The money will go to copyright holders, but paying the levy confers no
additional rights to you. Where I come from, that’s called a rip-off.
Here’s the article (quoted in its entirety, thanks to BoingBoing’s Creative Commons Licence):
on this last week. Heritage Canada is now recommending an Internet
“levy” that will go to a collecting society, on a grounds that
everything on the Internet is copyrighted by someone, and the
collecting society will gather money for them in exchange for your use
of their material.
The problem here isn’t really the levy — blanket license fees,
including levies, are actually not a bad way of solving some copyright
problems — but what you get in exchange for it. The levy here would
cover all Internet users, including institutions that have the right to
re-use work without permission or payment (like schools and libraries),
and it won’t confer any substantial rights upon you.
That means that even if you pay the levy for the use of copyrighted
works on the Internet, you won’t get the right to share music, or
download movies, or use screenshots in your PowerPoint presentation.
When a radio station pays a blanket license fee, it gets the right to
play all the music ever recorded. When you pay your levy, you’ll get
virtually no rights at all — except the right to get your ass sued off
if someone decides that you’re being naughty.
The standing committee on Canadian Heritage, which presented
this recommendation along with several other potentially disastrous
ideas, heard lots of learned, substantive testimony on why this is bad
for Canada. It roundly ignored it all. The report that Heritage
delivered is a one-sided smear against the Internet and a naked grab
for a few giant copyright holders at the expense of new entrants to the
market and the general public. The people responsible for this should
be removed from their duties — it’s inexcusable.
If Canada is going to extract a levy from Canadians, then
Canadians should get soemthing in return: unlimited access to
noncommercial, educational, and archival use of copyrighted works on
the Internet. A levy without something in return is just an exercise in
picking your pocket — and you shouldn’t stand for it. Sign the petition today.
The best answer to copyright reform has always been to maintain
balance, the lawyers say. Society wants to maintain creative
incentives, so laws are passed to protect creators; but society must
also have access to those works to share in their knowledge.
“The danger of WIPO is that it threatens that balance,” Mr. Geist said, “and replaces social rights with absolute rights.”
There’s also the potential for the recommendations to have a direct economic impact.
“The committee ignored solid evidence that the levy on blank CDs
[meant to compensate artists for pirated content] would double as a
result of the national treatment requirements of the WIPO treaties,”
Mr. Knopf said. “This could quickly cost Canadians more than
“We could end up with the worst of all dystopian worlds,” he
added. “You could pay the levy on a CD and get sued anyway” over the