Canadian MP3 tax is a no-go

January 15, 2008 // 10:14 a.m.

Tags: #ipod #mp3 #mpaa #riaa #tax

An extension to the controversial tax on recordable media planned by Canada's Copyright Board to cover digital audio players has been rejected by the Federal Court of Appeal.

The Copyright Board's plan was to introduce a rising tax on MP3 players, starting at $5 for players with a capacity of less than 1GB and hitting a whopping $75 for players with 30GB of storage or more. This tax would be levied at a retail level in the same way as sales tax.

The Board accepted claims that the tax was required to compensate artists for revenues lost due to "private copying." This same reasoning is already used in Canada to enforce a levy on recordable media including cassette tapes and writeable CDs, although the current legislation does not cover flash media or MP3 players.

The Canadian Private Copyright Collective, the party lobbying for the extension, wants for MP3 players to be treated as any other audio recording medium. This was preliminarily accepted by the Copyright Board last year for implementation in 2008. The Federal Court of Appeal has now nixed these plans, saying that the Board "erred in law when it concluded that it has the legal authority to certify the tariff that [the] CPCC has proposed for 2008 and 2009 on digital audio recorders."

Such a decision by the Court of Appeals may leave the way open for future lobbying against the existing recordable media tax, although it is highly unlikely Canada would ever completely abolish it unless a replacement revenue source were found.

Do you think the starving artists need all the help they can get, or do you feel aggrieved at paying them twice - once on purchase and once on iTunes? Give us your thoughts over in the forums.
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