Remember the days of the mixed CD (or, for the older guys, the mixed tape) — that special collection of songs that musically challenged guys could give their girlfriend.
Its days are numbered.
There is considerable industry pressure being brought to bear on the federal government to crack down on counterfeiting in Canada.
The implications of such measures are far-reaching, but often difficult to understand.
Unless you think of the mixed tape — that special collection of tunes that you compile for a friend.
Those collections are currently legal in Canada.
But their days seem numbered.
New legislation the Conservatives propose to introduce in the spring would make that, and most other fair-use of digital content, illegal.
Germany has already moved in that direction.
On Friday, its Bundesrat passed two-pronged legislation that is widely viewed as a huge setback for consumer rights.
Like Canada, Germany has imposed a levy on digital media designed to compensate industry for fair-use copying, like backing up that CD, copying a DVD to a laptop computer’s hard drive for viewing on the fly or making a mixed tape for a loved one.
While that is still legal in Canada, it is now illegal in Germany.
Politicians have made it a crime to copy any material protected by digital rights management.
Unprotected material can be copied, but, under the new German law most experts believe the entertainment industry is going to ensure that unprotected material is in short supply.
You soon won’t be able to find anything to copy legally.
And, even if you can, it will cost a pile to do it.
That’s because German politicians have also rejected a proposed five per cent cap on the amount of money the entertainment industry can demand from the sale of blank discs, hard drives and DVD burners. They have given industry the power to demand whatever fee it deems fair.
So, while the entertainment industry moves to restrict the amount of material available for legal copies, it will simultaneously ramp up the costs of the discs, hard drives and burners that make such copies possible.
The result will be much higher costs and less choice for consumers.
It also spells the end of the mixed CD in Germany.
In Canada, it’s on the endangered list. (RM)