A proposed levy on digital storage devices, known as the "iPod tax," has been quashed by the Federal Court of Appeal after opponents argued it assumed illegal behaviour on the part of Canadian consumers.
Following hearings on Jan.9, the court ruled that the Canadian Copyright Board did not have the right to impose new taxes on digital music players and storage devices. The taxes were to be introduced later this year.
The proposed levies included a $2 tax on 1 GB removable electronic memory cards, $5 tax on digital audio players no more than 1 GB and an extra $75 on digital audio players more than 30 GBs.
In its decision, the FCA stated: "The Copyright Board erred in law when it concluded that it has the legal authority to certify the tariff that CPCC (Canadian Private Copying Collective) has proposed for 2008-2009 on digital audio recorders."
Small tariffs are currently in place for such items as rewritable CDs and cassettes. The CPCC, a non-profit agency that represents the music industry, first requested a levy on removable electronic memory in its 2003-2004 tariff proposal.
The Retail Council of Canada opposed the tax, saying it created a non-competitive market environment for retailers and assumed anyone that owned a storage device was illegally copying and sharing digital files.
"On behalf of retailers and consumers, RCC welcomes this decision," Diane J. Brisebois, president of the Retail Council of Canada, said in a statement Thursday.
"This has been a very long battle, but a necessary one. Retailers have fought against these levies since their creation in 1997 because it taxes a product based on what a consumer possibly could use it for."
The Copyright Board initially concluded that there was insufficient evidence to warrant a new tax; however, the CPCC noted the growing popularity of digital memory devices is cause for concern.
"Our surveys show the vast majority of copies that people put on their iPods come from sources other than legitimately purchased copies," said David Basskin, the director of the CPCC.
According to a CPCC media release, "During the period from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006, 25 per cent of all the content copied onto electronic memory cards, including cards of all formats and capacities, was music, and 14 per cent of respondents copied only music."
1st: This would be penalizing people who actually did pay for their music. So if they were paying for their music they were putting on their players, if this went through, they would still be charged extra for buying the devicing, basically labeling them a thief regardless and charging them for something they never did.
2nd: If this did go through, it would have caused even more problems for the music industry. Not for people protesting and boycottying, but doing the total opposite of what they wanted. If I bought a new player and was chagred this tax, which I guess was supposed to be sent back to record companies, etc... then I would have already have put my money into these industries, so therefore I wouldn't have any issue to download illegal copies of music, because I technically just paid to do so. If I'm going to be taxed for something I didn't do, then I guess I might as well get my money's worth.
Now just think how many more people would find this tax a justification for downloading illegal music?