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Repeal the Levy!

Recording Industry Proposing an Increase of 181% on Blank CDs - And That's Not All

What's the issue?

You may not know it, but you're paying a levy every time you buy a blank CD (21 cents each), audio cassette (29 cents each) or MiniDisc (77 cents each).

A law passed by the Federal Government in 1997 allows the money to be collected by the recording industry. It's supposed to compensate artists and copyright holders for private copying.

Now the recording industry wants to increase the current levies by as much as 181% in the case of CD's, and apply it to more recordable media and devices such as blank DVDs, removable flash memory cards, MP3 players and Hard Drives.

What's the problem?

First, it's not fair. All our customers are being charged for this - even those who don't use these products to record music.

Second, virtually every penny of this levy money will go directly to American interests as that is where the majority of the copy writes are held. In other words, none of the levy money stays in Canada to support Canadian artists, businesses or our economy.

If the music industry gets the new levies it wants, you're going to be faced with dramatic price hikes, which will double every 18 months in direct relation to the increase in the average size of computer storage, which will make many products unaffordable.

Using information available directly from the
Copyright Board of Canada:

Currently the levy is imposed on:
  • Analog cassette tapes
  • MiniDiscs
  • CD-Rs and CD-RWs (audio and data)
  • Digital audio recorders (this includes MP3 players)

Product Levy Amount
Audio Cassette $0.29
CD-R or CD-RW $0.21
CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio, or MiniDisc 77 cents $0.77
Non-Removable Memory Permanently Embedded in a Digital Audio Recorder - No more than 1GB $2.00
Non-Removable Memory Permanently Embedded in a Digital Audio Recorder - More than  1GB, No more than 10GB $15.00
Non-Removable Memory Permanently Embedded in a Digital Audio Recorder - More than 10GB $25.00

Where do the Levies Go?

The levies are collected by the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC), which is responsible for distributing the money to organizations representing record companies, producers, and others who own the rights to copyrighted material. Since the regime was established in December 1999, the CPCC has collected over $87 million in levies. According to the CPCC's website, however, copyright holders have only received $26 million to date.

Why hasn't the balance of $61 million be distribute to the intended copy write holders?  That is the $61 million question that no one seems to have an answer for.

What are the problems with the Levy System?

In addition to costing businesses and consumers millions of dollars each year, the system is fundamentally flawed and outdated.
  • It is indiscriminate and unfair-all Canadians who purchase blank audio recording media must pay the levy even if they are not recording copyrighted music.
  • It is inefficient and non-transparent, leaving questions about how much of the money collected goes toward its administration, rather than to rights holders.
  • The private copying provisions in existing legislation under the Copyright Act are so broad that products, which serve many purposes other than recording copyrighted music, have levies applied to them.

What's the solution?

Alternatives exist. New technologies and distribution models are being developed that work for consumers, while providing fair compensation to copyright holders.

You can help!

Tell the government it should repeal changes to the Copyright Act that allowed the recording industry to impose these additional charges.

Contact the following:

Liza Frulla, Minister of Heritage -
David Emerson, Minister of Industry -

thumbprints Multimedia Inc. is a supporter of the Canadian Coalition for Fair Digital Access. For the latest news and information:

(Information supplied in whole or in part from the CCFDA website)


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