Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The iPod "Tax": Misinformation re Heritage Committee's Report

It seems necessary to dispel certain inaccurate and misleading blog commentary about what actually happened in the Heritage Committee yesterday concerning the NDP's proposed iPod “tax”.

It is simply not correct to state, as James Gannon puts it in his blog, that:
To be clear, the MPs who voted in favour of this motion were not voting “for”, or signalling any kind of “support” for, this amendment to the Copyright Act, but merely voting for the Committee to consider the amendment at a later time.
That's not what happened. Here is what actually happened - according to the official source, which is Parliament itself. This, according to the Committee's official website, is what the Heritage Committee actually said:
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), that the Committee report the following to the House as soon as possible:
That the Committee recommends that the government amend Part VIII of the Copyright Act so that the definition of “audio recording medium” extends to devices with internal memory, so that the levy on copying music will apply to digital music recorders as well, thereby entitling music creators to some compensation for the copies made of their work.
(emphasis added)
That seems pretty clear to me and quite clearly contradicts Mr. Gannon's speculation. Here are the minutes of the meeting, which back up the Report.

The rest of Mr. Gannon's blog is largely a polemic against Prof. Michael Geist for "an over-politicization of the actual facts" and other various allegations.

However, all that Prof. Geist did in his blog was to describe succinctly and accurately what happened in the Committee, and the party affiliation of the members involved, along with the position of the two responsible Ministers of the Crown. That is essential information for anyone who tracks legislation. How exactly the provision of such information is "politicization" is quite incomprehensible.

Ironically, Mr. Gannon's blog is entitled “Depoliticizing the iPod levy”. Even more ironically, his concluding paragraph begins with this otherwise agreeable sentiment:
As the experience with "Fox News" in the U.S. has shown, by highly politicizing debated issues, the public will often be swayed into a narrative with "good guys" on one side of the political spectrum and "bad guys" on the other.
It strikes me that Mr. Gannon is the one who is being rather too political in this instance.

Mr. Gannon, who was called to the bar in 2009, is an associate at McCarthy, T├ętrault, working under Barry Sookman, a well known lawyer/lobbyist for some very politically savvy clients, i.e. CRIA, CMPDA, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. While Mr. Gannon may very well have been speaking on his own, Mr. Sookman was very quick to tweet a link to his blog.


March 18, 2010

PS - Speaking of "politicization" of copyright, here' s Mr. Sookman's latest blog entitled "Should Canada adopt “fair use” as proposed by NDP MP Charlie Angus?" wherein he says:
The fundamental role of copyright in Canada will not be lost on the Bloc and Liberals with strong roots in the Province of Quebec, or on the Tories with strong ambitions in that province.
(emphasis added)

I wonder how Mr. Gannon would characterize this analysis.

PS #2:

Mr. Gannon has now issued a "correction" to his post from yesterday.

1 comment:

  1. It doesn't make any scence to me why anyone in Government or media would support expanding this levy. People purchase more media products per year than they do Ipods.

    If creators want to be paid for format shifting this should be included at the price at the till for media products. Industry decides the price for products. Adding an extra 9 cents to every purchase on the overall price would be quite logical. They would make more money!

    This is yet another example of Government officials not understanding the dynamics at play, and a complete mis-step by someone who prides himself of being a musician (*cough* Angus) yet knows very little about the industry he was and still is involved in.

    This not only inhibits industry from exploring new business models, but also does absolutely nothing for creators.

    HK -> when will logic set in on this? It has to at some point.