Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CPCC Makes a Virtue of Necessity & How We "really don't know clouds at all"

(my fav "cloud" song)
A little ray of light has momentarily pierced the cloud of confusion about cloud music in Canada.

The CPCC (which is seeking a "tax" on memory cards and still "taxes" blank CDs and has tried without success to "tax" iPods) has announced that:
It is not our position that cloud-based music distribution systems should be subject to a private copying levy under the Copyright Act, and the CPCC will not seek to obtain levies for private copies of music made with cloud storage services.
It’s good to actually read this, even though it would seem incongruous that even the CPCC could regard “the cloud” as a “blank audio recording medium”. Here is their press release.   

But, then again, the CPCC tried and failed twice in the Courts to have iPods and other digital audio recorders - which are “devices” - treated as a “medium” so that they could be taxed. (Disclosure - I was involved in these battles both at the Board and in the Courts).

So, today’s announcement may be simply making a virtue of necessity.
But don't exhale just yet. One has little doubt that many of the stakeholders in CPCC will be thinking about seeking pieces of the “cloud” action through tariffs on performance, communication and reproduction - and not just for music but for sound recordings and performers’ performances as well. The thought of endless and expensive Copyright Board hearings is doubtless music to the ears of many lawyers.

Of course the Supreme Court of Canada and Parliament in the next copyright bill may have some things to say that could have a major effect on all of this. We’ll very likely know for sure by this time next year, more or less, on both fronts.

Whether the “cloud” brings a gentle, nurturing shower of innovation and music or a torrential and destructive typhoon of Copyright Board and judicial review proceedings to Canada remains to be seen.
One thing is for sure. Well have to look at music in the cloud "from both sides now".


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