Rising Price of Blank CDs Used to Fight Piracy

Dennis Faas's picture

According to most copyright protectors, movie, TV, and music pirating is out of control. Let's face it, just about everyone owns a burnt album, television season, or film on CD or DVD -- heck, maybe even Blu-ray. How do you fight this if the problem is so rampant? Simple, say Canadian lawmakers: increase the cost of blank discs.

According to reports, Canada's Copyright Board has green-lighted an increase in levies placed on blank CDs by 38%. Part of the reason for the jump is an increase in music compression and the continued rise in songwriter royalties. As the cost of making an album increases along with the likelihood that it will be burned by fans, it only makes sense to the Canadian Copyright Board that the tools necessary for pirating should increase, too. (Source: afterdawn.com)

Making music north of the 49th parallel is difficult business. Although the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) demands radio stations make at least a fraction of their content exclusively Canadian, artists still face the immense cultural penetration of the United States. In other words, it's much harder to sell a Bobnoxious or Trews album when satellite TV providers stream U.S. music channels into the homes of most canucks.

Besides the country's xenophobic fear of satellites and airwaves, there's the official line on pirating. Whether it's a Trews album or Madonna's latest offering, the Copyright Board reckons that those people buying black CDs are invariably doing so to rip off an artist. Thus, they should pay more for the necessary equipment.

After the increse, the price of the average blank CD in Canada is now 29 cents. In an official statement, Claude Majeau of the Copyright Board of Canada had this to say: "Two main factors led the Board to raise the CD levy rate to 29¢. First, the mechanical royalties that record labels pay to record a song onto a prerecorded CD have increased. Second, because consumers now use compression technology when they record music, the average number of music tracks copied onto a CD went from 15 to more than 18." (Source: torrentfreak.com)

In other words, it costs more to make albums in Canada than it used to, and those sneaky crooks who intend to circumvent paying for these costs by burning an album can, today, get more stuff on a blank disc. Thus, while life gets harder for a musician, it gets easier for the pirates.

Since they began taxing consumers on discs in 1999, the Canadian Copyright Board has accumulated a staggering $242 million in revenue, with nearly $150 million distributed, presumably, to artists.

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