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View Full Version : Every personal copy of Ubuntu gives the recording industry 29 cents



Mr. Picklesworth
January 1st, 2009, 10:33 PM
Most Canadians should know about the CPCC (http://cpcc.ca)'s levy on recording media (in Canada. Sorry, bad thread title. I should go into sensationalist journalism). It is always difficult to argue exactly what is immoral about this, since it could be compared to the idea that everyone chips in a bit to help out instead of a small group of people being charged ridiculous amounts of money. Makes sense for health care, since everyone benefits from that; indeed, we all have bodies. (Although I wonder if that will hold true if those other intelligent primates start being welcomed into society with different medical needs). Similarly, everyone likes processed music, right?
It can also be argued that the 29 cent levy is actually charged to the distributor, not the consumer.

Thus, the matter is somewhat ignored.

However, I realized recently that over the last year I have used over 200 CD-Rs. None of those disks have held music. Each and every one of those disks was bought in Canada and I am aware that 29 cents of what I paid for each disk went to the CPCC. This means I have unwillingly donated $58 to the proprietary, DRM-loving end of the music industry by distributing free software on a standard, universal distribution media.

So I wrote the CPCC this nice little letter in the hope that they'll help me out:


My apologies if this query has been answered somewhere. I tried a few web searches, and I poked around cpcc.ca, but I could not find an answer.

I am a supporter of the free software movement, and as a result I often burn free software to CD-Rs. For example, I burn installers for the Fedora or Ubuntu Linux distributions and hand them out to other people. Feel free to check out those projects to be sure that this use of the content in question is in fact encouraged by its copyright holders, and infringes on nobody's wishes. Free software is a sign of the time. We have developed technology to the point that rich content and functionality can be duplicated and transmitted at very little cost, which rules out the need for a lot of existing infrastructure and can make our society more environmentally friendly. I believe that our music industry needs to adapt to how today's technology works. I do not want to encourage their troublesome attempts to hold back that innovation and cripple its capabilities.

The levy being collected by your organization, in its current incarnation, is going completely against my wishes. With 29 cents for every recordable CD I buy, this levy is encouraging the private recording industry to do exactly what I do not want them to do. They are profiting on physical media, unnecessarily long chains of distribution and on centralization. I have purchased over 200 CD-Rs in recent memory, and I have used absolutely none of them for music content. This means that your organization has directed my $58 to the wrong group! In fact, it goes to the same kind of organization which is encouraging other legislation that may cripple the growth of free software, for example by limiting peer to peer protocols such as BitTorrent.
In short, the current situation is not fair because people such as myself rely on CD-Rs as universal recordable media.

Is there an avenue by which the CPCC can direct my money to the appropriate organizations instead of arbitrarily sending it to ones which I am opposed to? For example, I would appreciate if groups like the Linux Foundation, the GNOME project or the Canonical Foundation were sent a portion of that money. It could be argued that this is slightly out of scope since my duplicating Ubuntu Linux is in fact expressly encouraged, but on that same thought I am using the disk (and its 29 cent levy) to Not duplicate copyrighted music, which is also expressly encouraged. The money has to go somewhere, and the former feels a tad more acceptable.

Otherwise, I would love to know why this cannot happen so that I can discuss this matter with the appropriate group.


Thank you in advance,
(and happy holidays!)

Maybe I should send them all my coasters and ask for a refund, too.

sydbat
January 1st, 2009, 11:37 PM
That is awesome! I laughed so hard, I had to change my underwear...

Let us know if you get a response and if I can send my coasters for a refund too!

phrostbyte
January 2nd, 2009, 12:45 AM
I don't know if you are being sarcastic, but I agree with you letter. It's a bit obnoxious to assume all CDs are being used to copy music.

I'm curious on how these funds get distributed too.

toupeiro
January 2nd, 2009, 01:02 AM
Well said!

oldsoundguy
January 2nd, 2009, 01:13 AM
RIAA/MPAA must have some serious pull in Canada! (or this is a bogus story!) ... I just bought Imation CD/r's for a dime each in a 100 spindle and Imation single layer DVD/r's for 20 cents each on a 50 spindle at Office Depot. (sale ended in December).
You can get them for more on eBay but for less than 39 cents each including shipping if you shop judiciously!

