I don’t have a CD player in my truck so in order to listen to my favourite CDs, I have to copy them onto cassette tapes. Is that legal? We don’t really know for sure, do we? Music publishers used to try to tell us that it was not legal, but I think they’ve given up. Everybody does it.
It’s not just that everybody does it, though. Music publishers, like software publishers, have been trying to convince us for years that when you buy their products, you are not buying the physical disk on which the product is shipped, and which you would then be free to copy. You are buying the right to use their intellectual property (if you could call the Spice Girls “intellectual property”). If you were only buying the disk, you could make as many copies as you want. But if not, then you certainly have the right to use their intellectual property in your car or wherever you want. Nobody says, “you can buy this new Spice Girls CD– but you can only listen to it when you’re in your house.”
Think of all the people you know with stereos and cassette decks. How many of them, that you know of, are serving hard time right now? “Wha’dya in for, son?” “Err… home taping.”
Well, as of January 1, 1999, the music publishers, apparently, are going to agree with reality. That’s right. And you heard it here first.
You see, as of January 1, 1999, you will pay an extra 50 cents for every blank cassette tape that you buy in Canada, depending on length. That 50 cents will go to the legal body representing the music publishers and will be distributed to them, and, supposedly, to their composers and artists, as compensation.
Compensation for what? For home taping, you dummy!
Wait a minute– if I’m paying them for home-taping, then… gasp! That’s right. They are entering into an agreement with you, an implied contract, an exchange of money for services. And the service is none other than the right to copy music onto that cassette. No more guilt feelings! No more self-imposed restraint! Buy all the tape decks you want. Make as many copies as you want— after all, it’s not illegal anymore! You’re paying for it! It’s as simple as that. If you aren’t going to copy your CD’s, then what are you paying for? Nothing? You’re handing over your hard-earned dollars to the music publishing industry… just because you want to???
I want to thank the government and the recording industry for finally displaying some common sense. And for finally making good music available at a price we can all afford. For only about $.50 a cassette, plus the cost of the tape, we can now make all the copies we want.
I’m not positive, but it looks to me like you might even be able to sell those copies. Why not? You paid for it. The government and the music publishing industry have agreed on a “fair price”. They have agreed that 50 cents represents what it costs them when you copy one of their CDs onto your own tape. Okay. Fair enough. And the more tapes you buy, the more you pay. Since you’re paying for every tape, you should be able to make as many copies as you want! And since you’ve already paid for the music, you should be able to sell your copies to other people. I know it sounds naughty, but don’t worry: you’re paying for it!
There is a similar “tax” on CD’s used to record music in the U.S. and Canada. I find it really interesting that the same country that passes laws that allow handguns to be purchased by almost anybody, had decided that it should apply a special tax to every recordable CD sold just in case some people decide to make an illegal copy of something.
The NRA has an annual budget of $80,000,000.00. That’s almost as much as Mike Piazza makes in seven years. Don’t you wish you had $80,000,000.00?