Canadian Government Eyes New iPod Fee to Compensate Artists

Canadian Government Eyes New iPod Fee to Compensate Artists

Last December, we found out that the copyright levy on blank media like CDs and cassettes went up nearly 40 percent, adding to the funds going towards the Canadian Private Copying Collective who distribute these to songwriters, artists and record labels across the country. Now, the organization is urging the Canadian government to extend this fee to cover iPods and digital media devices as well.

According to a Canadian Press report, the collective can foresee the downfall of the blank CD, and in turn the vital source of income its levy generates, leading the non-profit to now eye tactical shifts.

"Frankly the only remedy now is for a change in legislation," said the CPCC's David Basskin of the plan to impose the levy on iPods and similar devices. "If this change isn't made there's no question that the continuing decline in the use of recordable CDs for copying music will have the long-term effect of draining all the value out of the levy, but the copying won't stop."

Canadian jazz artist Sophie Milman, who benefits from the levies, sees this as a logical step. "For an independent Canadian artist and an independent Canadian label that has to penny-pinch that is enormous, actually," Milman said. "That will make the difference between whether they can invest in another album, whether they can underwrite a losing tour... There has to be some sort of way to compensate the artist for the hours and the sweat and the blood and the tears and the extreme, extreme expense that goes into making music."

The proposed levy would be based on the size of the device, CP reports, meaning a 4GB iPod would have a smaller fee attached to it than a 32GB one. The levy would also just be intended to account for private copies, not those attained through file-sharing programs.

The Retail Council of Canada has labelled the levy a "tax" and argued against it.

To date, the Canadian Private Copying Collective has distributed over $160 million to more than 100,000 songwriters, recording artists, music publishers and record companies from the imposed levies.