The Canadian Press has a story on the private copying levy that includes comments from David Basskin and me.
CP on PC
August 2, 2007
Tags: basskin / cpcc / private copying
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the people we pay are happy
I like the system whereby the head of the Canadian Copyright Collective sleeps in a garbage dump and doesn’t get paid. He would find, as with his system, that the people who *are* getting paid and to live in nice homes will be satisfied with the system. It’s an imperfect system, of course, but you’ve got to have a system, right?
I would like the CCC to answer this: If I use my mp3 device to listen exclusively to audio books and private audio records from friends and relatives how is this levy justified? What right does this group, which amounts to a special interest group for the music recording industry, have to request a tax levy on any storage device, even if it is a one shot recordable media disk or a device like an mp3 player or usb keyfob?
Do they also distribute to American based musicians? They have a far wider listening audience even here in Canada. What about artists from the UK? What about those from Afghanistan? What about to the Linux developers? In our house a majority of the CDs and DVDs get used for software rather than Music.
When you (Michael as quoted in the Star) point out that “Consumers have an expectation that they ought to be able to listen to music they purchase on the device of their choice,” you are of course correct and I hope that expectation is supported by the fair use provisions in our copyright law. But I think emphasizing this aspect actually misses the most important point about these damnable media levies – which is that the vendors know full well what to expect in that regard and have a perfectly good opportunity to charge accordingly when they sell their product.
Indeed, the only appropriate point at which to extract payment for expected use and duplication is at the point of sale, and the appropriate person to charge is the purchaser who will have control over whether or not copying occurs. It is grossly inappropriate to extract such compensation from others who had no part in the music purchase transaction nor any intent to copy and use the product.
The fact that I get so incensed over this small charge is I believe a sign of why its implementation is such a grievous mistake. When the law is abused so flagrantly it loses respect, and an injustice which can goad a law abiding senior citizen such as I into fantasies of vigilante sabotage may well prompt the real thing from others more easily inflamed – and I wouldn’t blame them!
What is actually saddest about this is that I wouldn’t mind paying an honest tax to subsidize the arts – including artists in whose work I have no personal interest. But I’ll be damned if I’ll keep listening passively to more of these pious homilies about theft from people who are themselves unabashed thieves.