Internet Music Piracy Impossible in Canada

VANCOUVER - May 18/02 - STAT -- Canadian farmers who have been building up libraries of country music and great Celtic tunes from the Canadian Maritime have also, in recent months, been buying the rights to legally copy the music they are downloading from the internet to their MP3 players and CDs.

The new forms of media allow agricultural producers to download their favorite tunes from the internet and makes copies so they can listen to it when they work their fields, or play it to their animals to relieve the stress in dairy and hog barns.

           Current Canadian Music Royalty Levies Charged by Retailers
                        and the Proposals for 2003-04
MEDIA TYPE                       CURRENT LEVY        PROPOSED (for 2003/2004)
CD-R & CD-RW (non audio)         $0.21 per CD        $0.59 per CD ($0.93 per Gigabyte)
Minidisc / CD-R Audio            $0.77 per CD/Disc   $1.23 per CD/Disc
Cassette tapes (under 40 min.)     no levy              no levy
Cassette tapes (40 minutes+)     $0.29 per tape      $0.60 per tape
Flash Memory - Removable           no levy            0.8¢ per Megabyte
Flash Memory - Non Removable       no levy            2.1¢ per Megabyte
Micro Hard Drives (mp3 players etc)no levy          $21.00 per Gigabyte
DVD-R/RW                           no levy           $2.27 for each disc

But, until the controversial levies on recordable media started being collected by the Canadian government this was an illegal activity from the perspective of the RIAA and its Canadian counterpart. This is no longer the case. The Canadian government has already started collecting royalties on behalf of musicians and the recording industry and will plans to not only increase the size of the levy, but expand their scope.

While the levies are considered high by many consumers, the simple fact is anyone who purchases such media from a Canadian retailer is buying to right to legally download music from the internet and make copies or rip music from other people's CDs and albums and convert the songs into MP3s for re-recording onto CDs and other media.

This is tremendous development for individuals who only want a specific song from an album or CD instead of the entire contents.

Though no money has been paid to artists and is not expected to be paid for another two years, money remaining after the Canadian government covers its administrative costs will be distributed as follows: 66% goes to eligible authors, 18.9% goes to eligible performers, and 15.1% goes to eligible makers.

It cannot be stressed enough, anyone purchases recordable media covered by the levy is buying the rights to any music they download music from the internet and copy it to such media. At the moment this covers any music downloaded and copied to CR-R and CD-RW disks, mini discs and cassette tapes. In the future, the Canadian government intends to increase the amount of levy gathered and extend it to cover flash memory, micro hard drives and DVD-R/RW disks.

This is an important development for Canadian citizens and any tourists who purchase such media in that country, because they can freely copy music obtained from the internet and other means, knowing that the musicians and creators of the music will be paid by the Canadian government for such use. This means Canadians are not subject to the risk of prosecution for internet music piracy after saving such music to appropriate media.

The challenge for the world's recording and film industry and artists is to come up with a good estimate of how much money they are due from the levies collected by the Canadian government.

Since the levy is collected at the retail level, any citizens from other countries which purchase such media in Canada, are also paying artists for the right to download and copy music onto such media.