Should There Be an iPod Tax?

    February 9, 2011

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.

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