what qualifies as fair dealing, it does not change the need for the use itself to be fair. The Supreme Court of Canada has identified six non-exhaustive factors to assist a court’s fairness inquiry and the Federal Court of Appeal, in a case involving educational copying, confirmed this summer that the C-32 changes will still require a fairness analysis.

While I think the concerns are misplaced, but there is the potential to provide greater certainty to alleviate writer and publisher fears.

This can be accomplished by codifying the six-part fairness test within the Copyright Act.  This reform would ensure that judges would be required to assess the fairness of any use, including education, before it was treated as fair dealing. It would also put to rest claims that fair dealing would lead to a free-for-all.  Quite the opposite is true, by design, the reforms would ensure that fair dealing is fair for all.

Digital Locks

The digital lock rules have been among the most discussed – and criticized – aspects of Bill C-32. I should clarify that much of the concern does not come from digital locks per se.  Companies are free to use them if they so choose.  Moreover, there is general agreement that there should be some legal protection for digital locks since it is a requirement of the WIPO Internet treaties.

Rather, the concern stems from C-32′s unbalanced position on digital locks in which the digital lock trumps virtually all other rights, as the committee heard last week from Mr. Blais in the context of education.  This distorts the copyright balance not only for the existing exceptions in the Copyright Act, but also for the new consumer rights, all of which can be trumped by a digital lock at a time when locks are widely found on devices, DVDs, e-books, and more.

The most obvious solution would be to amend the bill by clarifying that it is only a violation to circumvent a digital lock where the underlying purpose is to infringe copyright.  This approach, which has been adopted by trading partners such as New Zealand and Switzerland, would ensure that the law could be used to target clear cases of commercial piracy but that individual consumer and user rights are preserved.

I’d like to expand on this proposal with five points.  First, this approach is compliant with the WIPO Internet treaties, which offer considerable flexibility in their implementation.  There are competing opinions on the issue, but no shortage of scholarly analysis and country implementations that confirm this is an option open to Canada. In fact, we need look no further than Canada’s own Bill C-60 to recognize that Canadian officials determined that this approach was consistent with the treaties.

Second, the claim that 13 years after the treaty Canada should adopt a U.S. style approach runs contrary to the emerging international record. With the benefit of experience, the clear trend is toward greater flexibility as even the U.S. has added exceptions for jailbreaking phones and unlocking DVDs for some non-commercial purposes.

Third, this approach is entirely consistent with the goals of Bill C-32.  It enables us to target commercial infringers who are profiting from their actions since their circumventions would still constitute violations of the law.  Meanwhile, it provides business with legal protection for locks some say they need and maintains consumer fairness by assuring Canadians that their personal property rights will be respected.

Fourth, it is worth emphasizing that amending the new consumer exceptions alone is not enough. For example, even if the lock provision on format shifting were removed, consumers would still face the general anti-circumvention restrictions.  Both must be amended in order to preserve the digital copyright balance.

Fifth, in the event that the committee instead considers specific new exceptions and reforms to the digital lock rules, I have provided the committee clerk with a full list of proposed reforms, many of which are based on rules found in other countries.

I welcome your questions.

Tags: /

45 Comments

  1. pat donovan says:

    explict
    protests are fine, but i would’ve been FAR more explicit.
    utube/area163 big9.mp4 we’re the gov’t
    and we’re here
    to help you.
    really, the draconoan lunacey these days needs a FAR more vigorous denial.

    packrat

  2. Dr. Geist, can you please clearify your position for us on the $5000 “deterrent” brought up in questioning yesterday.

    http://jasonkoblovsky.blogspot.com/2010/12/clash-of-titans-in-copyright-committee.html

    Also read the comments. Thanks.

  3. What is the point of making the act of bypassing digital locks illegal if infringement is already illegal? (other than our obligations to WIPO)

  4. My observations part 1
    I had a bar of dark chocolate to keep me awake. Still, it is most surprising that I was able to sit through two hours of parliamentary television without falling asleep ;)

    Well, you can certainly see the various interests being represented today. Sookman for business, Geist for users and Pina D’Agostino for creators. Sure there was some give and take among them but on the whole all the main stakeholder views were there.

