OTTAWA- The Conservative government’s decision to exempt electronic memory cards from the current private copying levy will deny Canadian artists millions of dollars in badly-needed revenue, according to New Democrats. The decision, made after lobbying from big tech companies, directly interferes with the independent Copyright Board, which was scheduled to review this case.
“This shows unbelievable arrogance,” said Pierre Nantel, the NDP Heritage critic, “The independent Copyright Board has the mandate and the expertise to impartially review these issues but instead we see Conservatives override this process at the urging of big business.”
A few months ago a coalition of businesses including, Telus, Microsoft and Panasonic, sent a letter to Industry Minister, Christian Paradis, asking him to intervene. The Conservative government announced yesterday that it would indeed intervene and would do so before the Copyright Board had even considered the matter.
“Time and time again, Conservatives side with big business and show their contempt for Canadian artists,” said Deputy Heritage Critic and musician Andrew Cash. ““Only Stephen Harper’s government would meddle in an independent ruling at the request of big business and then claim that their approach is balanced.”
Research from the Canadian Private Copying Collective shows that 5.6 million cards were sold in Canada in 2011 and on average 73 songs are copied onto each card, meaning more than 400 million songs were copied last year alone without any compensation for musicians.
“There is no doubt that this is an ideologically driven decision. The small levy, which already exists on CDs, wouldn’t be going to the government. It would be going directly to music creators, the backbone of Canadian culture,” concluded Nantel.