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It's not stealing 'cause the cost is built into the thingamajig, eh?
December 15, 2003 7:57 PM   Subscribe

Downloading MP3s via P2P now legal in Canada thanks to an MP3 player tax. Just don't upload anything. In related news, the Supreme Court of Canada began hearing arguments over whether Internet Service Providers (ISPs), both here and abroad, should start paying tariffs for Canadian music downloaded by the public. [macrumors]
posted by dobbs (32 comments total)

 
And so the information apocalypse begins!
posted by MrLint at 8:07 PM on December 15, 2003


Sure it might be legal now, but I hope they don't quietly make it illegal again like they did with marijuana possession.

But a $11.50 levy on a 10GB mp3 player? That's nowhere near the hundreds of dollars that was being proposed previously. I guess they clued in people would just go across the border to buy mp3 players if the levy was too high.
posted by bobo123 at 8:42 PM on December 15, 2003


Re: marijuana -- It wasn't exactly 'made illegal again'. Until the proposed legislation goes through and is made law, people shouldn't expect to treat it as such. It's still going to be decriminalized, we should expect some flip-flopping between judges on interpretation of existing laws in the meantime.

...and hooray for us. Hopefully we'll continue to implement progressive and perfectly reasonable law around digital technologies as they emerge.
posted by Jairus at 8:52 PM on December 15, 2003


I have mixed feelings about this kind of "compulsory licensing". On the one hand, it means it's possible to go ahead and use new technologies, even if the RIAA opposes them, like radio and MP3s and player pianos.

On the other hand, compulsory licenses are not very good at getting the money to the artists. It allows people to pay for the ability to hear the music they want to hear, but not for artists to get paid for creating the music that people want to hear.
posted by hattifattener at 9:20 PM on December 15, 2003


Decriminalization != legal.

Decriminalization merely means that it isn't a criminal case. It's still illegal, like speeding or drinking beer on the beach is: a ticketable offense.

Criminalized means that the police have a shipload of paperwork to do if they want to press charges -- far more than it's worth, in the case of small quantities of pot. So they look the other way: there are far more important crimes to worry about than some doofus with a joint.

Decriminalized means the police just write up a ticket. And with the kinds of fines that will be proposed, it'll be well worth their while to do so. They'll no longer look the other way: they'll actively seek opportunities to get the doofus with the joint.

Decriminalization is also going to result in extreme penalties for growing and distributing. This wouldn't be a bad thing, except that it's going to drive prices through the roof, which means that the criminal gangs are going to get far wealthier, while the users are going to become more like heroin addicts, resorting to crime for their funds.

What's really needed is a sensible approach: decriminalization with ticket fines in the same order as liquor fines, and decriminalization of small grows (ie. less than, what, maybe ten plants? Dunno what's realistic, there.)

Keep the big grows and distribution as a mega-offense, but make it possible for an individual to grow enough to share with a friend of two. That should get rid of the criminal element, and make it unnecessary for anyone to go on a crime spree to fund their habit.

Absolutely none of which has to do with the idiocy of making me pay for someone else's music piracy. Still, given the choice between paying an extra 25c for a CDR, versus the bizarre world of DMCA and RIAA thuggery, I think I'd have to go with the extra quarter and just take up piracy as a means of getting that money back.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:24 PM on December 15, 2003


I hate the idea of this tax. It presumes that everyone that buys blank medias/MP3 players/etc. are automatically going to download copyrighted music via P2P, and unlike most other taxes, I really see no social benefit from this.
posted by gyc at 10:20 PM on December 15, 2003


Oh, there's no social benefit at all. Indeed, I've 'eard tell that the collecting agency has yet to distribute any of that income.

The idea stinks like a politician.

But that as it may, it's still better than the copyright protection lunacy that's going on in the USA, and even Europe's getting weird.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:35 PM on December 15, 2003


At the risk of being pedantic, it's not a tax, it's a levy.

gyc: The social benefit (as I see it) is that it allows the copyright board to do things like allow copying for private use. I'll gladly pay a few dollars for that.

It's far from an ideal solution, but it works a lot better than the system our neighbours to the south have.
posted by Jairus at 10:52 PM on December 15, 2003


Australia was hell for that sort of thing before the US (and now Europe), even. Canada is the closest thing to a holdout for freedom from the RIAA/MPAA in existence, and I honestly don't care how they go about preserving it, as I intend to move there.
posted by Ryvar at 10:55 PM on December 15, 2003


Oh, and fff, I'm almost certain that you can get the levy money back if you show that you're using the media for data or other unrelated use. When I participated in the consultation meetings with Industry Canada on this issue, I believe that they stated this was the case, so as not to force anyone to pay when the levy wasn't applicable. If you're interested, I can find my notes and let you know.
posted by Jairus at 10:57 PM on December 15, 2003


Ooh, interesting idea, that. I wonder what proof they'd want. My guess is it must be on trust; I certainly can't account for all the CDR I've bought -- the coasters hit the garbage, for starters, others have been given away.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:39 PM on December 15, 2003


I'd contact the Canadian Private Copying Collective directly about it. The info on the site is lacking, aside from a lot of details about the zero-rating program (which allows an organization to purchase media levy-free) -- I believe it was through them that you could get your cash back. If you don't have any luck with them, let me know, and I'll dig up the papers I got at the meetings.
posted by Jairus at 11:45 PM on December 15, 2003


GYC, stop moaning. When you buy insurance you're paying for everyone else's accidents and thefts and when you buy cable TV you're paying for shows you don't watch. Levies are not perfect, but at least creators are getting compensated, kids aren't getting sued and the payment mechanism isn't outrageously arduous.
posted by skylar at 6:10 AM on December 16, 2003


Levies are not perfect, but at least creators are getting compensated

Why is it OK to put more money in the pockets of the recording industry when they haven't earned it? At least with things like insurance, you're paying for something you use .
posted by gyc at 9:57 AM on December 16, 2003


Actually, I don't think the creators are getting compensated. Not the music creators, anyway; I'm sure the levy creators are making a bundle.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:58 AM on December 16, 2003


GYC... if you buy an MP3 player, it's odds-on that you're doing some otherwise unlicensed copying. This levy means that users of MP3 players are paying for the music they acquire (and most of them are paying nothing in comparison with buying originals of the music.)

Five Fresh Fish... according to the CPPC.ca website, music creators will definitely be compensated. One might wish to argue how accurate the CPPC's estimates are, but no-one's claiming that artists will go empty-handed.
posted by skylar at 10:47 AM on December 16, 2003


if you buy an MP3 player, it's odds-on that you're doing some otherwise unlicensed copying

you'd lose your odds on me. i use only copy existing CDs to MP3 for portable use. i only make copies of CDs that i own. this idea stinks, and it's not sustainable. a bad, bad precedent.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:48 PM on December 16, 2003


The CRIA is apparently planning lawsuits against people in Canada who *upload* music. This plan is considered to be on shakier ground by analysts, and the thinking is that the CRIA is hoping most will settle or at least it will stop file-sharing. I think so long as the message is that downloading is legit, they'll have a tough time.
posted by Salmonberry at 2:15 PM on December 16, 2003


GREAT.

So now we not only try to fuck other nations by not allowing more than 65% of their music on our radios, but we'll fuck them by paying Canadian artists every time foreign music is downloaded.

Why do all these idiots in Canada keep voting liberal? GET IT THROUGH YOUR SKULL. IT'S THEIR FAULT THAT AL JAZEERA, ETC ARE OUTLAWED HERE. THE LIBERALS HATE FREE SPEECH. No to mention this will totally screw us over. Yeah, big huge Canada with her 31 million are going to take on the RIAA. Smooth move.

Morons.
posted by shepd at 4:19 PM on December 16, 2003


Skylar, have you any evidence that any amount of money has actually been disimbursed?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:02 PM on December 16, 2003


if you buy an MP3 player, it's odds-on that you're doing some otherwise unlicensed copying.

you'd lose that bet with me, also. i have an ipod and the audio on it is all paid for via legitimate sources (cds, emusic, audible.com).
posted by dobbs at 5:07 PM on December 16, 2003


shepd, at the risk of being rude, what the hell are you talking about?

Al-Jazeera's eligibility to be carried on Canadian cable networks is based on their application to the CRTC, like any other channel. It has nothing to do with the Liberal party.
posted by Jairus at 12:43 AM on December 17, 2003


well, this is just like the cd levy.

It makes it stupid for you NOT to be copying music.

If you are not downloading songs for free, then the publishers are stealing from YOU.
posted by Iax at 10:15 AM on December 17, 2003


Bang on, brother. Got any tunes to share?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:30 AM on December 17, 2003


>Al-Jazeera's eligibility to be carried on Canadian cable networks is based on their application to the CRTC, like any other channel. It has nothing to do with the Liberal party.

Who controls the CRTC? The government. Who has the power to disband them? The government. Who has sat idly by for 3 terms while the right of Canadians to watch foreign signals was eroded to this point, despite having the power to fix it? The liberals.

It has absolutely everything to do with the liberal party. Their policy of status quo government are what have broght us to the current situation where our "multicultural" country bans viewing television from other countries. When you have been especially empowered to fix a festering problem and simply ignore it, you're going to get my blame. Yes, I blame the idiots who voted for them too (check my comment).
posted by shepd at 9:02 PM on December 17, 2003


Did Al-Jazeera apply for Cdn broadcasting rights?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:46 PM on December 17, 2003


shepd: No. The CRTC is an independent public authority that reports to the government (specifically, the Minister of Canadian Heritage), but is fully autonomous.

The idea that viewing foreign TV is 'banned' is ridiculous. I watch foreign TV all the time. So does my friend's mother, who's a commissioner for the CRTC. Neither of us have been arrested yet. You can watch al-Jazeera perfectly legally via the Canadian site JumpTV.com in the meantime.

fivefreshfish: The Canadian Cable Television Association applied to the CRTC to air air al-Jazeera and 15 other ethnic networks. The CRTC's currently accepting comments and having public hearings on the issue, as is standard for any application.
posted by Jairus at 7:08 AM on December 18, 2003


So the CRTC hasn't denied Al-Jezeera access to the Canadian markets.

