Canada considers ISP royalties


— 11:14 AM on November 28, 2003

As if our blank media levy weren't enough, Canada's Supreme Court is being asked to force ISPs to pay royalties to make up for illegal music downloads. Canadians already pay a $0.21 levy on blank CD-R and CD-RW media ($0.77 for CD-R audio, CD-RW audio, and MiniDiscs), which essentially forces users to pay for piracy even if they never burn copyrighted material. If ISPs are forced to pay a blanket royalty fee, Canadians will again have to foot the bill for piracy, regardless of whether they're active participants.

"This is a huge case for Canada and the Internet and whether we're part of the global Internet community or on the outside looking in," said Jay Thomson, president of the Ottawa-based Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP). "Consumers could very well see an increase in their Internet costs and they could see a slowdown in the transmission speed of their Internet communications."
If Canadian ISPs were simply the carriers of copyrighted material, they'd be exempt from the royalty charge. However, ISPs may get nailed for caching content, which strays a little from being a blind conduit.
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