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CPCC Unhappy with Proposed Copyright Law Amendments

The Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) is criticizing proposed amendments to the Copyright Act for failing to expand the existing levy on blank storage media (CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio, MiniDisc) to include MP3 players, cell phones, computers and other devices and media capable of storing digital audio.

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Unedited press release follows:

Proposed Copyright Law Fails Canadian Artists

Survey shows Canadians support fair compensation to artists and extending the levy to MP3 players

Toronto (ON) – The Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) criticized proposed amendments to the Copyright Act tabled in the House of Commons today for failing to strike a balance between Canadians’ desire to make copies of music onto digital audio devices, like the iPod and other MP3 players, and the rights of Canadian artists to be paid for the use of their work. The CPCC is the non-profit agency charged with collecting and distributing private copying royalties to music creators.

“The legislation does not address the urgent need for Canadian artists to receive fair compensation for the use of their work,” stated Annie Morin, Chair of the CPCC Board of Directors. “By not allowing for a levy on MP3 players, the government is effectively saying that an artist’s work is of no value. But without the music, it is the MP3 player that has no value.” The private copying levy has been an important source of revenue for Canadian artists for over a decade. The levy, which is included in the purchase price of blank CDs, is distributed to music rights holders. As CDs become obsolete as a means for copying music, the revenue for rights holders from this source is declining at a rapid rate – a 60 percent drop in the last three years.

“The time has come to bring the legislation into the 21st century,” continued Ms. Morin. “It needs to reflect how copies of music are actually made today, not how they were made over a decade ago. How can the government justify compensating artists for copies made on to blank CDs, but not on to MP3 players? A copy is a copy. Every copy has value and creators deserve to be compensated. There is no reason artists should be stripped of their rights simply because consumers have adopted new technologies.”

MP3 players have become the device of choice for copying music. Seventy percent, and climbing, of the 1.3 billion songs copied annually in Canada are copied onto MP3 players. This means that Canadian artists receive nothing for the vast majority of copies made of their music. Only an amendment to the Copyright Act allowing for an extension of the levy to MP3 players can prevent compensation to artists for copies from drying up entirely. Such a levy would only apply to devices that are designed, manufactured and advertised for the purpose of copying music.

In a survey of 1,000 Canadians conducted earlier this year, over 70 percent agreed that artists should be compensated when private copies are made of their music and a majority supported a levy as high as $25 on MP3 players.

“Canadians are fair-minded. Amending the legislation to extend the levy would ensure its original intent, which is to balance the need to provide fair compensation to artists and Canadians’ desire to make copies of music for their personal enjoyment,” concluded Ms. Morin.