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[d@DCC] Re: How the Grinch stole copyright

From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_>
To: Shane Schick <sschick (at)>
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 14:42:15 -0500 (EST)

A reply to:

  You suggest that ISP's may find themselves on the receiving end of an
unexpected tax.  The problem is that if this was a tax it wouldn't be as
bad as what SOCAN and its ilk are asking for, and have thus far received 
-- one medium at a time.

  A tax is often seen as a collection of money from one group of people
related to paying for services that these people may-or-may-not partake of
personally.  This is different than a user fee where the users and the
payment come from the same group.  In this respect the levy is like a tax
given there is no connection between the people these levies are collected
from and people who may be recording music onto an "audio recording
medium" for personal use without the permission of the copyright holder.

  Taxes are collected by governments, and in our country a democratically
elected government.  With pressure these can be fiscally accountable
governments.  In this respect this levy is nothing like a tax in that the
levy is collected by unaccountable and non-transparent private
organizations.  As citizens who may have to pay this levy we have no way
to influence how the levy is collected and who the beneficiaries are.  We
have no way to verify that the right beneficiaries are in fact receiving
what we as citizens may believe is right.

  Once the Internet is declared an "audio recording medium" it also means
that downloading music from the Internet becomes entirely legal (uploading
without permission of the copyright holder is still not legal).  The
private copying regime isn't a one-way handout to the intermediaries, and
storing music on an "audio recording medium" for private use does not
infringe copyright.

  Who becomes the largest losers in the long run if the Internet becomes
considered an "audio recording medium"?  The musicians since their
audiences would no longer have a legal incentive to pay for music, only a
moral obligation to the creator.  The creators rights are being being
infringed upon by the intermediaries.  This is already the case for blank
CD's where copying music from another source (paid for or not) onto that
CD for private use is perfectly legal.

  This truly is a case of taxation without representation.  This is
coupled with the fact that while this money is claimed to be collected for
the benefit of artists this is yet another case where the interests of the
intermediaries are counter to those of the artists.

Russell McOrmond, host of


For details see:
C-42: The Canadian Copyright Act , PART VIII PRIVATE COPYING

To see how extending this regime from music to software could decimate the 
industry, see: 
"Content industries on slippery slope with demand for blank media levy"

 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <> 
 Governance software that controls ICT, automates government policy, or
 electronically counts votes, shouldn't be bought any more than 
 politicians should be bought.  --

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