Canada OK’s P2P Music Downloads

The Copyright Board of Canada has decided that the downloading of music for personal user from peer-to-peer networks is legal, but uploading files to them is not. Canada’s copyright law allow making a copy for personal use and does not address the source of that copy or whether the original has to be an authorised or non-infringing version.

Clearly the recording industry does not like or agree with the opinion. Richard Pfohl, general counsel for the Canadian Recording Industry Association said, “This is the opinion of the Copyright Board, but Canadian courts will decide this issue.”

Currently Canadians, and a number of other countries, pay a levy on recordable media; audio tapes (29¢C, ~$0.22, ~€0.18, ~£0.13), MiniDisc (77¢C, ~$0.59, ~€0.48, ~£0.34) and blank data (21¢C, ~$0.16, ~€0.13, ~£0.09) and audio CDs (77¢C, ~$0.59, ~€0.48, ~£0.34). Non-removable memory permanently embedded in MP3 players have now been added to this list, with C$2 (~$1.52, ~€1.24, ~£0.87) up to 1Gb of data, C$15 (~$11.41, ~€9.27, ~£6.54) for between 1Gb – 10Gb and C$25 (~$19.02, ~€15.45, ~£10.89) above 10Gb.

Interestingly, Digital Audio Tape (DAT), micro-cassettes, rewritable DVDs, removable memory cards (such as SmartMedia, CompactFlash and Secure Digital Memory cards) and removable micro hard drives are not currently covered.

The levies will be collected from the manufacturers and distributed to music companies and rights holders via the Canadian Private Copying Collective, a non-profit agency. It is expected that the levies will be passed on to the consumer.

Copyright Board’s Private Copying 2003-2004 Decision

Canadian Private Copying Collective