Canada to Place New Tax on MP3 Players?

Canada to Place New Tax on MP3 Players?
If you've ever purchased CD-Rs, chances are you've already complained about Canada's private copying levy, which places an additional 29 cents on each blank CD. Now, members of the Canadian Parliament are proposing that this tax be extended to include MP3 players.

Charlie Angus, digital issues critic for the NDP, is reportedly supporting a bill that would place a tax of anywhere between $5 and $75 on all MP3 players sold in Canada, and according to Billboard, the MP is set to enter the private member's bill next week.

Support for this proposal comes from both sides of the floor. Last week, the Conservative government spoke out in support of intellectual property in the throne speech. Meanwhile, music industry insiders gathered in Toronto at Canadian Music Week have reportedly begun discussions about the possibility of a new Copyright Act.

Despite so much support for the private copying levy - sometimes referred to as the "blank media tax" - some say that it's still a long shot that this tax will ever be introduced. The Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois still haven't spoken out in support of the bill. What's more, intellectual property lawyer Mark Hayes says that the fledgling music industry doesn't have enough political sway to make this levy a reality.

"My guess is that it is doubtful it would make it very far," Hayes says. "The electronics business is a lot more important to the economy than the recording business and has a lot more influence at Industry [Canada]."

This isn't the first time that Canadians have proposed extending the blank media tax to include MP3 players. Most recently, the Copyright Board certified a tax on digital records in 2007, but this was later overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal.