The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. By now, you should have realized there’s been a changing of the guard at Canadian NEW MEDIA: Jeff Leiper has moved on. Reading through past issues of CNM, I realized that Jeff had much sage advice and wisdom to impart to a newly arrived editor. However, Jeff once wrote that he could understand the levy on CD-Rs and other blank media sold in Canada. I can't. This tax ostensibly helps recoup some of the money that rights holders of intellectual property lose when unauthorized copies of their works are made. Leaving aside the contentiousness of the word "unauthorized" for a moment, the arbitrariness of a set fee per unit sale raises all kinds of troublesome questions: how can the various copyrighted industries accurately determine the losses due to unauthorized copying, for instance? Even if accurate figures were available as to the cost of unauthorized copying of music, and the average worth (intrinsically or otherwise) of a four-minute song could be determined, the money generated by such levies is "peanuts to the rights owner," according to Claudette Fortier, chair of the Canadian Private Copying Collective. She speaks with authority: the CPCC collects and administers the levy on behalf of providers of copyrighted material, and paid out more than $33 million in the two years between January 2003 and January 2005. Doubtless, companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Sony will continue to look for high-tech ways to solve a high-tech problem. Of course, these solutions should always work within the parameters of fair use (as set out by the private copying exemption) and public domain – something critics say isn’t possible. One thing is certain, however: the existing system isn’t doing what it’s supposed to either.