Friday, November 30, 2007

Get them while you can

I was reading Jen today as she was talking about buying a new iPod. And since I had iPod's on the brain today, this story caught my eye. It's still little vague on some details, such as when or if this new iPod levy will come into place. I know the Conservative government is looking at introducing some fairly drastic new copyright law, which is touched upon in Michael Geist's blog in far more eloquent ways than I can manage.

But the thing that caught my eye is the thoroughly ridiculous notion that a levy of up to $75 could be added to the cost of iPods of 30 gigs or more. I was tagged with an iPod levy several years ago when I bought my first iPod. Technically I was supposed to have been refunded that money, but since I didn't have a receipt, I was out the $25 they illegally gouged from me.

But a $75 levy? That's a whole new level of stupidity.

First of all, I'm surprised any retailer in Canada that sells MP3 players aren't howling blue murder. Because it will cost them millions in sales. When you consider how much of the Canadian population lives near the Canada-U.S. border and the near parity with the US dollar, how many people do you think are going to head south to buy an iPod if this levy comes into place?

Granted, I live nowhere near the border, so I'm out of luck if I want to upgrade, right? Of course not. How hard is it for me to buy one on eBay? I have friends in the US. How hard is it for me to send them some money via Paypal and get them to buy and mail a new iPod for me? And that's what I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there are plenty of other ways of getting around the levy.


But here's the other thing. I was talking about this story with Cathy, and she was a bit perplexed about why there is a need for a levy. "It's assuming you're going to do something illegal with the device?"

"Yes," I said.

"But it's a legal device to buy and you might never do anything other than copy your music from CD onto it or buy stuff from iTunes."


"So you're being fined for an illegal activity that you may never do?"

"Pretty much."

"Well, that's stupid."

It absolutely is stupid. But then again, the music and movie industries have always managed to find the most stupid, counter-productive and alienating way to react to a situation with online media and new technologies.

Anyway, the long and short of it is, maybe this Christmas would be a good time to get that new MP3 player, just in case this particular piece of idiocy manages to get passed.

Last Five
1. Don't give up (live) - Peter Gabriel
2. Roy Orbison came on - Ron Hynes
3. The guitar - They Might Be Giants
4. Mohammed - The Dandy Warhols*
5. I will be there - Nellie McKay


Jen said...

Holy Crap that's OUTRAGEOUS! When I buy an mp3 player I mostly plan on buying songs, CDs and generally being a good citizen. But if I got pre-fined as if the government is assuming I am going to be a corrupt person, then I would make it my job to download all the songs the easy free way, to make my fine worth it.

Thanks for the heads up, I really hope Nathan heeded my super hints and got me the Nano while it's still affordable.

Anonymous said...

Could it be possible that the record industry executives are taking a page out of our politician's book? The phrase "we are entitled to our entitlements" comes to mind. The model for the entertainment industry has changed. The choke hold on content has been broken, and industry players must adapt or perish. Simply put, they cannot expect to remain profitable using the same buiness model that thrived under different times.
Government should not be supporting makers of buggy whips with forced subsidy.

copyleft said...

Join the movement against the DMCA North.