    Sookman made a point about TPM being needed to enable new business models. Citing for example something being released as a subscription or rental at a lower price point could then be ‘stolen’ by by passing the TPM. I can agree that this would be unworkable without further clarification, yet the other side if the coin, if full priced media (DVD etc.) is still encumbered by the same TPM then the content industry can’t have it both ways. A solution could be to specify what types of TPM would be circumventable and/or for what purposes. Of course another way would be to only put TPM on price discounted/subscription media, but I do not trust the content industry to enable any fair use unless forced to do so. Sookman also cited the UK approach to copyright control and ISP liability, ignoring the recent declaration by parliament that they actually got it wrong in their recently quickly shoved through legislation and need to revisit the topic altogether.


  5. @Crockett: “Sookman made a point about TPM being needed to enable new business models.”

    Sookman still has toproduce an example of such model.
    Something novel and useful, not the “we sell you a DVD then sue you for viewing it on your iPOD instead of your TV set”.

    Otherwise it’s pure speculation.

    Nap.

  6. My observations part 2
    Another strange thing that Sookman said was as the bill is written it would enable people to ‘side’ shift media under fair use. In other words to give media away to others. I fail to see this interpretation and suspect it is just lawyer-ish misdirection. He actually does not seem to ever tackle legitimate fair use concerns instead always citing possible worse case scenarios.

    D’Agostino was mostly pushing against the inclusion of education as a fair dealing category. She cited the need for greater clarification as she felt the current wording was too open. Geist suggested codifying in the six step test that the Supreme court had laid out, but I got the impression that was not good enough in her view. She then asked for a provision for some type of further outside input after the crafting of the legislation. I’m OK with there needing to be some more specific language in regards to the fair dealing provisions (and not just in regards to education), but I would also suggest a much more frequent review schedule than the proposed 5 years which is a geological length of time in matters pertaining to copyright and advancing technology.

    There seemed to be much concern, especially from the Quebec MPs as to a loss of income to artists per fair use. Geist honestly answered that there would be some instances that this would be the case. He of course also brought up the digital locks provisions and realistically stated that the vast majority of users are going to ignore them if they are too restrictive to perceived fairness and flexibility, leading to a further eroding of respect to copyright as a whole. In this regard I can whole heartedly agree.

    I would like to expand on that though, there is already a loss of income due to infringement and IMO greater fair use and value added services would not add to those losses but rather equalize or even abate the losses as consumers recognizing good will on the part of the media industry and would then be willing to return to more legal solutions. The suggestion for greater penalties and tougher legislation, while sounding good, has been proven to be ineffective in other regions of the world and I do not see why it would be successful here.

    All in all, a good debate and hopefully with goodwill and good effort a bill that is at least acceptable to most can be crafted.

  7. Is it just me…
    … or did you guys also notice that Michael, Barry and to some lesser degree Pina were looking quite tense, like in being uncomfortable/intimidated or something like that?

    The only person feeling “vraiment a l’aise” there was Carole :-)

    Nap.


  8. Nap said:
    “Is it just me or did you guys also notice that Michael, Barry and to some lesser degree Pina were looking quite tense, like in being uncomfortable/intimidated or something like that?”

    Yes, I did notice, but I think this was more due to the time constraint placed upon them to get their views across effectively. Overall I found all three well spoken and well presented. I don’t agree with everything Sookman says but he did raise some valid points. On the other hand I found he came off as a underhanded and pretentious, undercutting Geist whenever possible and spending way to much time spouting off his qualifications rather than doing something more constructive. I found D’Agostino to be the most comfortable, but seemed to be the least prepared, sometimes sounding unsure of herself and stumbling over answers. Geist was the most composed and prepared to defend his positions but, perhaps, might have undermined his position slightly with statements no one wants to hear. Things like the fact that if the TMPs are perceived to be unfair a majority will ignore them regardless of the legislation and that they only hurt those who already wish to stay legit. Totally true!!! Another being the $5000 fine not being “pocket change” and actually being quite substantial to most people. Copyright trolls and troll wanabees like Sookman want to portray quite the opposite. There is a lot of money to be made in litegation and settlement scams, even if it is to the detriment of the industry…VERY short-sighted thinking. Outrageous statutory damages don’t stop people here or anywhere else and they won’t stop people if they’re included in C-32.

    In fact such legislation could make piracy worse. Necessity is the mother of invention, draconian laws and restrictions will only cause more disrespect and drive the pirate scene further underground, but I guarantee, it will be no less active. We’re on the virge of widespread anonymous, virtually untraceable Internet. It already exists in the form of TOR and i2p. Once such mechanisms become the norm this will be no less than signing a death warrant for the industry if it’s not prepared. Yes, I realise NOTHING is truely untraceable, but such systems will make tracing prohibitively time consuming and expensive.


  9. @IanME: “Another being the $5000 fine not being “pocket change””

    This represents the surgeon’s fees for performing 4 angioplasties. You know, that heart surgery that saves your live when you have a heart attack.

    So, if in Barry’s view this is “pocket change”, either our surgeons are severely underpaid or Barry’s “industry” is grossly overpaid.

    Which one, Mr. Sookman?

    Nap.

  10. An ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world view …
    Anyone who thinks $5000 is pocket change lives in an overpriced glass tower.

    And who … WHO I ask you, would think to themselves “Oh, now I can download all those wonderful Hollywood sequels and Brittney Spear pop songs to my library and all I have to do is write a cheque to a lawyer for $5000. What an investment!”. Does Sookman or any other of the mouth-pieces actually believe this? Are they so enamored of their their own great worth that they conceive of a sea of lemmings trampling over each other $5K in hand to glut themselves on digital nirvana?

    I have to wonder which in greater in their minds … deception or delusion. Maybe it’s both.


  11. “Anyone who thinks $5000 is pocket change…”

    Anyone who thinks $5000 is pocket change probably isn’t pirating to begin with…they’re more likely paying their servants to go out and buy it for them. I think our lawyers and politicians make too much if they truely think $5000 is pocket change.

    The whole arguement is nothing more than an attempt, or worse, an excuse to get copyright trolling law suit rolling in Canada. If I were to receive a “John Doe” letter telling me to pay a settlement or suffer the full fine, I might be more inclined to call their bluff than if the fine treatened to be considerably higher, such as in the US.

    Really, that’s all it can be about, their arguement for unbounded statutory damages makes no sense otherwise. Basically, the $5000 makes copyright trolling not feasible against a private individual in anything other than truely warrated circumstances where “actual” proof of infringement exists. Sorry, no John Doe letters. These things amaze me, I can’t believe they’ve been allowed to get away with this in the US and UK. It’s nothing more than extortion and I hope every lawyer involved eventually loses their license to practise law, or better, ends up in prison. It’s one thing when you have actual proof of infringemnt, but simply because an IP address showed up on a list, to use threats and to prey on fear EXPECTING a settlement is complete hypocrisy against their entire profession. It’s a gross abuse of their authority and perversion of justice.


  12. I’d say that if “the industry” is making so much money that $5000 is pocket change for them, while the artists are making an average of $20000/year (4 pocket change loads), then the government should indeed intervene to do some redistribution of the income.

    Not by taking levies from me and giving them to “the industry”, as it doesn’t solve anything.

    But how about taxing exactly “the industry”. Increase income tax and add a flat tax (“levy”) on each sold recording/print. Like increase their taxes with 15-25% and add $1 to each sold CD/DVD/Book/whatever. And add a property tax for the Intellectual Property that “the industry” holds. And compensate the artists from the funds created like this. Especially since now, because of the $1 levy, you know exactly which artists sold what so you know exactly to whom to send the cheques and for what amount.

    Nap.

  13. Thanks!
    Thanks for taking the clear, reasoned stance that you expressed in front of the committee. While my personal feeling is that protection for TPMs is silly (copyright already protects from infringment…why do TPMs need special protection), it *is* codified in international law, so I guess politics dictates that we ratify.

    However I’m very concerned by the attitude displayed by the members of parliament and the committee; it is quite clear that business interests dominate consumer rights in the attitudes of pretty much everyone in the discussion. To me, it’s quite clear the direction this needs to be taken, but nobody seems to ‘get it’. Protecting TPMs doesn’t help anyone in the end. It might make big business feel a bit more comfortable, but pirates gonna pirate. It’s only going to alienate consumers and erode their attitude towards copyright even further. In the end, this will have a far more detrimental effect on cultural industries than adopting a more moderate stance today would.

    Sigh. Looks like I very likely might have to just keep on ignoring the copyright law entirely…

  14. Thinking outside the box is the only way forward …
    @Nap “Especially since now, because of the $1 levy, you know exactly which artists sold what so you know exactly to whom to send the cheques and for what amount.”

    Exactly what I have been suggesting for quite a while now. Even Sandy Crawley told me it was a nice idea!

  15. It’s about time …
    How many people find this annoying?

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/12/calm-act-passed-will-quiet-loud-tv-commercials-within-a-year.ars

    A small victory against the forced advertising that pervades our lives … now if only I could skip those commercials on my DVDs before the movie starts.

  16. @Napalm:
    What happens when they collect your proposed $1 levy on a work authored by someone who was not Canadian?

    And if you only put the levy on Canadian works, then non-Canadian works will have an unfair economic advantage.


  17. @Mark: “What happens when they collect your proposed $1 levy on a work authored by someone who was not Canadian? ”

    You split it to all Canadian artists proportional to their unit sales (which is what happens to the dollars on Canadian works too).

    Basically what I’m saying is that there’s no way around having a levy then let’s have it collected and distributed in a reasonable and accountable way.

    I know the cost will be transferred to me in the end but I agree to pay 25.99 instead of 24.99 if the difference really goes to the artist that produced that particular work.

    But I don’t agree to pay a levy for a blank disk and have the proceedings go to “the industry”. They did absolutely no work for that blank whatever.

    Nap.


  18. @Crockett: “How many people find this annoying? ”

    I do have a basic cable subscription but I don’t spend more than 1 hour / month watching TV…. so it doesn’t make any difference for me…. my wife on the other hand could really use such law…. :-)

    Nap.


  19. @Crockett: “now if only I could skip those commercials on my DVDs before the movie starts. ”

    Talk to IanME, apparently he knows a place that sells extremist radical DVD players that can skip those no matter what.

    Nap.

  20. @Napalm

    And how would that be enforced in the case of online music delivery, such as with iTunes?


  21. @Mark: You agree with Apple that for sales to Canadian residents they have to add the levy and pay it at fiscal year end to Revenue Canada.

    For singles you can have a lower levy than for albums ($0.10 instead of $1)

    Pretty much like you collect HST/GST from online stores.

    Nap.

  22. @Napalm
    Yeah… uhmm… somehow I don’t think Apple is gonna be too keen on tracking that, as they aren’t located in Canada.


  23. Nap said:
    “Talk to IanME, apparently he knows a place that sells extremist radical DVD players that can skip those no matter what.”

    HAHAHAHA Mine is an “off-brand” called Nintaus. Region free, system free, unlocked commercials (Can skip anything.). It’s been a solid player for 10 years now. In those days, I payed about $225 at a store in “China-Town” in Calgary. These days you can buy one (Perhaps not Nintaus) for about $50 on eBay. You’d have to ask about ad skipping. It’s usually the priority of someone buying such a player. I know I can’t skip ads on other region free player I have (Don’t remember the brand as it’s just stored in case my primary player dies). Check item 360322975315 or 200550602556 on eBay…or spend a bit more on a “name-brand”, here is a Toshiba, 200507759542. There is a whole store on eBay that specializes in this sort of thing but they’re in the US so you would pay a premium for shipping…

    http://stores.ebay.ca/MULTI-SYSTEM-DVD-REGION-FREE-DVD

  24. @last straw
    Tonight I have received the last call from alliant. I have told them to stop calling on a number of calls but they persist in trying to sell me HDTV subscription. I have rogers now and and getting rid of it. My family all think that getting access to anytime video for whatever it costs is better then paying for PVRs and cable subscriptions. We have had issues with the PVR we bout (only record 5 shows at a time in HD) and then delete them. If someone provided a service then we would thing on it, but now netflix seems to meet all our needs and at a discount of over $100 a month.

    Full disclosure, I am not in any way related to telcomes, phone, internet or cable providers, just an average consumer that has been bent over too many times with rate adjustments and changes to subscriptions for programs we normally watch.

    that being said, Mr Geist, the symposium started to let the people in politics know what the real people are feeling. Thanks you and keep it up.

  25. …correction…
    Ad skipping is usually “not” the priority of someone buying such a player.

  26. Maybe there should be better contracts?
    Mark,

    Music on iTunes is already DRM free, the market (and Apple) forced that. Now it is incumbent on the contracts between Apple and the artists to determine the compensation level if they they want to put their music on the service. I think contracts is really the place where this should take place, not levies. As for media that still has DRM, now is the opportunity to negotiate the renumeration before it too is forced to go DRM free. Or perhaps offer DRM free versions with shifting/backup rights etc. at a small price premium. The premium being passed onto the creator. Personally I would have paid $1.09 for a DRM free version over a $0.99 song back in the days before DRM on music was discarded. That would be a 10% raise to all musicians. I think a fair amount as I doubt more than 1 in 10 people were going to pay for the same content twice anyways.

    Just some thoughts.

