Thursday, July 28, 2005

Whistle a happy tune

Burn, hated Blank Media Levy. Burn. TORONTO (CP) - The fight over a levy on IPods and other digital music devices ended Thursday when the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear any further arguments on the matter. That means there will be no levy applied to digital audio recorders such as Apple's popular IPod and IPod Shuffle as well as other MP3 players like IRiver. "Obviously we're disappointed. We felt it was self-evident that those products are sold for the purpose of copying music," said David Basskin, of the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC), the non-profit agency which collects tariffs on behalf of musicians and record companies. The group had wanted the high court to overturn last year's Federal Court of Appeal decision which quashed the levy on the popular gadgets. The non-profit agency had been collecting the tariff - $2 for non-removable memory capacity of up to one GB, $15 for one to 10 GBs, $25 for more than 10 GB - since December 2003 through a tax built into the price of the devices. It stopped in December 2004 when the Federal Court overturned the policy at the urging of retailers and manufacturers such as Future Shop, Apple Canada and Dell Computer Corporation of Canada. Now, there's that. There's also the fact that DVD-Rs aren't covered under the levy, while prices have been falling dramatically, to the point where blank DVDs often offer a better capacity-for-value solution than CDs, especially for volume data backup. The levy, then, now only covers blank CDs, MiniDiscs, Digital Audio Tapes, analog audiocassettes, and other more-or-less dead-end or niche technologies - and has probably served in no small way to spur the rapid adoption of products not so doubly taxed. Brilliant job, CPCC!

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