CDJay Currie, writing in TCS, points out that peer-to-peer file-sharing is legal in Canada, by virtue of an agreement several years ago that imposed a compensatory tax on blank storage media. Here’s a summary of the legislation:

“On March 19, 1998, Part VIII of the (Canadian) Copyright Act dealing with private copying came into force. Until that time, copying any sound recording for almost any purpose infringed copyright, although, in practice, the prohibition was largely unenforceable. The amendment to the Act legalized copying of sound recordings of musical works onto audio recording media for the private use of the person who makes the copy (referred to as “private copying”). In addition, the amendment made provision for the imposition of a levy on blank audio recording media to compensate authors, performers and makers who own copyright in eligible sound recordings being copied for private use.”

— Copyright Board of Canada: Fact Sheet: Private Copying 1999-2000 Decision

What this means is that, even if the RIAA is successful in its mean-spirited attempt to sue Americans that allow music to be downloaded from their servers and hard drives, Americans can simply turn to Canadian servers to get their music fix. One more reason why suing your customers doesn’t make sense.

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  1. O RLY YA RLY says:

    Wasn’t there a similar thing for cassette tapes? You know, cassettes. Audio video tapes.

  2. Evan says:

    This argument didn’t work well for, a Canada-based service that streamed broadcast tv signals over the internet. Legal in Canada but not in the US, they were simply required to install technical restrictions so that people in the US couldn’t access their server. (I don’t know if they still exist, now.)The hydra-headed nature of filesharing networks makes this a somewhat more difficult task to accomplish technically, but regardless, the legality is still going to be an issue for people connecting from the US.What this does prove, beyond any shadow of doubt that may have been remaining after the socialized medicine and the minuscule murder rate and the civil unions, is that Canada is just a totally superior country.

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    Harald: Yup, it’s still in place for blank cassettes, even though nobody uses them anymore.Evan: I think the hope is that it will be so difficult to accomplish that the RIAA will simply give up trying. I’m not that swell-headed about Canada — we’ve got our share of faults and problems too — you may have seen my post on animal cruelty, and we just narrowly avoided a political crisis when 50 so-called ‘Liberals’ sided with the Conservatives in parliament against gay rights to marriage (three more would have put us back to square one).

  4. mrG says:

    Evan — I’m not judge, but iCraveTV didn’t have rights to rebroadcast the streams … they didn’t tape shows and then let you copy their tapes, they redirected a stream which makes them a broadcaster the same as cable-TV, and that requires licenses and adherence to the CRTC rules.Just a guess.

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