Canada Scraps Game and Music Download Royalties

Canada Scraps Game and Music Download Royalties

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The Canadian Supreme Court deems the internet to be "a technological taxi".

For the past year, Canada has been in the long-overdue process of dusting off and amending its out-of-date copyright laws. While the process has never quite generated the same kind of fervor that SOPA and PIPA did (the feelings of Canadians could be summed up as ambivalent at best) these laws have huge implications for copyright holders, customers, and even researchers. Last month, the Conservative majority put their best foot forward by finally passing a comprehensive amendment to the Copyright Act, and now the Supreme Court of Canada has joined in with a series of rulings, or more specifically overturnings, of multiple digital rights cases.

Before we continue, a bit of background. In Canada, internet service providers like Bell or Rogers traditionally pay royalty fees to copyright holders like the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers (or SOCAN) to download or stream licensed content. The Supreme Court reviewed several appeals by service providers and the Entertainment Software Association regarding additional royalty fees approved by the Copyright Board of Canada. These royalties would be applied on top of pre-agreed tariffs to copy materials; in short, there is one fee to copy digital purchases and another to actually download them. These music royalties also apply to videogame downloads, since games use licensed material from SOCAN members.

Of the five appeals, the Supreme Court completely overturned three rulings, scrapping download fees for games, music, and music previews. Download fees will still apply to music streaming since it does not leave a "permanent copy" on the hard drive, making the download comparable to a radio transmission. Finally, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling requiring tariffs for teachers and researchers to photocopy portions of textbooks for non-personal use, but sent the case back to the Copyright Board of Canada for additional review.

What's interesting about the Supreme Court rulings is that the judges made consumer-friendly decisions without drastically rethinking traditional legislation. According to the judges, a digital purchase is an identical purchase to an item from a retail store and must follow the exact same copyright rules of physical media. "The Internet should be seen as a technological taxi that delivers a durable copy of the same work to the end user," reads one of the rulings. "There is no practical difference between buying a durable copy of the work in a store, receiving a copy in the mail, or downloading an identical copy using the Internet."

As significant as these decisions may appear, Canadians shouldn't consider them set in stone. After all, the recent copyright amendment may actually have a provision that invalidates many of these arguments, so legal scholars will examine the rulings and the amendment very closely in the coming weeks to see what is needed next.

At the very least, we have the image of "the internet as a technological taxi." It sure beats the hell out of a series of tubes.

Source: CBC via Ars Technica
Image: TinEye

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Fanghawk:

What's interesting about the Supreme Court rulings is that the judges made consumer-friendly decisions without drastically rethinking traditional legislation. According to the judges, a digital purchase is an identical purchase to an item from a retail store and must follow the exact same copyright rules of physical media. "The Internet should be seen as a technological taxi that delivers a durable copy of the same work to the end user," reads one of the rulings. "There is no practical difference between buying a durable copy of the work in a store, receiving a copy in the mail, or downloading an identical copy using the Internet."

Finally someone in a position of authority who isn't a technically-illiterate cretin who licks the boots of corporations. Hey Canada, can we borrow this dude from you for a few months? We could do with large swathes of the Digital Economy Act being overturned, ta :P

How powerful is the Canadian Supreme Court? The sending the case of to the Copyright Board of Canada sounds like they aren't the very top of the mountain, like they are in the US.

Not G. Ivingname:
How powerful is the Canadian Supreme Court? The sending the case of to the Copyright Board of Canada sounds like they aren't the very top of the mountain, like they are in the US.

They sent the case BACK to the copyright court, as in they kicked it back down a level. They overturned the ruling and sent it back so the copyright court can come up with a better one.

Like saying we don't know the right answer, but this one is wrong.

I hope these overturns stick. The "download tax" is a crock of shit. If it gets through I hope we'll all gather for a demonstration on Parliament Hill. Mainly because, if ISPs have to pay more to distribute this crap, guess who ends up footing the bill? Because I sure as hell have never seen Bell or Rogers randomly raise prices before. At one point with Bell I had a granfathered in internet contract with unlimited downloads; they wanted me to pay $100 a month for it; that's $1200 a year for internet.

Eat a dick you swindling, gouging, conniving fucks. I hope both companies collapse and take this corrupt, corporate guided Harperland government with them. I would rather see this country plunged into anarchy than see it become what the Tories want.

Magichead:
Finally someone in a position of authority who isn't a technically-illiterate cretin who licks the boots of corporations. Hey Canada, can we borrow this dude from you for a few months? We could do with large swathes of the Digital Economy Act being overturned, ta :P

As long as you promise to give him back.

Now if only publishers though this way and stopped trying to sell a license to their games.

I'm surprised they did this, I thought the Canadians loved royalty!

