Q: What is a private copy levy?
A: The private copy levy is a hidden charge that is imposed
on blank recording media. Currently the charge raises the price
of data CDs by 21 cents and raises the price of audio CD-Rs
and CD-RWs by 77 cents.
Q: Who pays these levies?
A: Importers and manufacturers of blank recording media are
required to pay the levies on blank recording media sold in
Canada. These costs are passed on directly at the cash register
to Canadian consumers and businesses buying these products.
Q: What types of blank recording media are currently subject
to the copyright levy?
A: Currently the levy is imposed on:
• Analog cassette tapes
• CD-Rs and CD-RWs (audio and data)
• Digital audio recorders (this includes MP3 players)
Q: Who do we contact to ask that the levy be repealed?
A. CCFDA members believe that the legislation itself is fundamentally
flawed and that efforts need to be directed at repealing the
existing law. Accordingly, we encourage all those concerned
to send comments directly sent directly to their Members of
Parliament or to the Chair of the Standing Committee on Canadian
Heritage in the House of Commons. Concerned individuals may
also wish to write or email Ministers responsible for the Copyright Act (the HON. David Emerson, Minister of Industry and the HON. Liza Frulla, Minister of Canadian Heritage) and their
officials. The Copyright Board cannot repeal the legislation.
was asked by the Minister of Industry to review the private copying
provisions of the Copyright Act to determine whether there might be
adverse effects on stakeholders arising from the application of the
regime in a digital environment. This was referred, by the Speaker of
the House of Commons, to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage,
which launched its review on September 23, 2003. This review was
completed at the end of the last Parliament and will be re-examined in
the fall of 2004. Opponents of the regime should make their views known
to their Member of Parliament as well as to the Chair of the Standing
Committee for Canadian Heritage in the House of Commons.
Q: How many CD’s sold every year are actually used
for home recording?
A: Even according to music industry estimates, less than half
(44 million) of the nearly 100 million blank CD’s sold each
year, are likely to be used for home recording. This means,
even if one accepts the music industry estimates as valid,
that millions of dollars each year are taken from consumers
and businesses who are not even using CD’s to copy music.
Q: Who decides what the levies will be applied to, and
how much they will cost consumers?
A: The Canadian Copyright Board, an independent federal tribunal,
in response to an application by the Canadian Private Copying
Collective, which represents the music industry and organizations
such as SOCAN (Society of Composers Authors and Music Publishers
of Canada). The government cannot adjust the rates, since the
responsibility rests on the Copyright Board. The government can
however, repeal the legislation.
Q: Where do the levies go?
A: The levies are collected by the Canadian Private Copying Collective
(CPCC), which is responsible for distributing the money to organizations
representing record companies, producers, and others who own the
rights to copyrighted material. Since the regime was established
in December 1999, the CPCC has collected over $87 million in levies.
According to the CPCC's website, however, copyright holders have only received $26 million to date.
Q: What are the problems with the levy system?
A: In addition to costing businesses and consumers millions
of dollars each year, the system is fundamentally flawed and
• It is indiscriminate and unfair-all Canadians who purchase
blank audio recording media must pay the levy even if they are
not recording copyrighted music.
• It is inefficient and non-transparent, leaving questions
about how much of the money collected goes toward its administration,
rather than to rights holders.
• The private copying provisions in existing legislation
under the Copyright Act are so broad that products, which serve
many purposes other than recording copyrighted music, have levies
applied to them.
Q: What are the solutions?
A: Alternatives to the levy system exist. There are new technologies
and distribution models already available that can provide
music creators with the means to protect their own content
while ensuring fair compensation. The levy regime acts as
a crutch. As long as it remains unchanged, there will be no
incentive for the music industry to adapt to the realities
of the digital age. Members of our coalition are ready to
work together with the music industry and government in order
to seek new approaches that work for consumers, while, at
the same time, providing fair compensation to copyright holders.