We’re Not the Bad Guys! Really! We’re Not!

More fun stuff about the Celine Dion Subsidy Act, a.k.a. the Blank Media Levy (it’s not a tax). Only now I have a new target:

The Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC)

Or, if you prefer, le Société Canadienne de Perception de la Copie Privée (SCPCP)

(I’d like to start off by thanking the so-called artists’ collectives for being kind enough to provide me with one easy target.)

As often happens when you’re dealing with governments and organizations that don’t want you to know what they REALLY do, we’ve thrown another acronym into the alphabet soup of organizations involved in this cluster-fuck known as the Blank Media Levy (it’s not a tax).

In case you haven’t been keeping up, I’ll cover them all here. I’ve already mentioned SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada), CMRRA (Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency), CIRPA (The Canadian Independent Record Production Association) and of course the DCH (Department of Canadian Heritage). Now add the Department of Industry Canada (DIC, they’re responsible for the administration of the Copyright Act, which the Blank Media Levy (it’s not a tax) is part of), Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada (NRCC), Société du droit de reproduction des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs au Canada (SODRAC) and Société de gestion des droits des artistes-musiciens (SOGEDAM). And of course, let’s not forget HCR (tu), the Home Copying Regime (that’s us), and BML (inat), the Blank Media Levy (it’s not a tax), itself.

That’s CPCC/SCPCP, SOCAN, CMRRA, CIRPA, DCH, DIC, NRCC, SODRAC, SOGEDAM and, of course, HCR (tu) and BML (inat). Lost yet? That’s the point.

The Canadian Private Copying Collective/Société Canadienne de Perception de la Copie Privée (CPCC/SCPCP) is the organization, created by SOCAN, CMRRA, NRCC, SODRAC and SOGEDAM, that will distribute the proceeds of the Blank Media Levy (it’s not a tax) collected from the Home Copying Regime (that’s us) to their members, likely on the basis of how many units they move (that means Celine Dion will probably get more than, say, Barenaked Ladies).

CPCC/SCPCP, having noticed that public support isn’t exactly behind them (neither are the artists they supposedly represent, but that’s another Rant altogether) have done a little back-peddling and are grabbing for the white hats of the good guys.

Being the nice guys they are, CPCC/SCPCP has decided to delay collection of the levy until the Copyright Board (who are responsible for setting the amount of the levy) decides how much the levy’s going to be, or 31 December 1999, whichever hits first.

Basically what this means is they’re not going to try to collect the levy retroactive to 1 January 1999, like the law says they can. They’re giving up millions and millions of dollars, they say. Aren’t they nice?

Now, let’s translate this into something you and I can relate to: they knew they didn’t have a hope in hell of collecting the “back-levy” (ask a lawyer), so they’ve turned it into a “we’re the good guys” campaign.

Hey, assholes! If you really wanted to impress me, you would have announced this BEFORE the retail stores upped their prices to cover the proposed levy amounts which hadn’t been set yet! You think the stores are gonna drop their prices now that they’ve had the perfect excuse to raise them? Not a chance! Don’t believe me? Check out your local gas station next time oil prices drop…

P.S.: I can admit when I’m wrong, too. As it’s currently written, the Blank Media Levy (it’s not a tax) only applies to “blank audio recording media which are ‘ordinarily used by individual consumers’ for private copying when these media are sold in Canada”. So, for now, the Levy doesn’t apply to computer memory or hard drives, as I had previously implied. How long it remains that way, of course, is another matter. (The irony that Canadian organizations will get money for tapes used to duplicate American artists isn’t lost on me either. Evidently, Heritage Canada has their heads so far up their collective asses that they think Canadians only copy CanCon.)

P.P.S.: Don’t believe CPCC/SCPCP and it’s members when they start crying poor as justification for the Levy. The Canadian recording industry had $1.2 billion in revenue last year. That’s about $40 for every person alive in Canada. Does that sound like an ailing industry to you?

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