SD Memory Card Tax Proposed in Canada

Here we go again . . .

Fresh after the recent debate on capping internet bandwidth a group called the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) is trying to lobby the government to introduce a music tax.  You may recall the blank tape tax, the blank CDR tax and the proposed so-called “iPod tax” which was supposed to place a levy on MP3 players based on their storage size.  We’ll the CPCC is now pushing for a new levy to be placed on memory cards determined by the capacity of the card …. sound familiar?

Cards with less than 1GB would be imposed a 50¢ tax, 1-8 GB would be $1.50 and 8GB and above would have a $3.00 tax.  Given the falling prices of memory cards and rapid increase in capacity it’s safe to say that most cards would fall within the $3 per car tax.  The purpose of the tax according to the CPCC submission to the Copyright Board of Canada is to set a levy to compensate artists and other rights holders for the copies of recorded music that are made onto this type of recording media but wait you say!  Many memory cards are not used for music but rather other data storage and photographs.  True but you may recall the same argument was made with the CD-R debate but that didn’t stop the Copyright Board placing a tax of 29 cents on every blank CD-R.  Welcome to Canada EH!

The existing blank CD-R tax is scheduled to expiry on December 31, 2011.  The Copyright Board has published the proposed Private Copying Tariff for 2012 and 2013 on its website;  http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/.  The tariff schedule shows taxes for SD cards as well as CD-R’s.  Anne Morin, Chair of the CPCC is quoted as saying “A copy is a copy, regardless of whether it was made on a CD-R or memory card, that copy has value, and a levy on the blank media used to make it ensures that the artists, songwriters and other rights holders receive the compensation to which they are entitled. It’s a matter of fairness.”

The CPCC had previously approached the Copyright board back in 2003-04 for a levy on memory cards but the Copyright board declined to grant a levy at that time.  The CPCC is an umbrella organization whose member collectives represent songwriters, composers, music publishers, recording artists, musicians and record companies. The CPCC is the non-profit organization responsible for collecting and distributing private copying levies.

According to the CPCC the  private copying levy is an important source of revenue for music rights holders. In place since 1999, the private copying levy provides remuneration to songwriters, music publishers, recording artists, musicians, and record companies in recognition of the fact that Canadians copy hundreds of millions of tracks of recorded music for their own private use.  While no other taxes have been implemented to date the CPCC hasn’t given up it’s fight for an MP3 tax and continues to lobby for it as well as the proposed SD Card Tax.  A USB Memory stick tax can’t be far behind.

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