The Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) reminded everyone today they are upset about the government’s decision to exempt microSD cards from a levy for the right to copy music to the external storage medium.
It was known in early July that the Minister of Industry would put new regulations in place creating such an exemption, but the regulation went into effect yesterday with publication in the Canada Gazette. The move killed an effort by the CPCC to place a new levy on microSD cards that would be used to compensate musicians for copies of their work being stored on the media. The organization, which collects levies on the sales of blank CDs, had a scheduled hearing before the Copyright Board in October to raise the issue.
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“Not only is this an unprecendented end-run around the fair and independent Copyright Board process which was established to deal with these kinds of issues in the first place, but to hand down a regulation like this with no consultation period adds insult to injury,” the CPCC Chair Lyette Bouchard says in a statement. “By not following the well-established practice of providing stakeholders an opportunity to provide their input on proposed regulations, the government has denied creators an opportunity to participate in a decision that will have an impact on their livelihoods.”
MicroSD cards are used as external storage in many different types of devices including smartphones, cameras, tablets, and other portable technology. It’s typically used to store mp3s, but also to store other data such as photos, documents, and more.
CPCC suggested a levy of $0.50 for cards with 1 GB of memory or less, $1 for cards with between 1 GB to 8 GB of memory, and $3 for cards with 8 GB of memory or more. The current levy on CD-Rs is $0.29 per disc. Levies were previously collected on MiniDiscs and microcassette tapes, but have been abandoned after the technologies fell out of use.
While the Copyright Board was waiting to hear that request, the possibility that a retroactive levy would be collected on microSD card sales existed. That meant importers of the tiny storage cards would have to start accounting for the units brought into the country since Jan. 1 of this year. The government may have acted to save them from that task.
Still, today’s passage of the regulation “adds insult to injury” the CPCC release says.