Monday, December 22, 2003

Well, a little over a week ago the Copyright Board of Canada decided to freeze existing private copying levies at their current levels. In addition, they introduced new private copying levies on the non-removable memory in devices like MP3 players.

I think everyone realizes that these levies are a compromise. There's no silver bullet with "music piracy" engraved on it. And with that in mind, I was happy with the board's decision. By distinguishing between CD-Rs and those bizarre audio CD-Rs - to the tune of 51¢ per disc - they are acknowledging that people do use CD-Rs for legitimate purposes. Denying the Canadian Private Copying Collective's request to establish a levy on removable memory cards is another good example of how the board recognized the utility of these technologies. Again, the decision isn't perfect: apparently there are different minidisc formats, for example, some of which can store any type of data. It isn't clear whether this was considered in the decision to charge a 72¢ levy on all minidiscs. In all fairness, it sounds like few people are using data minidiscs.

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