CRIA Sings Same Song in Private Copying Submission

Readers of this blog will recall that CRIA broke from the Canadian Private Copying Collective earlier this fall by seeking leave to intervene in a federal court case where it will oppose the expansion of the private copying levy. CRIA identified seven objections to the Copyright Board's iPod levy decision, but the federal court ruled that it didn't want to hear those arguments.  Instead, it granted CRIA leave to intervene on the condition that it limit its argument to the core issue before the court.

CRIA has just submitted its brief and it would appear that the judge's ruling did not make much of an impression.  Virtually all the issues CRIA raised in its initial request to intervene are back including claims that the private copying levy would violate Canada's international trade obligations and that the private copying levy will kill the digital music market (CRIA argues that "no service can compete with something that is free").  It also argues that the Copyright Board was wrong to say that without the expansion of the levy it would "instantly make the conduct of millions of Canadians illegal, and even possibly criminal", noting that making private copies could not be a criminal offense in Canada.


  1. PorkBellyFutures says:

    “CRIA argues that ‘no service can compete with something that is free'”

    CRIA, meet Evian. Evian, CRIA.

  2. “CRIA argues that ‘no service can compete with something that is free”

    If this were true:

    1. There would be no bottled water industry, you can get fresh water from any river or stream, not to mention collected rain water, and municipal water supplies which vastly undercut bottled water companies.

    2. There would be no software industry, Free/Open Source software would rule the industry… and yet Microsoft still brings in billions of dollars per year, despite Linux as a viable and yes… FREE alternative.

    3. Toll Roads would not be a viable source of revenue, as people could just take the *free* back roads, and yet the 407 seems to make a fair amount of money.

    CRIA makes many unfounded claims, but this in particular is simply laughable.

    Yes, you can download just about any song for free… But if the music industry tapped into the market properly, using a reasonable subscription format and DRM free music, I would happily pay for it. And I bet tens of thousands of other Canadians would too.

    The music industry will die a horrible death, and alternatives will rise to replace the old dinosaurs. They’ve grown so blind to the desires of their customers, they can barely see the end of their own noses.

  3. It’s funny how “the private copying levy would violate Canada’s international trade obligations”, yet France has just done the same for large MP3 players as well as extending the levy to other devices (such as mobile phones which can play music). [ link ] (in French)

  4. I do not understand why they keep saying that downloading songs over internet is free. Internet is not a free “service” at all even in a wireless café. It would be easier for CRIA to claim a slice of the internet providers profit and leave internet users to download whatever they want. Business models have to change in order to adapt to this new “digital” era. Perhaps internet providers could add a new plan which for few bucks per month will give you free access to a large music catalog.

  5. I seem to remember something like this coming up last week or the week before. The recording industry (in the UK I think it was) was talking about adding a levy onto every account to give them access to free downloads, well, sort of.

    It would have been a levy similar to the private copying levy here, applied to all internet accounts and assuming that you are using the internet to download copyrighted material. The recording industry liked it, I suspect, because they had to do nothing other than collect the money. A subscription plan would have involved effort on their part for the money.

  6. The CRIA should now be denied its right to intervene on the basis it ignored specific and direct court ruling guidelines, full stop.

  7. I download a moderate amount of music and video. However, the overwhelming majority of what I download is simply not available where I live and downloading is usually the only option for me.

    The other reason I would download a product is because I want to sample it before I go out and buy the CD, book, or video.

    I will not buy anything with DRM on general principle, although I would be thrilled for the chance to buy a legal – DRM free – copy of movies and TV shows I like.

    The industry is loosing my business because they can’t be bothered to put DRM free products on the shelves of my local electronics store.