Details of New Canadian Tape Recording Tax
Here is some info on the new outrageous Canadian Legislation concerning the new
levies on audio tapes and digital audio recording devices. The first part below
is what I received from a Mr. Michel Gauthier of the Canadian Copyright
Board. Mr. Gauthier was very helpful, and after speaking with him I don't
think he's in favour of this new legislation either.
by Kenny Sultan Hoeppner
INFORMATION ABOUT THE HOME TAPING REGIME
- Until recently, individuals who taped songs off the radio or made copies
of CDs they had purchased, say, for use in the tape deck in their car, infringed
copyright. The home taping regime, which is now in force as the result of an
Act of Parliament, changed this. Individuals are now allowed to copy a
sound recording of a musical work onto an audio recording medium (e.g. an audio
cassette) for their own private use.
- Those who own the rights associated to those sound recordings (composers,
authors, performers and producers) are entitled to be remunerated for the
copies that are being made under it. This means that:
- the remuneration is solely on account of private copying for one's own
- only persons who own rights in sound recordings of musical works are entitled
to share in the remuneration. Owners of rights in other works (computer programs,
movies, literary works) are not.
- The remuneration must be paid by manufacturers and importers of blank audio
recording media, in the form of a levy to be imposed on those media, to be
collected when they are sold or otherwise disposed of by the manufacturer or
importer. Blank media that are exported from Canada are not subject to the levy.
This means that:
- the Board must certify a tariff and set a levy, although the final content
of the tariff and amount of the levy could be quite different from what the
collective societies have asked for;
- the levy cannot be imposed on anyone else, nor can it be set At the retail
level, as many persons proposed;
- the levy is payable by the importer or manufacturer without regard to its end
use. That remains true even if the end user is licensed to reproduce the works
or is able to establish that a qualifying medium will not be used to copy sound
recordings of musical works. The Act makes no provision for a refund
mechanism of any sort, except in the case of societies that represent persons
with perceptual disabilities. However, the fact that some qualifying media may
be used for purposes other than reproducing sound recordings of musical works
could be taken into account in setting the amount of the levy;
- the Act exempts from the levies recording media that are sold to a
society, association or corporation that represents persons with perceptual
disabilities. There can be no other exemption.
- The Copyright Act orders that levies be set and determines how this
is to be done. Those who are entitled to receive a remuneration must first
associate themselves into one or more collective societies. The societies must
file proposed tariffs with the Copyright Board and the Board must
publish the proposals in the Canada Gazette as it received them. Anyone is
allowed to file an objection. The date to file objections was August 12, 1998.
- Those who ask for the levy and those who object to it will now have the
opportunity to file evidence and argument for or against the proposals. Because
parties require time to prepare, hearings will not be held until some time in
May, 1999. A decision will not be issued until the Fall. The Board is
specifically required to set fair and equitable levies.
- The law specifically states that any qualifying medium that is sold by an
importer or manufacturer on January 1, 1999 or thereafter will be subject to
the levy. This means that:
- once the Board's decision has been issued, the person entitled to
collect the levy will be able to ask for payment on account of sales going back
to the start of 1999;
- retailers who raise their prices on stock that they purchased before
1999 will not be required to forward that money to copyright owners.
- The levy will be collected by a single collecting body. That body will be a
private organization. What it collects will be paid to the collective societies
representing rights owners in the proportions set out by the Board. Once
the Board has determined the share each collective society will get, those
societies will be free to distribute what they receive as they wish. As far as
the Board knows, collective societies have not decided whether some or
all of the levies will in fact be distributed based on the amount of air play
received by each recording.
- Only blank audio recording media are subject to the levy. To meet the
definition, a medium must (a) be of a kind that can be used to reproduce a sound
recording, (b) be Of a kind ordinarily used by individual consumers for
that purpose AND (c) have never had sounds fixed onto it.
- The levy can only be applied to qualifying media, which must be blank media.
The levy could not, as one person suggested, be imposed on recorded media so that
the cost of further recordings is paid for when purchasing the original.
- Whether a kind of medium is ordinarily used by individual consumers
will in turn raise two questions. First, what is an individual consumer?
Second, at what point does a use become ordinary? Thus, it may be that
certain users are not individual consumers, that certain types of media are
not ordinarily used by individual consumers or that individual consumers
do not use them to reproduce sound recordings. Determining which media qualify
for the purposes of the home taping regime, and which do not, is still an open
question and will be an important part of the Board's job in this matter.
