The music shifting provision is careful to limit the number of copies that may be shifted to one per device. In particular, the provision (Section 29.22 (1)(c)) states that an individual may reproduce "the sound recording no more than once for each device that the individual owns, whether the reproduction […]
Post Tagged with: "IPod"
A Montreal law student has launched a class action lawsuit against Apple over inflated iPod storage claims.
The Canadian Recording Industry Association this week quietly filed documents in the Federal Court of Appeal that will likely shock many in the industry. CRIA, which spent more than 15 years lobbying for the creation of the private copying levy, is now fighting to eliminate the application of the levy on the Apple iPod since it believes that the Copyright Board of Canada's recent decision to allow a proposed tariff on iPods to proceed "broadens the scope of the private copying exception to avoid making illegal file sharers liable for infringement."
Given that CRIA's members collect millions from the private copying levy, the decision to oppose its expansion may come as a surprise. Yet the move reflects a reality that CRIA has previously been loath to acknowledge – the Copyright Board has developed jurisprudence that provides a strong argument that downloading music on peer-to-peer networks is lawful in Canada. Indeed, CRIA President Graham Henderson provides a roadmap for the argument in his affidavit:
"First, the Board has stated, in obiter dicta, on several occasions that the Private Copying regime legalizes copying for the private use of the person making the copy, regardless of whether the source is non-infringing or not. Therefore, according to the Board, downloading an infringing track from the Internet is not infringing, as long as the downloaded copy is made onto an 'audio recording medium'…
Second, also in obiter dicta, the Board stated that the private copying exception in Section 80 is not conditioned on the existence of a tariff to collect royalties covering the medium onto which copies are made.
Third, in combination with the aforementioned obiter dicta in the Board's other decisions, the Decision [the iPod decision] could potentially be interpreted to allow the copying of music files from any source – whether legitimate or illegitimate – onto any type of device ordinarily used by individuals to copy music, such as personal computers…"
While Henderson and CRIA make it clear that they disagree with this interpretation, they are obviously sufficiently concerned that it reflects Canadian law that they have burned their remaining bridges with Canadian music in order to try to persuade the Federal Court of Appeal to allow them to intervene in iPod hearings.
My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) focuses on last month's Copyright Board decision that re-opens the door to placing a levy of up to $75 on iPods as part of the private copying levy. I note that the case may create a sense of déjà vu, since it marks the second time that the Canadian Private Copying Collective, the collective that has pocketed more than $150 million from the levy since 2000, has sought to include iPods within the levy system. It first introduced an iPod levy in 2003, only to have the Federal Court of Appeal strike it down as the court declared that "it is for Parliament to decide whether digital audio recorders such as MP3 players are to be brought within the class of items that can be levied. . .as [the law] now reads, there is no authority for certifying a levy on such devices or the memory embedded therein."
Notwithstanding the Court's unambiguous language, the CPCC reintroduced the iPod levy earlier this year, arguing that the MP3 player comments were "obiter"(a legal reference to a passing remark that does not form a necessary part of the court's decision). Canadian retailers and storage media companies unsurprisingly challenged that interpretation, leading to last month's ruling that sided with the CPCC. The Copyright Board did not mince words, suggesting that the levy could also be applied to cellphones and personal computers, and warning that excluding the iPod from the levy system would "instantly makes the conduct of millions of Canadians illegal, and even possibly criminal."
The decision will presumably be appealed, virtually guaranteeing years of litigation that promises to divert millions of dollars earmarked for artists to lawyers instead. While the legal challenges are important, the political repercussions carry greater significance since they may lead to dramatic changes to both the levy and the Copyright Board.
Appeared on August 6, 2007 in the Toronto Star as Copyright Collective May Yet Face the Music Canada's private copying levy, which adds 21 cents to the price of every blank CD to compensate the music industry for personal copying, has long been a magnet for controversy, yet few would […]
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