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Blame Canada!
September 13, 2003 9:02 PM   Subscribe

Why the RIAA's lawsuits aren't worth moose droppings. Tech Central Station columnist Jay Currie explains how Canada's copyright law, which instills the right to copy music in exchange for levies on blank media, renders the RIAA's legal precedent against file-sharers useless up north.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (14 comments total)

 
This levy also applies to photocopying at Universities and Colleges. Every student pays a special fee with their tuition that is a copyright levy.
posted by srboisvert at 9:32 PM on September 13, 2003


Isn't the RIAA a US-only outfit anyway? I thought the Canadian analog was the CRIA.
posted by boaz at 9:44 PM on September 13, 2003


I remember a few people being pretty pissed off when this came into effect here (it seemed like another money grab), but in retrospect, it's a smart move. Jut knowing our 12 year olds are safe makes it all worthwhile.

This statistic surprised me: "50% of Canadians on the net have broadband (as compared to 20% of Americans)". I didn't think we were that far ahead of the US.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:45 PM on September 13, 2003


Thanks, XQ. There were a lot of vague answers when the television news reports talked about the potential of Canadians being sued.

just another tax in an overtaxed country.
Why the snipe, Mr. Currie?
posted by philfromhavelock at 9:53 PM on September 13, 2003


Isn't the RIAA a US-only outfit anyway? I thought the Canadian analog was the CRIA.

Yes, boaz, but the point is that Canada has the numbers, and the resources, to accomodate all the supernodes required to satisfy the current load of American file-sharers. The RIAA doesn't have the ability, or the legal werewithal, to start monitoring Canadian ISPs, I would assume. The article implies that the worst-case scenario for the RIAA's actions will be to drive all the file-sharing computers out of the U.S., which on the internet means diddly.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:07 PM on September 13, 2003


I see, XQ; my bad for not actually reading the article before replying. I don't quite follow how a tax on CD-Rs and blank tapes somehow translates into a right to P2P sharing; after all, a P2P sharer isn't buying either a CD-R or blank tape. Still, I'd love to see an entrepeneurial Canadian set up a business mailing copied CD's down to us unfortunate neighbors to the south, for the guaranteed legal fireworks if nothing else.

Also, I suspect that the RIAA would just start going after the downloaders if this legal haven performed as advertised. (by, for example, setting up fake supernodes of their own up in Canada and subpoening those who tried to download)
posted by boaz at 10:25 PM on September 13, 2003


The only problem I see with Canada's solution is, (and this is based on the blurb at the top of the article), is the levy on blank audio recording media. I mean, is everyone who buys a computer (hard drive) going to be charged for the music they are assumed to be downloading?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:32 PM on September 13, 2003


The US of A 'taxed media' is the digital audio tape format and the minidisk....as I remember.

So 'saving' the 'music' on those 2 media might be one defense in court.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:05 AM on September 14, 2003


$0.77 CDN for a blank CD and .29 a blank tape, whether used for recording music or not.

Really odd considering I pay about C$0.35 per blank cdr.
posted by dobbs at 12:55 AM on September 14, 2003


At least it looks like the $0.21 per MB on digital music players levy hasn't gotten hold.. paying an extra $840.00 for one of the new 40GB iPods would kind of put a damper on my purchasing plans.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:12 AM on September 14, 2003


Canada.

The only land where you can listen to downloaded music at a topless Lesbian wedding while smoking pot, without fearing prosecution.

Land of the free, baby.
posted by CrazyJub at 8:31 AM on September 14, 2003


I'd love to see an entrepeneurial Canadian set up a business mailing copied CD's down to us unfortunate neighbors to the south, for the guaranteed legal fireworks if nothing else.

Such distribution would be illegal under Canadian copyright law. The law only provides safe harbor for individuals making copies for their own "private" use.

Really odd considering I pay about C$0.35 per blank cdr.

The levie on audio cd-rw media is 65 cents, but 5.2 cents on cd-rw media intended for use in computers since the majority of these products are not purchased by private consumers.
posted by astirling at 9:34 AM on September 14, 2003


The law only provides safe harbor for individuals making copies for their own "private" use.

Okay, but how does that make P2P sharing legal? Letting some kid in Tallahasee copy your music doesn't sound like it qualifies as "private" use either.
posted by boaz at 9:50 AM on September 14, 2003


Under the author's interpretation, allowing others to browse/copy your mp3 collection is considered fair use, just as you are permitted to allow others to browse/copy your home cd collection under the current law. The author's point is that the means by which the music is copied should have no bearing on the legality of your actions.

It's important to note that the copyright law was passed in 1998, and thus predates peer-to-peer networks. It's applicability to file sharing has never been formally debated, and as the author notes, there is little interest in revisiting the legislation here. However, I suspect the RIAA and CRIA would lobby the Canadian government to rescind the law if they succeed in shutting down supernodes south of the border.
posted by astirling at 11:01 AM on September 14, 2003


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