I-75
January 2nd, 2009, 01:55 AM
RIAA/MPAA must have some serious pull in Canada! (or this is a bogus story!) ... I just bought Imation CD/r's for a dime each in a 100 spindle and Imation single layer DVD/r's for 20 cents each on a 50 spindle at Office Depot. (sale ended in December).
You can get them for more on eBay but for less than 39 cents each including shipping if you shop judiciously!


I don't think the RIAA/MPAA has any jurisdiction in Canada...

tact
January 2nd, 2009, 02:10 AM
I don't know if you are being sarcastic, but I agree with you letter. It's a bit obnoxious to assume all CDs are being used to copy music.


I have bought hundreds or thousands of recordable DVD/CD's and at most used maybe 2 to store music (ripping tunes from legally bought cds to MP3 then burning the MP3's back to CD so that I can carry several hundreds of songs on just a couple CDs... good for long distance road trips... no need to carry dozens of original CD albums).

Fortunately I don't live in Canada so don't face that tax.

I would think the majority of people these days keep their music stored on HDD etc... rarely burn back to CD. So having a music industry "tax" on every blank CD is nuts.

Cheers

cariboo
January 2nd, 2009, 02:18 AM
The reason for the levy is why it is still legal to download music and burn it to a cd for personal use here in Canada. If I need cd-r's I usually wait until the are on sale at Staples, the usual sale price is about $15.00CDN for a 100 disk spindle.

Jim

phrostbyte
January 2nd, 2009, 02:20 AM
I think DVD-R don't actually have a tax. So are DVD-R cheaper in Canada then CD-R? You know you easily burn Ubuntu onto a DVD-R.

sydbat
January 2nd, 2009, 02:22 AM
The reason for the levy is why it is still legal to download music and burn it to a cd for personal use here in Canada. If I need cd-r's I usually wait until the are on sale at Staples, the usual sale price is about $15.00CDN for a 100 disk spindle.

Jim$15!! That is slightly higher than the $6-8 I pay at Memory Express.

And you are correct...this is why it is legal to download/share music in Canada (as upheld by the Supreme Court). I am so glad we live in a free/non-repressive country.

MikeTheC
January 2nd, 2009, 02:23 AM
So... Don't you Canadians love being treated as presumptive thieves? Personally (apart from the cost) I would seriously have a problem with this.

Pity you can't all just come over here (the U.S.) everytime you need blank discs...

sydbat
January 2nd, 2009, 02:38 AM
So... Don't you Canadians love being treated as presumptive thieves? Personally (apart from the cost) I would seriously have a problem with this.

Pity you can't all just come over here (the U.S.) everytime you need blank discs...But it is more than blank discs. The 'tax' is designed as compensation for sharing music, not as punishment for "stealing"...therefore, your statement is erroneous. Besides, our laws do not contravene our constitution as the DRM stuff does in the US (which is why no one ever makes it to court, otherwise it would be found the Digital Millennium Act is unconstitutional...and every 'law' associated with it).

And it does bother the rest of us (the other 6 billion people on the planet that is) when US "law" is forced onto us by proxy...which is why the European Union keeps taking American monopolies to court. Good for them.

But this is not a place for political discussion...that's what OMGPP was for...and it is no longer around.

Sef
January 2nd, 2009, 02:46 AM
But this is not a place for political discussion

Under 1 condition politics can be discussed. From The Community Cafe forum:


Discussions on religion and politics are not allowed, except for politics directly related to free and open source issues.

Since this is not directly related to free and open source issues. I am closing this thread.

matthew
January 3rd, 2009, 07:25 PM
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=6486806#post6486806

Copernicus1234
January 3rd, 2009, 07:27 PM
I don't know if you are being sarcastic, but I agree with you letter. It's a bit obnoxious to assume all CDs are being used to copy music.


They dont, but they use it as an excuse to make more money because thats all they care about. Its like when they calculate the "cost of piracy" as the combined sales sum of all the software downloaded. They know not everybody would buy the software if they couldnt download it.

But its a excellent way to get headlines.

cariboo
January 3rd, 2009, 11:21 PM
Thats what happens when you live in a small town with a population of <15,000. We have a Wally World being constructed right now, so we will see if that has an affect on blank cd prices.

BTW the levy includes all recordable media, there even was a levy on vhs tapes.

