Court of Appeal Quashes Copyright Board Decision on Digital Recorders

| December 17, 2004
The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that personal audio devices such as iPods and other MP3 players, are not subject to Canada\'s private copying regime. The Copyright Board had previously found that the devices\' permanently embedded memory was "blank audio recording media", and accordingly required manufacturers and importer of the devices to pay a levy under the regime. Parliament established the private copying regime to compensate owners of copyright in songs, sound recordings and performances for private copying of music. The short-term effects of the decision may be to lower the prices charged in Canada for MP3 players. Longer-term, the decision suggests that computer hard drives and other devices with embedded permanent memory may not be leviable media. The decision is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.