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Hey Songwriters Association of Canada: I DO NOT AGREE!

February 21, 2008 @ 02:11 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Music

The National Post published a story on Wednesday about a proposal by the Songwriters Association of Canada, to collect $5 every month from every Canadian Internet subscriber. In return, you would have the ability to download as many "illegal" music files as you want. Their theory is that this would make sites like iTunes unnecessary because it would be legal for people to pirate music. They’re proposing an amendment to the Canadian Copyright Act they’re calling the Right to Equitable Remuneration for Music File Sharing.

If adopted, this would allow the lobby group to collect $500 million to $900 million per year. Compared this to the music industry’s own estimates of losses due to piracy in Canada of only $118.8 million and you’ll realize they would be collecting a minimum of almost 5 times as much money as they’re losing.

We’ve been paying 21 cents/blank CD since January 1, 1999. It goes to the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) who then distributes the funds collected to the various societies that represent authors, performers and those who make sound recordings. Those societies are the Canadian Mechanical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA), the Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada (NRCC), the Société de gestion des droits des artistes-musiciens (SOGEDAM), the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC) and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). (linky)

In 2005, Micheal Geist blogged about Tariff 22 in which SOCAN seeks a 25% levy on iTunes and other music download services and 15% for webcasters. You should read his article that appeared in the Toronto Star.

SOCAN even proposed a download tax of 3.1 cents per individual track and 1.5 cents per track on a complete album that are bought online.

There are other surcharges, too, but I’m not listing them here.

I’ve gotten used to 21 cents/blank CD and it’s below my annoyance threshold. I don’t go through a huge amount of CDs, so it doesn’t really affect me. Whatever.

But, $5/month crosses the line. I buy my music legally from iTunes. I don’t use peer-to-peer programs to illegally download music. I am not a pirate.

I have two Internet accounts: one for my broadband connection on which it is feasible to download music because I have the bandwidth and a second that I use for dial-up access when I’m on the road or at the cottage, which it is not feasible to download any large files, let alone music. So, I’d pay $10/month or $120/year for doing nothing wrong.

You can view the Songwriters Association of Canada’s proposal on their website. There’s a box on the form that you can fill out and submit by clicking a button labelled "I Agree". Please do not click it! Instead, send an email to advocacy@songwriters.ca and tell them how you feel about their proposal.

2 Responses to “Hey Songwriters Association of Canada: I DO NOT AGREE!”


  1. Squid says:

    I just don’t buy or download music. I plan to fight this if it gets proposed in a serious way.

  2. Larry Robertson says:

    WE got riped off with Brian Adomes $60.00 charge for having music at a dance or wedding. I forget what they called it but it put an extra berdon on our sigles club and several others. so we dont need these ass holes trying to stick us with this $5 scam.



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