A Canadian court has ruled against levies charged on iPods.

Canadian copyright law charges a levy on blank media, such as audio tapes and optical discs, and regulators hoped to extend that charge to include music players.

It's Canada's response to file sharing, which is lawful (on a personal non-profit basis) in that country. Instead of a Canute-like witch hunt, the Canuck government charges the levies as described above, passing revenues from these to local copyright holders (musicians, songwriters and record companies) in an attempt to compensate them.

A $25 levy on iPods was introduced in December last year. The Canadian authorities had hoped to generate $5 million through charging the levy on MP3 player sales this year - 20 per cent of the total collected.

In a 71-page decision, the case judge agreed that the levy was an attempt by the Copyright Board of Canada to protect music writers and performers from the harm of file sharing, but that the board lacked the legal remit to extend that levy to MP3 players.

The non-profit Canadian Private Copying Collective - the agency which collects and distributes the levy - is likely to appeal the judgement.