Artists: Tax Digital Music

Nineteen groups, including the Canadian Federation of Musicians, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists National (ACTRA), the Writer's Union of Canada and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), have written a letter to Industry Minister Tony Clement and Heritage Minister James Moore saying the exclusion of compensation for digital recordings in the Conservative's copyright bill is "unjustifiable."

"Given the reality of technology and usage in the modern world, a copyright act that effectively says that our creative work is valueless in this process is unacceptable," they wrote.

Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila told QMI Agency she depends on income from a copyright levy - currently included in the cost of blank CDs and cassette tapes but not digital devices -- to help her live while she's not touring.

"The levy allows me to create new material for my fans and keep them interested. If the levy didn't exist, I'd have to take on a part-time job, which would then leave me with no time to create new material," she said from Montreal, where she is working on her first French-language album.

Avila worries the "several-thousand-dollar" cheques she receives will dry up as more consumers use their iPods to copy music.

Heritage Minister James Moore reaffirmed Tuesday the government has no plans to increase the costs of MP3 players by adding a levy.

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Ash Tisdale

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