New Levy to compensate artists for lost revenue?!

Cam S

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This is just unbelievable. In the news paper today, I read something truly sad. A new taxation implemented by the federal government could be in place by January for all Canadians. What is being Taxed? Well, ALL forms of media storage that could possibly hold illegal media, such as MP3's etc etc. This includes Hard Drives, all forms of memory for digital camera's, and basically anything that can store data that could possibly be illegal. Recordable DVD's will be taxed $2.27 per DVD, CD-R's will be taxed $1.23 per CD, removable memory for digital camera's will be taxed 8 cents per Megabyte, and non removable memory 2.1 cents per megabyte. The real kicker is this. Computer hard drives will be taxed up to $21 per Gigabyte, yes $21 per GIGABYTE!!!! Now if you do the math, a 120gb hard drive costs about $210 bucks right now, with the tax being put in place that hard drive would now cost an amazing $2,730. That would hit the computer industry INCREDIBLY hard, as most people wouldn't even consider buying a personal computer, since they would now cost $4,000 or more dollars. I think it is an absolute joke that things like storage devices be taxed so heavily simply to reimburse the friggin artists who say they are losing money. Great, now with that tax money they receive they can go buy another Bentley or a house, wonderful.
Here is the article that was in the local newspaper today.
Levy to protect artists’ income
Let me know what you guys think of this.
 

Cam S

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Crap, I hope this isn't against the political rules of this forum or anything. I hope not because I really want to hear what you guys think about this.
 

Charles J P

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Wont happen, for the shear fact that, as you mentioned, this would basically make computers and many digital devices completely unaffordable.
 

Andrew Chong

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Of course, I too hope it doesn't happen. On top of GST and PST, we will have to pay **T?

What about those of us who use CDRs to archive our own original music, artwork, photographs, books, articles, financial information, on and on?

What a bad, bad, bad idea.
 

Cam S

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Ya, when you think about this, it's just plain ridiculous. I don't understand how all of this would be simply for the fact of reimbursing recording artists. I don't see to many artists hurting for cash, I mean look at all the bling bling rappers, and all the other ones. They are NOT in need of a few extra bucks. It's a joke, plain and simple.
 

Francois Caron

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It's also a huge scam. The chances that any artist will see a penny of that money is virtually nil. It'll all go in the pockets of the government and the huge record companies.

Based on the way I interpreted the article, the levy on hard drives would be applied only on drives installed in media players such as the iPod. Unfortunately, a basic iPod would still cost you an extra $105, $210 and $420 for the 5, 10 and 20 GB models respectively on top of the original sale price. One workaround however would be if Apple sells an iPod without the hard drive, and you go out and purchase the biggest IBM Travelstar you can afford.

There's no mention if the levy would apply to purchases made in the USA including mail orders. If it does, then we will see the formation of a smuggling ring as extensive as what already exists with the grey and black market US satellite receivers. Already, DVD media costs over $5.00 US per disc in Canada while they sell for about a dollar per disc in the USA. Any levies imposed on recordable media will simply encourage everyone to go deeper underground.
 

Jeff Ulmer

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While I disagree that recording artists aren't losing money to piracy, and that they do deserve rightful income for people using their work, this is a scam. As Francois says, no artists outside the top 2% will ever see any benefit from this, if they see anything at all. Why they are levying this in Canada, when those who should be compensated by this collection come from a global market is questionable.

I wouldn't get too excited about this yet, as there was a mad hysteria a few years ago about a tax on CDRs that never amounted to much. Once the computer industry lobbyists get their hands on this and started pulling out of Canada, you can be sure any policy put in place will be yanked.
 

Cam S

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Lets just hope you guys are right!!
 

Cam S

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How about the DVD-R and CD-R tax, that alone triples the cost of CD-R's and adds a hefty sum to the already expensive DVD-R's.
 

Tom Meyer

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I don't see to many artists hurting for cash, I mean look at all the bling bling rappers, and all the other ones. They are NOT in need of a few extra bucks. It's a joke, plain and simple.
Uh, sure, for people you see on MTV, which 99% of all people who release music are NOT. For pretty much everyone else, it is VERY hard to earn a living as a professional musician without having a day job. Most bands that sign major label deals end up OWING the label money, even if they sell hundreds of thousands of records.
For a crash course in music biz economics, take a look at:
http://www.indiecentre.com/info%5Car...0&ArticleID=25
Which is an article Steve Albini wrote for "The Baffler" 7 or 8 years ago. That band you saw last weekend ? Probably losing money. That band you heard on the radio a few times ? Probably losing money. That band you like but your friends never heard of ? Probably losing money. And it isn't just indie bands. Basically unless you sell millions of records or are very smart by doing things like not accepting big advances, signing with a major label is basically signing your band's death warrant.
Also, many indie artists are against MP3-style pirating and for digital rights for artists. Jenny Toomey, formerly of Tsunami, formed the Future of Music Coalition (www.futureofmusic.org), which educates the public about piracy and artists' rights.
Now, I agree that such a huge tax is absurd and there's absolutely no way it's going to pass in its current form. But, to say that "no artists outside the top 2%" wouldn't benefit from a better way to manage digital rights is just plain incorrect.
 

Jeff Ulmer

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That's not what I said. The current legislation would ensure that the top 2% get paid and nobody else does (just like all the revisions to the performing rights distribution system did back in the 1980s). Part of the stipulation for even being considered for the payment pool is belonging to one of several organisations, many of which sponge off artists offering very little in return, or mandate work restrictions which are also bad for the artists. This is a tax grab that will do nothing to combat the problem, nor compensate the many smaller artists who are affected by piracy.

Anyone who has been around HTF for a while knows that I am an advocate of fair compensation for the use of intellectual property, however, this is nothing more than another bad tax, that if implemented, will cause severe repercussions throughout the computer industry.

While most of these groups forwarding this idea claim to be nonprofit, they get bogged down in red tape, and will end up costing more to administer than they collect. This is bad policy, plain and simple.
 

Max Leung

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I agree with Jeff...this is a bad idea. It would be impossible to distribute the cash directly to the artists. In effect, the money will go nowhere but into the hands of the few, the ones who need it the least and to top it all off, are not artists!
 

Cam S

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Most bands that sign major label deals end up OWING the label money, even if they sell hundreds of thousands of records.
Those bands wouldn't be the ones claiming to lose money. Metallica has stated very loudly that they are losing money due to MP3's, bullshit, they are rich, what do they care. Only the uber artists would see any of this tax money.
 

Jeff Ulmer

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Metallica has stated very loudly that they are losing money due to MP3's, bullshit, they are rich, what do they care.
They care just as much as you would if someone was stealing your income. Just because they have money (which they worked pretty hard to earn - would you want to live on a bus for years on end?) doesn't mean they don't care. Why should they be penalized for being popular? If you got a really decent paying job after years of hard work, should anyone be entitled to just steal from you?

I agree that this tax is bogus, but just because someone has success in the industry doesn't mean they don't have a right to the money they've earned.
 

Cam S

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They arn't really losing money, as most poeple who actually want the cd, will still go out and buy it even if they have all the songs on MP3.
 

Rob Gardiner

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I'm curious, does Canadian copyright law contain FAIR USE provisions as in the U.S.?
 

Cam S

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Hmmm, not too sure about that. Anyone know about it?
 

Nigel McN

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I thought fair use was the reason for the levies? I have seen it discussed before that canadians are quite free to copy stuff, hence the higher tax on media.
 

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