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Should There Be an iPod Tax?

Largest Performers Union in Canada Attempts It

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The largest performers union in Canada is attempting to place a tax on iPods.

A quick search of the TechDirt database reveals that one organization or another has been attempting to achieve this for awhile now.

So this is nothing new, but still worth revisiting.

The key question is what makes music special? Movies and TV shows are pirated far more than music and just as apt to be placed on an iPod.

Why should an estimated $126 million in revenue go solely to artists?

This isn’t to say that artists don’t deserve money and that iPods aren’t primarily used to play music, but it seems like in 2011 this tax is a bit dishonest.

It just gives way to inducing all kinds of taxes from other industries, hoping to get compensated for their pirated works. Yes, this tax would apply to all MP3 players and not just iPods. But it’s harder to say that iPods are "repositories for stolen music." Videogame and app developers are getting their content pirated too.

Why don’t they get money too?

Kevin Leflar, CEO of officialCommunity, who Hypebot has spoken to in the past, is from Canada, so I asked him what he thought of this tax. "A union is proposing that a government tax the sale of MP3 players and distribute the tax revenue to creators of content," Leflar replied to me in an e-mail. "What could go wrong?"

In other words, even if Canada does ever pass this and does tax consumers, nothing changes. The amount that an individual artist received would be meager at best. Sadly, as this post suggests, most of the funds would not make it into the hands of artists. It would go to collection and enforcement causes instead.

Also dishonest.

To be clear, I’m not for taxing iPods, but these seem like important questions.

If this is passed:

"All the music business problems in Canada are now solved," Leflar quipps.

Originally published on HypeBot.com

Should There Be an iPod Tax?
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  • Michael

    This is a ridiculous law for many reasons:
    Why is this tax being aimed at consumers directly? Why should the government get involved? Artists should negotiate appropriate compensation with their record companies. ASCAP and BMI collect residuals for airplay, commercial usage, live performance. Apple has worked out a deal with all of their content providers, if that isn’t trickling down to artists then it is an issue between the record companies and the artists, not the artists and the consumer.
    Now, if the argument is that consumers are illegally collecting music files to add to their iPod, that is a criminal matter and the union should be speaking with the police or whatever passes for the FBI in Canada.
    Charging me a tax when I only put legally purchased music tracks on my iPod so that it can be distributed to artists I don’t listen to or care about is foolish. If they’re not making enough money, perhaps they should get better paying jobs!

  • http://www.arcanasphere.com MrAndrewJ

    The Canadian government is now fining legitimate consumers for the crimes of others. They are, in fact, declared guilty of a crime whether they commit it or not.

    Yes, I understand it is happening on a small level. It is still wrong. It is still evil. It is still in defiance of every human rights code that calls for a trial.

    Of course, trials lead to freckle faced 9 year old girls costing their parents hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few Justin Beiber songs. That would just be bad PR.

    The pirates are wrong for stealing. The record companies are wrong for going to such extremes. The Government is wrong for this tax. This tax only punishes legitimate users for every one else’s bad decisions.