This idea of imposing a new tax on iPods and MP3 players is not a new idea because there are very few new ideas, unfortunately, that come from the opposition on the issues of copyright and taxes. However, this idea is really toxic and, frankly, really dumb. This would punish consumers if we were to put in place a tax of up to $75 on iPods, Blackberries, cell phones, laptops, computers, memory sticks and automobiles, anything that is capable of playing digital music. (emphasis added)
Here's a link to the whole exchange with BQ member Carolyn Lavallée.
No one can say that the Hon. James Moore saves all of his plain speaking rhetoric only for "radical extremists".
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the sometimes internecine dynamics of the Canadian music industry.
BTW, Mme Lavallée was quite wrong when she said (see below) that "No one has said anything about $75, other than the minister".
This was the precise amount sought by the CPCC itself in its proposed tariff filed in 2007 that we got shot down decisively and for the second time by the Federal Court of Appeal on January 10, 2008.
For convenience, here's the whole exchange from the House of Commons on September 22, 2010:
On April 20, I asked the Minister of Canadian Heritage a question in the House because he had stated the day before that only ADISQ was in favour of a royalty on MP3s. Everyone knows that an MP3 royalty is not a tax. It is money paid to a collective society that distributes rights, and that money is redistributed to artists according to a complex but fair formula.
Members of all of our households have purchased CDs and made copies for our MP3 players. We used to burn copies on blank CDs to play in our cars, and long before that, we made copies on four-track cassettes. These days, we are making fewer and fewer copies on four-track cassettes and CDs.
The current law, a descendant of the long-ago Bill C-42, recognizes the principle of private copying. We know that people make copies for themselves, and that is why royalties exist. They compensate for the shortfall in copyright revenue that artists might receive. They do not exist to legalize copying for any purpose or in any way whatsoever. Their purpose is not to market copies—anything but. They exist so that consumers do not feel like thieves every time they make a personal copy to listen to on their computer or MP3 player.
Of course we cannot purchase as many original CDs by a single artist as we have devices in our homes. The principle of private copying allows a family that purchases a CD to copy it to various media. Naturally, when the current legislation was passed in 1995, MP3 players did not exist. They do now. We are asking, have asked and will continue to ask the government, in the next few weeks, months and over the course of the year, when discussing Bill C-32, to update the legislative provisions for private copying by ensuring that not only will there be a levy on CDs, not only will there be a levy on cassettes, but there will also be a levy on MP3 players such as iPods. Nothing more, nothing less.
I know that in a few minutes my Conservative colleague will reply that it will cost $75 per device. An amount has never been set but it is obvious that this is a reasonable amount. We pay 29¢ in royalties on all blank cassettes and CDs. That is not a tax. We said it before and we will say it again. It is not in any way a tax. A tax is paid to government but in this case the payment goes to the artists. It is quite simply a royalty paid to artists. We already do this when we purchase an original CD of a musical work because a portion of the money is paid to the artist for copyright.
That was the purpose of my question.[Table of Contents]
I understand the concerns she has raised about copyright, and that is why our government introduced Bill C-32, which would modernize our country's copyright laws. We conducted unprecedented consultations to ensure that everyone was involved in the copyright debate. As a result of our consultations, we introduced Bill C-32, a very responsible bill for both consumers and artists.
What we are talking about here is the fact that the NDP, the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois want to impose a huge new tax on consumers. The last time that the Bloc Québécois spoke here, the last time that this tax was proposed, it was a new $75 tax on every iPod, BlackBerry, computer and laptop, on anything that is capable of playing music.
This idea of imposing a new tax on iPods and MP3 players is not a new idea because there are very few new ideas, unfortunately, that come from the opposition on the issues of copyright and taxes. However, this idea is really toxic and, frankly, really dumb. This would punish consumers if we were to put in place a tax of up to $75 on iPods, Blackberries, cell phones, laptops, computers, memory sticks and automobiles, anything that is capable of playing digital music.
I understand the idea of modernizing the private copying levy and I understand the desire, but every time the opposition has come up with an idea with regard to this, I can say, as we have looked at this issue and we have struggled with this issue, that it gets very tricky.
This simplistic idea that has been put forward by the opposition, the Bloc Québécois, the NDP and the Liberal Party, with regard to a new iPod tax is incredibly shortsighted and it is an incredibly bad idea for consumers. It is not the way to go. We have artist after artist who has come forward and said that this is not the way to go.
We will go forward as a government will Bill C-32, the modernizing copyright legislation. We are prepared to work with the opposition parties to ensure the legislation is in the interest of consumers and in the interest of creators. We will not support an amendment to our copyright bill that puts in place a massive new tax on consumers. We will not support that. It will not happen.
However, we are more than prepared to take forward reasonable ideas to ensure that artists' creations are protected and to ensure that just compensation and the framework for that, through effective copyright legislation, goes forward. We also want to ensure that the legislation takes care of what is in the best interests of consumers.
This idea from the Bloc Québécois is a massive tax increase on consumers. It does not achieve the balance that we want to achieve, which is in the interest of consumers and creators, and we will block every effort by the NDP and the Bloc Québécois to put forward any tax on consumers that will punish consumers and do nothing that is in the long-term interest of creators.
[Translation][Table of Contents]
I also find it sad that he is calling this a dumb idea, because it is supported by ACTRA, SOCAN, SODRAC, the Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec and the Guilde des musiciens, as well as ADISQ, the CPCC, Artisti and even the Union des consommateurs.
This is not dumb; it has been thought out, and this levy already exists in the current legislation. It applies to four-track cassettes and blank CDs, and now we are asking that the law be updated to include MP3 players such as iPods. It will obviously not be as catastrophic, scary or terrible as the minister is making it out to be. I want to thank him for engaging in this debate, by the way. It is not that at all. No one has said anything about $75, other than the minister.[Table of Contents]
Music in the future will not be listened to simply on MP3s. This is a band-aid solution, it is very shortsighted and it is about purchasing votes. It is nonsense.
What we need is a thoughtful approach to copyright reform that is in the best interest of creators and consumers. Has she ever heard of Rhapsody? Has she ever heard of the idea of streaming digital online music and what that means for creators and that universe? Does she understand that? That is the way the future is going.
It is not about MP3s. MP3s can be played, streamed, uploaded and synced into automobiles and onto planes. There are all sorts of uses of MP3 files. Music is happening in a digital way, in ways that are far beyond the scope of the amendments that the Bloc Québécois and the NDP have come up with. They, frankly, do not understand the technology and have no sense of understanding of where the technology is going with regard to consumers' interests and supporting a digital universe in the future.
Our copyright bill is balanced and effective for consumers and for creators. Again, we will vote against any new tax on consumers that is not necessary.
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The idea of a tax on ipods is no more "toxic" or "dumb" than the one that presently exists on other blank media - which in many cases are *less* likely to be used for "illegal" copies of copyrighted material. (And regardless of what has been asked for, any actual amount would be subject to future ajudication.)ReplyDelete
If a media levy is to be used to support the creative industries while freeing Canadians to format shift without other fee or penalty, then so be it, but if so then the levy should apply to *all* media types, and for it to be fair there should really be an option for purchase of levy-free media on which copies are not permitted without ownership of a license (analogous to the tax-free fuel provided in some areas for agriculture)