I have nothing but disdain for Tony Clement so it almost pains me to say this. But this time he’s got it right.
As reported in the Globe, Clement has come out quite strongly against any further taxes on smart phones and handhelds to compensate artists for file swapping.
ACTRA have long been lobbying governments of all stripes to implement various taxes and surcharges on commonly used items based on an assumption that they were being used to cheat its members out of their due rewards. As a result we have been paying a few cents extra on every blank CD and DVD purchased (and cassette tape before that), whether or not they were ever used to copy copyright materials.
Now as technology progresses they’re going after smart phones and handhelds.
I fully appreciate the frustration many artists must feel when the results of their talents and hard work are depreciated to nil because of illegal distribution. However as one whose MP3 collection consists only of the music taken from the CDs on my bookshelf or purchased through iTunes, I don’t appreciate being forced to pay extra on any products or devices (tiny though the amounts may be) because the industry still operates with a 1970’s mindset.
And if they are successful, what is the message being sent? Obviously that it’s okay to download music and videos because you paid extra for your cell phone/iPad/DVD recorder to compensate the artists for that very use. I can’t imagine that’s what ACTRA wants people to think, but it is a logical extension of indiscriminately imposing these extra surcharges/taxes on entire ranges of products.
So Tony, I agree with you. Just don’t let it go to your head.