Jim

Dr. C
January 4th, 2009, 04:51 AM
The levy applies as follows:

Audio cassettes of 40 minutes or more in length 24
CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio and MiniDisc 29

from: http://cpcc.ca/english/currentTariff.htm

It does not apply for example to DVDs, flash media, hard drives or floppies.

So if one wishes to distribute FLOSS in Canada and avoid the levy there is:

For files under 1.44 MB the Floppy and for files
Over 1.44 MB and up to 4.7 GB (namely an UBUNTU .iso for example) the DVD.
This is addition to USB drives, FTP servers, HTTP servers, flash memory, Bit Torrent etc.

So in reality the CD is really not that great a loss for data transfer or the distribution and installation of FLOSS. I say let the CIRA keep the levy on CD's (fast becoming obsolete) and cassette tapes (already obsolete) and in exchange consumers get section VIII of the Copyright Act

http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdoc/cs/C-42/bo-ga:l_VIII//en#anchorbo-ga:l_VIII

My suggestion is read it carefully and who really wins here consumers or the CIRA?

Mr. Picklesworth
January 4th, 2009, 06:41 AM
Thanks for saving my thread. Hope I'm not about to kill it myself; Mathew is right that it risks some major derailment.

I think it's treading on thin ice to consider this a fair trade between consumers and the music industry. Permission to duplicate copyrighted content for personal use could be argued anyway, and has been. (Heck, I recall a Canadian judge ruled that copying a music CD is no different from using a photocopier in a library).
Furthermore, while we are "allowed" to do that in Canada, we aren't exactly helped to. We as consumers can still be locked out of doing so by other trade agreements and by nasty digital restrictions management - especially that leaking in from the USA.

Am I the only one who finds it frightening that people are willing to overlook the Major Issue because they toss a few goodies our way? I could give a million examples from history where this sort of thing has happened. Granted, the more pertinent examples are actually important things (eg: life and death), but this is still not right.

It isn't about the music part, though. Frankly, I hardly care about that. (Some of my favourite music is the Myst soundtrack). The problem is that this deal is directly detrimental to free software in particular, since groups like the music industry (even in Canada) are doing everything in their power to make peer to peer difficult. Free software relies on tiny groups (peers, essentially) making small contributions. Tech like BitTorrent is really important.

It doesn't matter what they throw us as long as something else hurts. I chose not to support the music industry; voting with my wallet. The levy went up. I know I'm not the center of the universe, but that seems unfair. It is unfair because the levy is not based on anything factual. A few corporate goons sat down, said "hey, our sales have dropped!", blamed piracy, pulled some numbers out of thin air and convinced the powers that be that they need free money. The fact is they can't ever possibly determine how many pirated copies of their content there are, or whether recordable CDs sold in Canada are even used for such things. They can guess, but a guess is not good enough.
They want consumers to foot the bill, and as a result whenever I burn a copy of Ubuntu (which explicitly says it is to be burned to a CD) I give those guys a music sale in pure profit. It's an odd connection, but it is a connection regardless. Personal Ubuntu distribution generates CD sales, CD sales generate CPCC copying levies, CPCC copying levies give away money for extra lobbying against the philosophy that makes free software possible.

The "free market" is all about competition. One very simple thing with competition is allowing consumers choice. A monopoly is bad. (Microsoft, anyone? --Grasping at straws to keep this on topic). By the Copyright Act (and the CPCC) having their huge conflict of interest - a complete obsession with music as if it is the only form of content with eligible authors and performers - an end of the music industry presently has what could almost be called a monopoly. It isn't a real monopoly since a 0.01 cent free software levy could happily be implemented with enough lobbyists, but right now a universally used recording media has an arbitrary levy going to a single gatekeeper, and it doesn't matter which CD is used. An extra levy would really annoy people, and would still have the end result that the music industry gets free money to keep them afloat. It's like when the government bails out Air Canada every year, but without the "we really need this service please don't make it worse" part. That, and I don't think they realize it's a bailout.

And that is my opinion on CD levies, demystified with extra napalm.

MaxIBoy
January 4th, 2009, 06:52 AM
So in reality the CD is really not that great a loss for data transfer or the distribution and installation of FLOSS. I say let the CIRA keep the levy on CD's (fast becoming obsolete) (My emphasis.)

