My regular Law Bytes column (non-registered version or Toronto Star version, homepage version) highlights the continuing saga of Tariff 22. SOCAN, a leading Canadian copyright collective, recently filed a revised application that targets all websites that communicate music to the public. The tariff proposal includes an astonishing 25 percent of gross revenue for music download services and 15 percent for webcasters. When combined with other tariff proposals, Canada's collectives are seeking at least 40 percent of gross revenues from music download services, representing a far greater threat to the business model than peer-to-peer file sharing.
While the CRIA file sharing lawsuit heads back to court this week, the true threat to commercial music downloads clearly does not come from peer-to-peer that is already subject to compensation through the private copying levy. Rather, the threat is from collectives that seem determined to receive a very large share of a very tiny market.