More specifically, whether recordable CDS or voice grade (normal bias)
audio cassettes qualify is still very much an open issue.
- The conditions outlined above are set out in the Copyright Act. The
Copyright Board cannot add to, nor subtract from, any of these provisions.
Only another Act of Parliament can do that.
- Any comments about how the regime is set up or any suggestions you may have
about changes that you think should be made to the Copyright Act should
be addressed to the Departments of Industry and Canadian Heritage,
whose ministers are responsible for the legislation. The persons to contact are:
Éloïse Arbour, Policy Analyst
tel: (819) 997-5088
Albert Cloutier, Policy Analyst
tel: (613) 952-3804
- If you want to know more about what copyright owners are planning to do about
their proposals, or if you want to make any comments to them, you can contact the
person they have designated as spokesperson for all collectives who filed
proposals. He is:
Brian Chater, President
Canadian Independent Record Production Association
tel: (416) 485-3152
I hope this answers your questions. If you want more information, please do not
hesitate to contact our General Counsel, Mario Bouchard, who can be reached by
phone at (613) 954-6470 or by email at email@example.com .
This next part is from The Supplement Of The Canada Gazette,
Part 1, 98/06/13, by the Copyright Board.
Statements Of Proposed Levies to be Collected for the Sale,
in Canada of Blank Audio Recording Media, for the years 1999 & 2000.
Page 4, section 2.
2.1: Pursuant to section 82 of the Copyright Act, manufacturers
and importer of blank audio recording media shall pay to the collecting body,
for the years 1999 & 2000, in respect of the reproduction for private use of
sound recordings, musical works and performances of musical works embodied
therein levies of:
- CDN $0.25 per portion of 15 minutes, or part thereof, of each analog
recording media sold or imported
- CDN $0.50 per portion of 15 minutes, or part thereof, of each digital
audio recording media sold or imported.
Misc Rambling/Editorial Comment
In short, this new levy means that a 90min blank tape will cost you CDN $1.50
more than before. The tax cannot be added to existing stock from 1998. So go
out and scoop up anything you can afford from last year.
This coming May there are going to be meetings held on the new legislation
Bill C232. The main reason for the meetings is because, when the
Government pushed this through, they didn't allow sufficient time for
opposing parties to make any presentations.
I've spoken to Maxell Canada and the TDK distributer and they told
me they will be making presentations at the meetings. They have also said
that their prices will be going up on all new 1999 stock, which they obviously
believe will hurt their sales greatly.
Also, as of now there is no mechanism in place for collecting the tax.
This tax is supposed to be given back to the artists, but like most taxes it's
just a money grab for the elite few. While Celine, Shania and Bryan Addams will
get their share, the guy playing in a bar or busking any place else, who is
trying to make a living in music will get nothing. And the cost of tapes used
for making demo tapes will almost double.
I urge all Rusties who read this to call their local MP's and express
their outrage over this unfair tax. It's only going to make the rich richer
and the poor poorer.
Addendum by Allan Meek...
Web Site for More Info and a Petition
For those Canadian Rusties who are as ticked off as I am about the
proposed CDR/DAT/Tape tax, there is an 'offical' petition set up
on the Sycorp
web site. There are already more than 15,000 names! I strongly urge you
to at least check out the site and find out more about the issue!
Addendum by Stuart B. MacDonald...
Another Web Site
Some more info on Canada's new tape/CD tax can be found at the
Federation website. See the "Sheila's Tape
Tax" link near the bottom of the main front page. There are
also some addresses if you should want to express your concerns.
Addendum by Kenny Sultan Hoeppner...
Just got this reply from a local area MP. It looks like enough people have
raised a stink over this insane legislation that the process has been
suspended for now. The message is bellow.
"Further to your request for information on the levy on audio recording
media. I have been informed by the Copyright Board Tribunal that
the collection of the levy has been suspended until Dec. 31, 1999. In
the meantime they will be reviewing the scope and amount of the levy.
Thx to everyone who helped out on this cause and signed the petitions
and called their MP's to complain. It looks like people can still make a
"The Board also informs me that VHS tapes will not be covered.
However, tape cassette, CD and DAT devices will. You can make a submission
to the Copyright Board by: