Canada bringing copyright levy back?

Back in the early days of the copyfight in the late 90’s and early part of the 21st century, Canada neatly avoided most of the legal entanglements and PR disasters the RIAA engaged in south of the border by assigning a levy to CDs. The higher price on music and movies rankled, but Canadians could then backup their files and trade them via the internet secure in the knowledge that the levy they paid actually went to artists, songwriters, and other creatives.

But now the Canadian Private Copying Collective, a non-profit established to collect and distribute the levy (to the tune of $160 million thus far) wants changes, pointing to the decrease in physical CD purchases as compared to buying music online. The only solution, they claim, is to assign a new levy to hardware like Apple’s iPod.

Given the first attempt at slipping a copyright bill past the Canadian public without consultation, and the subsequent rumblings of a federal election sooner rather than later, I wouldn’t be surprised if this latest attempt to re-align Canadian copyright law falls flat. ANd while on the one hand that’ll gives consumer some breathing room before the inevitable next push for tighter controls, it’ll also give American organizations like the International Intellectual Property Alliance more ammo to call Canada a hotbed of piracy.