Letter Regarding Proposed Audio Tariffs In Canada

Christopher Rath

2002/05/10

From: Christopher Rath < >
Sent: 10 May, 2002 20:58
To: Claude Majeau <majeau.claude@cb-cda.gc.ca>
Subject: re: Statement of Proposed Levies to be Collected by CPCC…

Regarding, Supplement Canada Gazette, Part I March 9, 2002, Copyright Board, “Statement of Proposed Levies to be Collected by CPCC for the Sale, in Canada, of Blank Audio Recording Media for the Years 2003 and 2004”.

This email constitutes my formal objection to the proposed statement filed by CPCC. I do not intend to actively participate in the process leading to the certification of the tariff; rather, I am filing a “letter of comment”.

I am most offended by the CPCC’s statements on page 5 of the PDF version of the Statement which reads,

(1) The Board must certify a tariff and set a levy… No purpose is served by asking the Board to reject the tariff as a whole.

I believe that the CPCC has a moral responsibility to the Canadian People to agree to hear and consider objections from Canadians. To state that there is no purpose to be served in Canadians protesting when an injustice is being done is rather disingenuous.

Section 80 of the Copyright Act specifically states that,

“…the act of reproducing all or any substantial part of … a sound recording … onto an audio recording medium for the private use of the person who makes the copy does not constitute an infringement of the copyright in the musical work, the performer's performance or the sound recording.” (emphasis added)

It is repugnant to me that the Copyright Act should both grant explicit permission for private copying of material, and then levy a tariff on such explicitly granted activity. The copyright holder, artist, et al all receive their due remuneration when I purchase the original audio materials. That I make a copy of that audio material under the auspices of Section 80 in no way entitles those parties to further payment. Either the Copyright Act has provides for private copying as fair use, or it doesn’t; if it doesn’t then further payment is necessary, if private copying is allowed, then no payment is justified.

My objection to the proposed tariffs are twofold:

  1. Such a tariff is based upon the assumption that somehow the private copying of sound recordings is denying someone of monies owed them. The recording industry has not published any evidence that copying done by individuals causes them harm. In fact, anecdotal evidence published recently indicates the opposite (see author Eric Flint’s letter of 2002/04/15). I do not deny that large scale pirating activities do cause harm, but this proposed levy will not serve to ameliorate that loss in any fashion.
  2. Such a tariff is based upon the assumption that all blank media is destined for use in the recording of audio. Flash-RAM and hard-drives are media for which audio is the minority use of that media; yet, your proposed tariff will treat all Flash-RAM and hard-drives as audio media. Clearly this will over-reach the mandate the Copyright Act grants. This item is a fatal flaw and must overturn any tariff except a token tariff.

If the CPCC believes that its hands are tied and that it has no alternative than to levy some tariff, then it should levy a token tariff: something that fulfills the letter of the law while upholding the fundamental principles that the Copyright Act was originally created for. By a token tariff, I mean something on the order of 1/10 of a cent per gigabyte of storage—this fulfills the letter of the law and yet demonstrates clearly to the lobbyists that the Canadian Government has put the best interests of Canadian’s in front of the interests of a few large media moguls.

Sincerely,
Christopher Rath

 cc. Hon. E. Bellemare (my MP)
     Minister of Industry
     LtrArchive


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Last updated: 2007/02/25 @ 14:22:00 ( )