Telecom and Tech Coalition Calls on Government To Stop MicroSD Card Levy

The Wire Report reports that a coalition of telecom and technology companies that includes Telus and RIM have written to Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Christian Paradis to ask that cabinet implement a regulation to exempt the memory cards from the private copying levy. The Copyright Act gives cabinet the right to issue such exemptions. I wrote about this issue last November, asking whether the government would be willing to step in.

Interestingly, the article quotes David Basskin of the Canadian Private Copying Collective, who says that it would be unfair for the government to stop the process before the Copyright Board of Canada has heard the case. Basskin states “it’s manifestly unfair. We have a solid case to make, and we look forward to making it. The matter is, as you might say, ‘before the courts.’ The Copyright Board has the power of a court.”

content= mce_href= Yet the CPCC told the government a much different story in its submission to the Bill C-32 committee. Addressing concerns that the levy could be applied to inappropriate devices, the CPCC assured the government:

The Act also makes provision for the Governor in Council to limit the scope of qualifying “devices” by regulation. Specifically, the definition of “audio recording medium” at section 79 of the Act permits the Governor in Council to prescribe by regulation that a particular type of “recording medium” is not an “audio recording medium”.

The process set out in the Act is one that would provide advance notice of any medium or device on which the CPCC wished to collect a levy. The CPCC must file a proposed tariff by March 31st of the year prior to the year in which the levy would come into effect. If the CPCC sought a tariff on a device deemed inappropriate, the Governor in Council could issue a regulation that prevented the Copyright Board from considering such a request. There is, therefore, no legitimate basis for fear that a levy would be imposed on all devices with a hard drive or on any device to which a levy should not apply.

In other words, the CPCC told the government it could use the power to prevent the Board from considering a request on a device deemed inappropriate. The question for cabinet is therefore not whether stopping the hearing is fair. It is whether it believes that expanding the private copying levy system to include microSD cards is appropriate.


  1. STOP american IP legislation in Europe !!!
    STOP american IP legislation in Europe !!!

  2. SD-Cards are almost perfect
    But include Copy Protection for Recordable Media (CPRM), with device revocation.

    Other media using CPRM, such as DVD-R disks are also exempt.

  3. A tax on what amounts to a generic storage container? This is the digital equivalent to the Banks asking for a levy to be placed on plastic bags and knapsacks because a bag could be used to transport cash taken from a bank robbery.

    Why does the music industry want a cut of sales of any generic storage device based on what it *could* be used for? The shameless greed of these people knows no bounds.

  4. Abolish copyright. As a first step, limit it to 5 years. After 2 years count the number of “starving artists” and see if it increased. If not, then abolish it altogether.

  5. So if I buy a card I can legally download music?

  6. Why we all shake our heads in confusion and dismay
    Jesse said: “So if I buy a card I can legally download music?”

    LOL, of course not! They want to charge you for the right to SHIFT your legally purchased file from it’s original location to the card. This in their minds is a ‘copy’ & ‘has value’ that they should be paid for (crazy but true).

    Download a file you haven’t paid for, and expect to be sued.

  7. Private copying levy
    “Download a file you haven’t paid for, and expect to be sued.”

    Wasn’t there a court case where, due to the private copying levy and how it was defined, it was deemed downloaded copies qualified as private copies, as long as one wasn’t profiting from those downloads.

    I wouldn’t want to put it too the test, but this seems to stick in my memory.

  8. Filesharing in Canada
    This might be of use to clarify certain things…