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12/03/2005 Archived Entry: "The Canadian CD tax...er, "levy""

Only in Canada. I just bought some backup media for our PCs: CD-Rs for 36 cents each, and DVD-Rs (that hold six times the data) for 26 cents each. What gives?

The answer is that in Canada, CD-Rs are subject to a "copyright levy" (paid to the music industry) of 21 cents per disc. DVD-Rs, not being "audio" media, don't pay any levy at all. In the absence of this levy, we'd presumably be paying 15 cents per CD-R. Put another way, the music industry gets more from each blank CD-R than the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer combined.

I currently use four CD-Rs a week for computer backups. That means I'm paying the music industry over $40 a year for the privilege of backing up my computer...on media that never see a note of music. Needless to say, in the new year I'm switching to DVD-Rs for backup.

There's a bright side. I just learned that the legislation which enabled this levy also makes it legal for me to duplicate friends' music CDs for my personal use. (I cannot, however, duplicate my CDs for my friends.)  —brad

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