  27. Geist has failed I think with respect to bringing the public interest into play in these consultations. I’ve written a letter to the C32 comittee members. That letter can be viewed here:

    http://bit.ly/gWgOHv

    I’m also intouch with Angus, that conversation can be viewed here:

    http://bit.ly/ekUw5z

    Considering those that support Geist, I shoun;t have to be in DAMAGE control here!

  28. Those within the fair copyright for canada local chapters that beleive Geist is not represting the views of those who have joined, please contact me at jkobonews @ rogers dot com. I will be pressing to be heard at this comittee representing the public interest in this matter. Thanks! My further input on this comittee hearing can be found:

    http://bit.ly/gzGYph


  29. @Mark: “Yeah… uhmm… somehow I don’t think Apple is gonna be too keen on tracking that, as they aren’t located in Canada. ”

    They have to chose between doing it or stop selling to Canadian customers. Amazon would be only so glad. As last time I checked they were collecting GST/HST for canadian customers and I suspect they have a tracking system in place.

    Nap.


  30. @JasonK: Please note Michael’s opening words: “That said, I appear before this committee today in a personal capacity representing only my own views.”

    He never pretended to be representing the views of any group.

    Nap.


  31. @Crocket: “I think contracts is really the place where this should take place, not levies.”

    Well… when a group of people get grossly underpaid (artists in our case), there are about 3 steps the government can take:

    1. Examine if the “industry” is compliant with existing competition, contract and work laws. If not, apply the law. If yes, proceed to step 2.

    2. Examine the existing competition, contract and work laws to see if there is a loophole being exploited. Amend the law to close the loophole. If it still doesn’t work, proceed to next step.

    3. Create redistribution of income through taxes or a new law.

    I guess in our case (C-32) the government jumped straight to step 3 without going through 1 & 2.

    Nap.

  32. @Napalm
    I’ve got to disagree with you on item 3). This should not be an option for someone who is physically capable of earning a sufficient income to live on. If the person chooses to not do so, then why should I help them? This sounds harsher than it is intended, but if the person is unwilling to help themselves, why should they expect me to help them? OK, they may need to take work outside of their chosen field. I know of at least one trained mechanical engineer who has never actually worked as one; he is currently selling real estate to feed his family.


  33. @Anon-K:

    I agree with you except in one situation: you have a talented prolific musician that sells boatloads of CDs every year yet he gets $24000/year from “the industry”.

    Then you have to do some redistribution. The levy system I was proposing (flat $1 levy on sold CDs) would reward only musicians that actually sell CDs, and that proportionally to the number sold. If you don’t sell any you don’t get any money.

    Otherwise we have the current system which is some kind of welfare system or just goes into the pockets of some executive against their next yacht.

    Nap.


  34. @Anon-K:

    The only other alternative is to nationalize “the industry” and make sure that the artists contracts are fair.

    I’m sure that “the industry” will fight tooth and nail such solution, and some artists might not be pleased either.

    Nap.


  35. Anon-K said:
    “I’ve got to disagree with you on item 3). This should not be an option for someone who is physically capable of earning a sufficient income to live on.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. What’s $24000 a year? About $12/hr in a regular job, perhaps has much as $14/hr if the $24000 is take-home, after tax. That’s about $2000/month. If you’re single and have no other debts, one can live quite comfortably on this.

    When I finished school, I moved to Calgary and took a job where I was taking home $1200 a month and $600 of that would go to rent. I took public transit, went out both nights every weekend and had money left over…not alot, but I wasn’t hurting either.

    That being said, I still think the problem with the industry is primariliy unfair contracts, but the artists still have to agree and sign the contract. If they can’t make ends meet after that, they are in part to blame, then they should take a second job or seriously consider a profession change…plain and simple. I already pay taxes to support those out of work and in my entire working career, and I’ve done some really crappy jobs to avoid it, I have never claimed EI. You’ve never had an exciting job until you drive around counting telephone poles. I don’t want to pay any more taxes to support artists if, as Anon-K said, they’re not willing to make sacrifices to help themselves. I don’t need to pay more taxes, the contract system needs to be fixed.

    If Bruce Dickinson has a job outside of Iron Maiden, and God knows he doesn’t need the money, then there is no reason some Joe Blow up-and-comer shouldn’t be expected to do the same. In fact Bruce Dickinson doesn’t hold down only one job. Aside from being an airline pilot in the UK, he is an avid fencer and runs his own company, Duellist Fencing, selling fencing supplies. This is called job security. If at any time Iron Maiden disolves and his wife divorces him and takes all his money, he still has something to fall back on. Granted Dickinson might be considered a bit of an over-achiever, but too many musicians, and artists in general, do not have a fall back plan. What’s Avril Lavigne’s fallback plan when her popularity wains and she runs out of money? She hasn’t even finished high school.

