Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The SD Card Tax

The title of the recent ZDNet blog says it all: Canadian SD card buyers are all Criminals. The people who run the non-profit (alledgedly) Canadian Private Copying Collective has decided that because you can download content onto SD cards, including micro SD cards then people MUST be copying music onto them, after all, what else would Canadians use such devises. After all, we are a nation of thieves and cutthroats. This group are the ones that collect all the levies from blank cassettes and CD-R to distribute to the various drug dealers and pimps, oops, sorry to the artists, performers, writers of music. In fact they have a whole document on the distribution plan, you can read it here. If you look closely, you can discern the groups that get the money are the artists, the songwriters and publishers AND, a big surprise, the Record Labels. There is also the methodology for the calculations, which is based upon airplay and sales. So you can believe its slightly slanted to major artists and major recording labels. Now of course they try to distribute it fairly, although a look will reveal the last year data indicates the group didn't distribute near half their gain to artists. So what happens to that which isn't given out, another blog posting.

The big news from this group is they have decided to included blank SD cards, the wording of their requests is:
blank audio recording medium” means
(a) a recording medium, regardless of its material form, onto
which a sound recording may be reproduced, that is of a kind
ordinarily used by individual consumers for that purpose and
on which no sounds have ever been fixed, including
(i) recordable compact discs (CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R Audio,
CD-RW Audio),
(ii) electronic memory cards, and
(b) any medium prescribed by regulations pursuant to sections
79 and 87 of the Act (« support audio vierge »);

The last lines is left blank so they can add anything they want. if there is anything else they can think of as possibly being used for piracy could fall under that catagory. This is the same group that wanted to place a levy on all ipods and, one presumes, iphones.

Here is the amount they want"
3. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the levy rates shall be
(a) 29¢ for each CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R Audio or CD-RW
(b) 50¢ for each electronic memory card with 1 gigabyte of
memory or less, $1.00 for each electronic memory card with
more than one gigabyte of memory but less than 8 gigabytes of
memory, and $3.00 for each electronic memory card with
8 gigabytes of memory or more.

Michael Geist had the following post to consider the danger of this possible levy. His concern is the levy is awful for a media that keeps dropping in price. I went to Factory Direct and discovered you can purchase a microSD card, 2GB for $3.88. Well, not any more, the levy would add another dollar, which would represent a 25% increase in the price, plus the tax that would be calculated on the levy. The problem the levy would remain the same even though the base product is going down in price. The other issue is that for the most part, SD cards are used for photography. They are used in digital cameras and camcorders. Yes they are used in cellphones but usually for taking videos and photographs. Cameras are not MP3 players, they are used to create media, not download it for use later.

I have a number of cards, some I still use, others are 'retired'. For the ones in my camera and camcorder, there is no music, only pictures and videos. I have a few mp3 of songs from my CD on they one in my cellphone, but for the most part I use it for storing my media, not anyone else's.

So this group wants even more money from Canadians. They alledge to give to artists, but their own charts reveal this is false.

So what are we to do, well one would be to write:


The other might be to, if this levy happens, to find alternative sources for your SD cards, ebay comes to mind.

If there is any hope, the Conservative Government has not been interested in listening to the CPCC in the past and hopefully they won't with this one. It's just ridiculous enough to engender enough anger to make the government decide to ignore this one and refuse to budge.

It's the least we can do.

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