New Democrat member of parliament Charlie Angus, the Canadian party's digital issues critic, has introduced two proposals to amend the Copyright Act.

The two proposals, first reported by Billboard.biz last week, are designed to "help balance the interest of both creators and consumers in the digital age," Angus' press release says. One proposal deals with a levy on digital audio recorders, or MP3 players, while the other is aimed at providing a "fair dealing," provision in Canadian copyright law.

The private member's bill, introduced to parliament today (March 16), attempts to extend the Private Copying Levy, a fee placed on blank media that is then distributed to music publishers and recording companies, to MP3 players, a move that has been unsuccessful in the past and is highly contentious. Angus says the levy would provide "legal clarity" for fans who are copying MP3s to a digital player.

The fair dealing motion would attempt to expand the exemption to non-commercial infringement for researchers, educators and those in the "creative community," he says.

Angus says he doesn't expect the amendments to be successful. Rather, he hopes they are "flags on the field," that indicate to the Conservative government that there are key areas of copyright that are not being addressed.

"I've looked at various scenarios," he says. "And if we don't find a way to monetize this for artists, we are going to have lawsuits ... what strikes me is that Canada has the chance to get this right."

Already Angus, well known for wading into the fray on various Internet issues, is being vilified by some online for introducing what one site called a "you must be a criminal tax."

Angus says he expected some backlash.

"That's not surprising," he says. "But I'm not worried about that because I feel I've built up a lot of credibility with the digital rights people."

Angus is a musician best known for playing in 1980s new wave band L'Étranger and later in folk band Grievous Angels.

The New Democrats say they are committed to moving legislation through the House that will provide economic protection for artists while ensuring that innovators, educators and consumers are not unfairly penalized or restricted.