That's rather what I thought.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:06 PM on December 18, 2003


>shepd: No. The CRTC is an independent public authority that reports to the government (specifically, the Minister of Canadian Heritage), but is fully autonomous.

Who is/was that Minister of Heritage and Minister of Communications (Sounds so close to Minister of Information, doesn't it?)

Sheila Copps, elected into the position by the (less intelligent) people of Canada under the best wishes of the Liberal Party. Thanks for playing! As your home prize: Only the government has the right to remove the CRTCs right to regulate.

That crazy woman hates foreigners so much she has even attempted to deny them the right to publish magazines in Canada. So much for part 2 of the Charter of Rights. As usual. Too many in Canada ignore that essential right. Sucks there's even the right for the government to exempt itself from it (Don't get me started on Quebec banning the right of Canadian business to communicate primarialy in English).

>The idea that viewing foreign TV is 'banned' is ridiculous.

Then why can't Canadians subscribe to it?

>You can watch al-Jazeera perfectly legally via the Canadian site JumpTV.com in the meantime.

And if that site goes down?

I should clear up that unencrypted television is free to be watched by Canadians. However, paying for 100% foreign TV is outlawed, despite that the content is 100% licensed to be broadcast and sold to Canadians (apart from CRTC approval). Therefore, if a 100% foreign station decides they want to be paid for their efforts alone (by Canadians), they will be denied that right in Canada, despite being willing to pay Canadian taxes. If that doesn't mean banned to you, so be it.

>The Canadian Cable Television Association applied to the CRTC to air air al-Jazeera and 15 other ethnic networks. The CRTC's currently accepting comments and having public hearings on the issue, as is standard for any application.

The CRTC cannot allow the station on the air. Where's the CANCON? Huh? You think Al-Jazeera is going to all of a sudden broadcast 25% CANCON? You'll say there's option number 2: They can broadcast as a package, so long as there's 25% CANCON within the package.

What 3 Canadian only stations are going to partner with Al-Jazeera to shore them up against unfair the CRTCs unfair practices? You do realize exactly why pointless networks like APTN are on satellite, right? [I say pointless because the very people it is broadcasting for are unlikely to be able to receive a satellite signal.] ExpressVu wouldn't have used good bandwidth if it weren't for the fact they want to present quality foreign television to the viewing public. Unfortunately, Al-Jazeera won't be popular enough to make it, will it?

Of course not.

Get with it, the CRTC is nothing but Canada's information control foundation. GOTTA MAKE SURE THEM CANADIANS DON'T GET THEM HORRID FOREIGN IDEAS INTO THEIR MINDS!

By the way, I know from involved sources that this non-profit station was banned from broadcasting in Canada. How does that strike you Jairus? Care to talk to your friend's mother as to why they don't like Muslim views infecting Canada? Wait. It's not that they don't like Muslim views. They just don't like foreigners. Sorry. Make that "They Don't Like Anyone Who Is Too Foreign For Television." Hmmm. Still sounds nasty and racist. Let me see if I can take the edge off. "They don't like it when you try to include too few Canadians in your programming. You must be at least -> <- this much Canadian to broadcast your station in Canada." Damn. Less racist, but now fascist. Can you help me put a nice spin on that one? I'm having trouble reconciling what are the CRTC's reasons not to celebrate Canada's diverse religions and ethnicities.

Oh, but the CRTC doesn't ban things. They just regulate content. That's it. Yeah. Not enough Canadian content in that station. Better do our best to make sure it doesn't reach Canadian eyes and ears.

Oh, and they steal dishes when they are angry. Better put a fucking lock and chain on that DirecTV dish. The fascists might just bring a hacksaw with them next time they vist.

So the CRTC decided to get a bunch of ole' boys together and round up these self proclaimed "illegal"dishes. After all its OK to steal other people property as long as the goverment does it, right? So these boys went around looking for dishes, when they found one, they would casually sashay into the yard and make off with peoples satellite equipment.

Sad, but true. Welcome to Canada. Leave your religious and ethnic "baggage" at the door when you enter. You be needing it anymore.
posted by shepd at 12:10 AM on December 19, 2003


nice rant.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:12 AM on December 19, 2003


Thanks, fff. I also thought so.

I just get angry when I see such government red tape stifling the economy, and, worse yet, indirectly censoring me from the newspaper.
posted by shepd at 1:15 PM on December 19, 2003


Nice rant indeed, and we see eye-to-eye on Sheila Copps at least, but I'm beginning to think you don't actually know what the word 'banned' means in a socio-political context.

I'll give a detailed reply tomorrow, if/when I have the time. I've got to DJ tonight, so I won't be able to do it now.
posted by Jairus at 5:13 PM on December 19, 2003


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