Too true. The current strategy of the music industry goes like this:

Rely as much as possible on easily controlled, but unpopular and obsolete media such as CDs.
When people ask for alternatives, don't budge. Instead, charge outrageous prices for downloadable files that never really belong to your customers ($1 US for a single DRM-locked MP3 on iTunes.)
Hit up the public at large for cash when this business plan fails.


Physically controlled content is already obsolete as of at least ten years ago, in my opinion. There are many other ways of making money these days. Advertisement-supported content, for example.

I could forsee a business model which could really pay off, given the startup capital, where customers pay only the raw costs (i.e. they pay for however much of the company's bandwidth they use,) only the money gets invested before it reaches the company, and the company makes a profit after the ISP takes a cut. Heck, with ads for bandwidth, this could be an entirely free service, and it would still turn a profit!

(I want in on this.)

bfc
January 4th, 2009, 07:05 AM
I can purchase 50 CD-R's in Calgary for 12.99 which is 26 cent per CD... I don't think the recording industry is getting 29 cents per CD.

I think you are confusing designated data cdr's with cdr's designated for music (no physical difference)

Mr. Picklesworth
January 4th, 2009, 08:26 AM
I can purchase 50 CD-R's in Calgary for 12.99 which is 26 cent per CD... I don't think the recording industry is getting 29 cents per CD.

I think you are confusing designated data cdr's with cdr's designated for music (no physical difference)

It's worth noting that the levy was very recently 21 cents per disk. It is charged to importers and manufacturers, so retailers can sell the disks below the levy if they feel like losing money for some reason. (They're a bit odd that way). Others choose to expose the fee as an additional charge on top of the product, sometimes advertising the price before the levy with only a small note to indicate. That is somewhat of a misrepresentation.

Bungo Pony
January 4th, 2009, 12:43 PM
I knew that the recording industry were making money off blank media here in Canada, but I don't think it's a set price. I figured it was a percentage which would make sense given all the cheap no-name blank CD-Rs that are out there.

I remember a couple years back, Wal-Mart had signs up all over the place informing shoppers about the recording industry making money off blank media. While I somewhat understand it's purpose when it comes to audio cassettes, CDs are used for more than audio.

Perhaps we get more bang for our buck when we burn CDs with 100+ MP3s :D

andamaru
January 4th, 2009, 03:10 PM
I guess I'll just burn my copy of ubuntu on a DVDR (unless they tax those too) :(

Dr. C
January 4th, 2009, 07:06 PM
I guess I'll just burn my copy of ubuntu on a DVDR (unless they tax those too) :(

If one is going to install Ubuntu on an computer that can read DVDs there is a real advantage to burn the .iso to a DVD over a CD. The install is way faster and so is the performance of the live session. This comes down to the different data transfer rate of a DVD and CD using the same drive. A 16x DVD has a maximum data transfer rate of 21600 KB/sec vs 7200 KB/sec for a 48x CD. That is a threefold improvement in performance. My experience installing and running the live session with Ubuntu 8.10 64bit after burning the .iso to a DVD using Ubuntu 8.04 was just that, an amazing improvement in performance.

As for price I have seen 75 DVD-R for under $15 way below any CD prices. DVD's have been lower in price than CD's in Canada for a while now because of the levy and this price difference will become more pronounced now that the levy has been increased to $0.29.

andamaru
January 5th, 2009, 04:11 AM
As for price I have seen 75 DVD-R for under $15 way below any CD prices. DVD's have been lower in price than CD's in Canada for a while now because of the levy and this price difference will become more pronounced now that the levy has been increased to $0.29.

I haven't seen any CD that cost less than a DVD, so I been burning them on dvd for awhile now. I didn't know I get faster read speed, thanks for the info, I learned something today :)

happysmileman
January 5th, 2009, 06:05 AM
For people posting the justification, saying that the levy is ok because it allows Canadians to share music doesn't make much sense, because there are many people sharing music without CDs, and not paying the levy, and there are many people buying CDs and not sharing music (like OP), who are basically being forced to pay for something they never use.

This is where an appropriate analogy would go, but I know that people would respond just to point out holes in it and argue over trivial details

sharon.gmc
January 5th, 2009, 07:08 AM
I'm grateful for the copying. It saves me a lot of money.

handy
January 5th, 2009, 07:09 AM
Many years ago, (in the 1980's I think?) here in Oz, when people used to make recordings of records to play in the car cassette players, there was a levy placed on all blank audio cassette tapes, these funds were somehow directed to the music industry.