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Save the Levy!

Decenber 22, 2009 – Canada’s private copying levy puts money directly into the pockets of Canadian creators. But as it currently stands, the levy only applies to outdated technologies and unless the government changes Canadian copyright law, the levy will soon become obsolete and the money will stop flowing.

Right now the levy applies to cassettes and CD-Rs. Most agree that cassettes are finished as a way to copy music and CD-Rs are quickly heading the same way. Consumers have moved on to ‘digital audio recorders’ (DARs), such as iPods and other MP3 players to copy music. But unfortunately the levy doesn’t apply to DARs. YET.

When we buy a CD we should be able to play it on our computer and iPod and know artists are being compensated. It’s clear the private copying levy needs to be updated so creators are fairly compensated.

Help us make sure Canada’s private copying levy keeps putting money directly into the pockets of Canadian creators. Visit and click on the “Take Action” button at the top of the page to send a letter directly to your MP, along with copies to the Ministers of Industry and Canadian Heritage (the departments responsible for Canada’s Copyright Act).

Wondering what your letter should say?

While you can send our form letter, let’s face it politicians pay more attention to letters that have a personal story, so please take the time to personalize your response. Your letter need not be any longer than one page and it will automatically be addressed for you.

Here are some points your letter could include. Please use your own words:

  • the private copying levy is important to you as creator;
  • the levy is a fair compromise: it legalizes private copies and provides compensation to rights holders for the use of their work;
  • a brief story on how the levy has made a difference for you would be very valuable.

Want more background on Canada’s private copying levy?

The Canadian Private Copyright Collective (CPCC) was established to collect and distribute the private copying levy, which to date has put over $170 million in creators’ pockets.

For the past ten years the CPCC has gone before the Copyright Board of Canada to establish the rate of the levy. Today, the CPCC collects $0.29 on CD-Rs and $0.24 on blank audio cassettes over 40 minutes. The amount of the levy is based to a great extent on what people actually do with the blank media they purchase.

The Government of Canada has announced that new copyright legislation will be introduced early in 2010. Since copyright legislation is dealt with so infrequently, it is imperative that the issue of the private copying levy and DARs be addressed as part of this Bill. ACTRA, along with the CPCC, has been working hard to keep this issue alive and front-and-centre. But we need YOUR help!

The CPCC has tried to establish a levy on DARs for some time, and in fact on two occasions, the Copyright Board of Canada has agreed that the levy should apply to DARs, but those decisions were overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal due to semantics. The only way to change this situation is for Members of Parliament to amend the Copyright Act to establish that the levy should apply to DARs.

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