More on Copyright – this time in Canada

From the lovely North American vista of Canada (home of free speech and a conservative but practical government – no sarcasm indended), comes this disturbing article from the CBC.

Basically, Canada is due to potentially enact (they’ll lead you to believe this is the same as ‘artist’-friendly) music-industry friendly copyright protection legislation.  This will possibly make copying of content a potentially prosecutable offence.  We’ve just gone through the same hoops here in Australia – I hope that the Canadian government will take a close look at the amendments and changes that were made to allow ‘fair use’ for consumers here.

What I see as the largest difference between Canada’s situation and Australia’s is in a little bit of legislation which was passed about five years’ ago or so.

If you were to believe Graham Henderson of the Canadian Recording Industry Association, you’d think that no-one in the music business in Canada is making a cent.  However, if you did believe him you’d be wrong.   

Canada is one of the few countries who were led to believe that if they allowed a levy* on the price of writable media (CD-R, DVD-R etc), this would satisfy the Music Industry (who would make about 5c or more off the sale of each item, per unit).  In other words, the levy was to ‘guarantee’ fair use for consumers – even consumers who were buying the writable media for copying non-music related data – plus give money to compensate the industry.

So, it looks like the Canadian music industry might get to have its cake and eat it too.  There’s a lesson for other countries to take note: there’s no such thing as a tradeoff with these industry bodies.

On another note, there is potentially stupendous legislation to be tabled in the US Senate.  This legislation aims to enforce DRM (synonymous with ugly) on all forms of audio broadcast, including webcasts.

Why is this a top-shelf priority for a government which should be spending more time thinking about its ever growing national health crisis; greenhouse gas emissions; the trouble it has caused in Iraq and the numerous domestic issues (including homicide rates, finance and social issues)?  Ya gotta love lobbyists.

Introduces “the imposition of a levy on blank audio recording media to compensate authors, performers and makers who own copyright in eligible sound recordings being copied for private use.” – CD-R: 5.2 cents per unit


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