Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On Canadian Facts, Fiction, Lobbyists and Levies

Ministers Clement and Moore did the right thing yesterday by saying that no means no.

The levy lobbyists did the wrong thing by denying the incontrovertible truth.

It is absolutely false - as ACTRA boldly states that:

“The $75 dollar figure is pure fiction. The CPCC has not put a price on the levy.”

Do facts not matter any more?

The levy lobbyists are in deep denial about their own collective’ recent demand for a “tax”of $75 per iPod.

Has ACTRA lost its ability to read? Does the truth not matter any more?

The fact is that the Canadian Private Copyright Collective asked the Copyright Board for a tariff of $75.00 per iPod in 2007 for the period 2008-2009. Here’s the precise request from the proposed tariff published in the Canada Gazette:
(e) for digital audio recorders, $5 for each recorder with no more than 1 Gigabyte (GB) of memory, $25 for each recorder with more than 1 GB and no more than 10 GB of memory, $50 for each recorder with more than 10 GB and no more than 30 GB of memory, and $75 for each recorder with more than 30 GB of memory. (emphasis added)
Now, if you think that’s bad, go back only five years to 2002 for the proposed 2003-2004 tariff that would have imposed $21 per GB. Here’s the exact proposal from the Canada Gazette:
(g) $21 for each gigabyte of memory in each non-removable hard drive incorporated into each MP3 player or into each similar device with an internal hard drive that is intended for use primarily to record and play music.
Now, for those who can’t or won’t do simple arithmetic, I’ll do it for you.

A $21 per GB tariff (“tax”) on a 160 GB iPod “Classic” that now sells for about $270 would be - get ready for this - $3,360.00.

On a one Terabyte eternal hard drive that sells for as low as $69 in Canada, the “tax” would be $$21,000.00.

On a three Terabyte terabyte eternal hard drive that now sells for about $220 in Canada, the tariff (“tax”) would now be $63,000.00. This is NOT a misprint.

So much for the forward thinking capacity of the Canadian Private Copying Collective.

This shows the fallacy of taxing technology. And why Minister Moore was right to call the proposed iPod tax "really toxic and, frankly, really dumb".


Thank goodness we shot these proposals down. (I acted for the Retail Council of Canada - which really does stand up for consumers).

Bravo, Ministers Clement and Moore for yeseterday’s announcement.

The CPCC should start planning for winding up. It should distribute its many remaining millions to artists - and not to lawyers, lobbyists and consultants. They have had their day on this file.



  1. I think you meant a "1 TB external hard drive", not a "one GB eternal hard drive". Same for the "three GB terabyte eternal hard drive" should be "3 TB external hard drive".

  2. I don't think the truth matters anymore. It does not seem to matter what the the topic is, truth is whatever they want it to be.
    On another note you say above that this is not a misprint however I think that you mean 1 TB and 3TB external drive since 1 GB would have been an extra $21 and the 3 GB drive $63 extra, correct?

  3. Thank you, astute readers, for pointing out that I really meant to say Terabyte in the last two examples.

  4. I would also like to hear from representatives from the self-called Creators' Copyright Coalition who want to extend this levy to all copyright holders covered by the copyright act. That would either result in a 3TB external drive costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, or would result in so little going to Canadian musicians that the paperwork overhead would cost more than the amount of money going to musicians resulting from the levy.

    While I consider this levy to be the lesser of two evils when compared to non-owner locks on devices, it is still clearly an unworkable concept.