Archive for May 15th, 2007

Questionable Questions

Copyright and movie camcording were both raised yesterday during Question Period in the House of Commons.  While the responses from Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda and Industry Minister Maxime Bernier were about as expected (essentially "we're working on it"), the questions from Bloc Heritage Critic Maka Kotto are revealing. Kotto focused on Canada's "outdated" copyright law and asked when it will be modified to "be in line with the two WIPO treaties Canada ratified in 1996."  Regular readers will know that Canada did not ratify the treaties in 1996. Rather, Canada signed the treaties in 1997 and there is a world of difference between signing and ratifying a treaty.

Kotto's question about movie piracy lumped Canada together with China, Malaysia, and India, while claiming that "Canadian industry and the Government of Canada have suffered estimated losses of several million dollars." 

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May 15, 2007 11 comments News

BSA Releases Annual Report

The Business Software Alliance has released its annual global software piracy report.  Some object to study's methodology, but note that the BSA reports that Canada is among the 20 countries with the lowest piracy rates worldwide, ranking far lower than many European countries such as France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and […]

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May 15, 2007 2 comments News

Spanish Jazz Club Wins Creative Commons Case

Andres Guadamuz reports on an interesting case from Spain involving a bar, copyright collective, and Creative Commons licensed music.

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May 15, 2007 Comments are Disabled News

Canadians Overpay Millions on Private Copying Levy

The Copyright Board of Canada issued its latest private copying decision [pdf] on Friday.  The fourth major decision from the board on private copying, the decision addresses the levy for 2005 – 2007 (the Canadian Private Copying Collective attempt to extend the levy to iPods and SD cards would commence in 2008). 

Interestingly, the levy will decrease slightly as a result of this decision, though the Copyright Board was actually inclined to increase the rate (note that all opposing parties dropped out of the proceedings, leaving only the CPCC to present evidence). The Board felt that 29 cents would be the appropriate levy for blank CDs, yet kept the levy at 21 cents since that is what the CPCC requested.  At the same, it reduced the levy for other blank media – cassette tapes dropped by five cents to 24 cents per tape, while CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio, and MiniDiscs all dropped from 77 cents to 21 cents. 

The reduction in the levy leaves a significant surplus with the Board estimating that the CPCC will need to return $2.5 million in overpayment for the past three years.  The CPCC has expressed disappointment at this result and indicated that it will develop a plan to reimburse importers and manufacturers for the higher levies that were collected from 2005 – 2007.  Of course, assuming that the price of the levy was passed along to consumers, it is not the importers and manufacturers that should receive the reimbursement – it is Canadian consumers.  The Board absolves itself of this issue by stating that "it is not for us to determine who, in the supply chain leading to the final consumer, will be the ultimate beneficiary of these refunds."  In other words, Canadians have overpaid millions of dollars over the past three years for the private copying levy, yet that money will go into the pockets of importers, manufacturers, and possibly retailers (sounds like a class action lawsuit waiting to happen).

In addition to the overpayment issue, the decision contains several interesting revelations. 

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May 15, 2007 19 comments News

Copyright and Art in Canada

Jonathan Culp has penned an illuminating piece on the in-fighting between CARFAC and Appropriation Art over Canadian copyright reform.

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May 15, 2007 Comments are Disabled News