This week, over 350 Canadian musical artists including Anne Murray, The Tragically Hip, Nickelback (no surprise on the latter, note the lack of RUSH, however) have signed a petition and submitted it to the Canadian government in hopes that they government would apply a tax or levy to sales of MP3 players, to be paid to the artists as a royalty fee. The idea behind the move is that people fill their MP3 players with illegally acquired music, and this is a way for the artists to get the money they're owed.
"...We know that you do not want to see a Canada that is devoid of musicians and songwriters, but without fair and balanced treatment, that may be the tragic consequence," said the letter. Give me a break.
This may have made sense when mixtapes and mixed CDs were all the rage, because people were obviously copying and burning songs onto those media, but it makes little sense in today's world, where purchasing physical media is largely unnecessary. These artists are making the assumption that all music on all MP3 players is there illegally and that the listener never paid them for their music. This is of course total crap. I know a lot of people that refuse to download music and take pride in the fact that their entire music library has been purchased legally. To these people, the idea of an additional levy on MP3 player sales should really feel like a slap to the face. Besides, the idea of added fees on CD-Rs and RWs effectively killed those forms of media, and drove people in even greater numbers to digital distribution and MP3 players. Try to tax those, and they'll just move elsewhere, either to smart phones or, as I've been saying all along, microchips in our brains with in-eye display screens.
At least it's just the Canadians. Hopefully this nonsense never makes it to the States. If it does, well, I hope my Zune lives long enough for the scientists to get my brain microchip idea going.