Canada = Land of the Free... P2P?
A desperate American recording industry is waging a fierce fight against digital copyright infringement seemingly oblivious to the fact that, for practical purposes, it lost the digital music sharing fight over five years ago. In Canada.
"On March 19, 1998, Part VIII of the (Canadian) Copyright Act dealing with private copying came into force. Until that time, copying any sound recording for almost any purpose infringed copyright, although, in practice, the prohibition was largely unenforceable. The amendment to the Act legalized copying of sound recordings of musical works onto audio recording media for the private use of the person who makes the copy (referred to as "private copying"). In addition, the amendment made provision for the imposition of a levy on blank audio recording media to compensate authors, performers and makers who own copyright in eligible sound recordings being copied for private use."
-- Copyright Board of Canada: Fact Sheet: Private Copying 1999-2000 Decision
The Copyright Board of Canada administers the Copyright Act and sets the amount of the levies on blank recording media and determines which media will have levies imposed. Five years ago this seemed like a pretty good deal for the music industry: $0.77 CDN for a blank CD and .29 a blank tape, whether used for recording music or not. Found money for the music moguls who had been pretty disturbed that some of their product was being burned onto CDs. To date over 70 million dollars has been collected through the levy and there is a good possibility the levy will be raised and extended to MP3 players, flash memory cards and recordable DVDs sometime in 2003.
While hardware vendors whine about the levy, consumers seem fairly indifferent. Why? Arguably because the levy is fairly invisible - just another tax in an overtaxed country. And because it makes copying music legal in Canada.