  36. @Nap
    “@JasonK: Please note Michael’s opening words: “That said, I appear before this committee today in a personal capacity representing only my own views.”

    To that I have no doubt. The problems I’m having with, is whether Geist understands the views expressed by those that have thrusted him into the spotlight here:

    “In 2007, I launched the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group that grew to over 92,000 members with local chapters across the country.”

    I think most of these people joined on threat of stat damges.

  37. @Nap

    I don’t recall paying any taxes on stuff I’ve purchased through iTunes… and considering the price points that were involved, it seems unlikely to me that the taxes were already factored into the price it was being sold at.

    Of course, I haven’t exactly bought a lot of stuff on iTunes either… maybe a collective total of about $10 or so since it started up.


  38. @Mark:

    If Apple is selling goods in Canada without paying import duties and/or taxes then Revenue Canada has some work to do.

    I buy CDs not tunes so my experience is mostly with amazon. They have a canadian subsidiary (amazon.ca) and they ship the goods from Canada, collecting HST.

    The US site (amazon.com) will mostly not sell to Canadians (you’ll get a message “these items cannot be shipped to this destination”) or in the rare case they would, they’re shipped from US going through the duties office so you’ll pay import duties.

    If iTunes is eschewing this then I expect Revenue Canada to straighten them up.

    Nap.


  39. @Mark:

    Just checked, Apple has a Canadian subsidiary:

    Apple Canada
    7495 Birchmount Road
    Markham, ON L3R 5G2

    and their online Apple Store for Canada is a localized version (i.e. you don’t buy from the same store as those in US).

    I guess they’re legit with Revenue Canada too. Would be stupid not to. As much as you can argue about what “fair use” is, you cannot argue with the taxman.

    Nap.

  40. Okay… it’s simply possible that I never noticed. I haven’t bought anything on iTunes in quite a long time.

  41. Amazon.com
    I have had no issues with them shipping to Canada, and I have never been hit for duty. The big problem with Amazon.com now is that since our dollar went parity to the US, they now apply an “Import fee” directly to your order that pretty much brings the price up to almost exactly what you would pay on amazon.ca. I used to order a lot of movies from Amazon.com because they were, on average, $10 cheaper and with the strength of our $ it was a lot cheaper than on Amazon.ca.

    I recently bought a BluRay concert video from Amazon.fr. It took about 5 weeks to get here, but no duty and no import fee, like on the US site. With shipping it cost me a total $36CAD. A steal considering it’s never been released here and to buy it from specialty stores on this side of the pond, mostly in the US, it would have run well over $40 plus shipping.

    There are a handful of items that should be able to come across the boarders freely from any Amazon site. Books, movies and CDs are among those items. Generally, you won’t get hit for duty on anything under $50. It seems arbitrary though, I’ve bought a computer, $200 worth of cabling, movies, and many bike parts, had them shipped across the boarder from US retail stores and have only gotten hit for duty on one bike part order. I’ve gotten hit for duty on text books, which are suppoed to be duty free. It’s all arbitrary.


  42. @IanME:

    http://www.grooveyard.ca/

    They always seem to be able to deliver French stuff that’s out of stock / unavailable on amazon, archambault and indigo.

    Don’t get fooled by the rather archaic look of the site, I bought lots of stuff from them with no issues.

    Nap.


  43. “El 10 de noviembre de 2005, el embajador se entrevista con la ministra de Cultura, Carmen Calvo: en el cable 45583, el propio embajador concluye que en el Gobierno español hay buenas intenciones, pero no hay resultados.”

    Which means Carmen has very good diplomatic skills. :-) Unlike the american diplomats that engaged in name calling.

    Nap.


  44. Some cable related to a meeting with Mr. Moore would be THA BOMB.

    Looking forward to it. C’mon Julien, don’t keep us in such suspense.

    Nap. :-)

  45. Slartibartfast says:

    Nice one … whatever happened to broadcast standards
    I would love to watch the video, except my own government has chosen not encode their media in either of the accepted broadcast standards H.263 or H.264. I’m so glad my taxpayer dollars made it to the salary of the technology “experts” in Government; honestly, who the heck still uses WMV?