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Canadian appeals court cancels "iPod levy"

updated 11:20 pm EST, Thu January 10, 2008

Canada Quashes iPod Levy

Canada's Federal Court of Appeal has reversed a decision that would have imposed a levy on iPods and other removable devices with memory installed, says Retail Board of Canada lawyer Howard Knopf. The court took less than 24 hours to reach the decision and ruled primarily on technical grounds, referring to a previous case when arguing that the Copyright Board of Canada had overstepped its boundaries in asking for as much as a $75 levy on each removable memory device.

"The Copyright Board has no legal authority to certify a tariff on digital audio recorders or on the memory permanently embedded in digital audio recorders. That proposition is binding," the court says, alluding to the most recent attempt to pass a levy as a means of evading the original ruling's consequences.

Although the Copyright Board had asserted that the levy was necessary to compensate media creators whose content had been pirated, the opposition -- which included public support from Apple Canada as well as advocacy groups -- has also typically argued that such levies unfairly punish legitimate users by charging a fee regardless of whether or not media loaded on to devices has been pirated.

In making the ruling, however, the Court of Appeal did not make special exemptions for fair use, such as ripping CDs or creating backups. These have not been considered illegal in Canada but have not had a legal precedent set as in the US. It also remains uncertain whether the Copyright Board or its associated levy collector, the Canadian Private Copying Collective, will appeal the new decision and attempt to restore the proposed fees.

by MacNN Staff




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