Magichead:

Fanghawk:

What's interesting about the Supreme Court rulings is that the judges made consumer-friendly decisions without drastically rethinking traditional legislation. According to the judges, a digital purchase is an identical purchase to an item from a retail store and must follow the exact same copyright rules of physical media. "The Internet should be seen as a technological taxi that delivers a durable copy of the same work to the end user," reads one of the rulings. "There is no practical difference between buying a durable copy of the work in a store, receiving a copy in the mail, or downloading an identical copy using the Internet."

Finally someone in a position of authority who isn't a technically-illiterate cretin who licks the boots of corporations. Hey Canada, can we borrow this dude from you for a few months? We could do with large swathes of the Digital Economy Act being overturned, ta :P

Wouldn't this also oppose many game pirates' argument that they aren't stealing a product, they are simply copying it?

I like this judge.

DVS BSTrD:
I'm surprised they did this, I thought the Canadians loved royalty!

This wasn't glamorous enough to get into "Hello! Canada", so meh.

Compatriot Block:

Magichead:

Fanghawk:

What's interesting about the Supreme Court rulings is that the judges made consumer-friendly decisions without drastically rethinking traditional legislation. According to the judges, a digital purchase is an identical purchase to an item from a retail store and must follow the exact same copyright rules of physical media. "The Internet should be seen as a technological taxi that delivers a durable copy of the same work to the end user," reads one of the rulings. "There is no practical difference between buying a durable copy of the work in a store, receiving a copy in the mail, or downloading an identical copy using the Internet."

Finally someone in a position of authority who isn't a technically-illiterate cretin who licks the boots of corporations. Hey Canada, can we borrow this dude from you for a few months? We could do with large swathes of the Digital Economy Act being overturned, ta :P

Wouldn't this also oppose many game pirates' argument that they aren't stealing a product, they are simply copying it?

I like this judge.

Not really, since the core assertion being made by them(copying doesn't necessitate deprivation, unlike theft) isn't undermined by this statement; the judge is emphasising that there is no difference between buying it in a shop, buying a physical copy online and having it shipped to you, or buying it online in digital form, he doesn't claim that there are no differences at all between the formats, merely that for the consumer at the end of the line, the product they receive is functionally the same, and so it's irrational and illegal to impose special surcharges on one of those formats.

Magichead:

Compatriot Block:

Magichead:

Finally someone in a position of authority who isn't a technically-illiterate cretin who licks the boots of corporations. Hey Canada, can we borrow this dude from you for a few months? We could do with large swathes of the Digital Economy Act being overturned, ta :P

Wouldn't this also oppose many game pirates' argument that they aren't stealing a product, they are simply copying it?

I like this judge.

Not really, since the core assertion being made by them(copying doesn't necessitate deprivation, unlike theft) isn't undermined by this statement; the judge is emphasising that there is no difference between buying it in a shop, buying a physical copy online and having it shipped to you, or buying it online in digital form, he doesn't claim that there are no differences at all between the formats, merely that for the consumer at the end of the line, the product they receive is functionally the same, and so it's irrational and illegal to impose special surcharges on one of those formats.

Fair enough, that makes sense. I suppose I was willing to just assume he shared an opinion which I already had, which was unfair.

Fanghawk:
What's interesting about the Supreme Court rulings is that the judges made consumer-friendly decisions without drastically rethinking traditional legislation.

This part stood out to me. I hear a lot of people talking about the Internet as if it has revolutionized the way everything works and that, consequently, either our current laws need to be rewritten from scratch or the Internet should become a sort of anarchist paradise where laws straight-up no longer apply. And that's the people who are against fascist crackdowns on copyrighted material on the Internet; I can only imagine what the other side thinks.

We're not living in some cyberpunk fantasy, folks. People are still people, and the Internet is just a tool. A tool that has opened up a wealth of possibilities, has taught us some uncomfortable things about ourselves and each other, and may one day engulf all other forms of communication and media, but a tool nonetheless.

lacktheknack:

DVS BSTrD:
I'm surprised they did this, I thought the Canadians loved royalty!

This wasn't glamorous enough to get into "Hello! Canada", so meh.

Canada is a constitutional monarchy. Royalty has no say.

Been a lot of changes in how we deal with Copyrighted goods lately, gonna have to keep a close eye on these story as it unfolds...

I never even knew this had come up and in the end it turned out great. Not the best mind you, just great. B-sacks this is great news.

Well OpenMedia is a major factor in all this. They are heavily pushing for stuff like this. And even if it is a victory, it is still a small one. We Canadians are still being charged up the behind for mediocre, low capped internet with only a couple of choices of providers. well this is a victory, Canada still has a long way to go in terms of the internet.

 

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