The Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) today (Feb. 9) proposed a new private copying tariff for 2008 and 2009 to the Canadian Copyright Board, which has the authority to set tariff rates in Canada. The current private copying tariff expires on Dec. 31, 2007.

Since 2001, the private copying levy rates on blank audio recording media have remained unchanged at 21 cents (Canadian) on CD-R and CD-RW; 29 cents (Canadian) on audio cassettes; and 77 cents on MiniDiscs, CD-R Audio and CD-RW Audio.

The CPCC, the Toronto-based nonprofit collective charged with collecting and distributing private copying royalties in Canada, proposes that the levy on CD-R and CD-RW be increased to 29 cents (Canadian) and the levy on MiniDiscs, CD-R Audio and CD-RW Audio be increased to 85 cents (Canadian). No increase is proposed to the levy on audio cassettes.

In recognition of the volume of private copying onto iPods and other MP3 players, the CPCC is also now proposing a levy on digital audio recorders, as well as a levy on electronic memory cards. The proposed tariff varies depending upon memory capacity, with rates ranging from $2 to $10 (Canadian) for memory cards and $5 to $75 (Canadian) for digital audio recorders.

In its decision on the 2003-2004 Private Copying Tariff, the Copyright Board approved the CPCC's request for a levy on the hard disk or flash memory that is embedded in iPods and other MP3 players, which the Board referred to as digital audio recorders. Subsequently the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the Copyright Board had erred on this point. However, neither the Copyright Board nor the Court has ever been asked to consider whether a digital audio recorder itself is an "audio recording medium."

The CPCC argues the digital audio recorder qualifies as an audio recording medium under the Canadian Copyright Act and that the Copyright Board has the authority to impose a levy directly on iPods and other MP3 players.

"It is simply a matter of fairness that the creators of content, the creators of culture actually, should receive some compensation for the large volume of unauthorized and uncontrollable copying onto these media," says Claudette Fortier, Chair of the CPCC Board of directors.

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