A recent ruling by Canada's Copyright Board has effectively legalized peer-to-peer music downloads. Sharing copyrighted material over a P2P network remains illegal, but the act of downloading copyrighted music for personal use is apparently OK.
Canada already slaps a levy on blank CD media, audio tapes, and even MP3 players, the proceeds of which go to Canadian recording artists to help pay for the cost of piracy. Previously, copying for personal use was allowed only if one was using blank media already covered under existing levies. Now, it appears that the act of downloading a song to your hard drive is also being considered legal, even though the Copyright Board doesn't impose any levies on bare hard drives.
Canadian song swappers will no doubt celebrate the Copyright Board's decision, but honest consumers and artists are getting a pretty raw deal. For starters, consumers pay the media levy regardless of whether or not they actually use it to copy music. Even if blank media is used to copy music, there's certainly no guarantee that the artists whose work is being copied will be equitably compensated.
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