A Canadian judge has ruled that special levies, that normally apply to blank media, and that have been applied to the sale of MP3 players, such as the iPod, are illegal.

Under Canada's Copyright Act such a levy has traditionally been applied to blank media (hence one reason for the cheaper iTunes pricing) such as audio tapes or, more recently, recordable optical discs. MP3 players had fallen within the scope of the relevant act, since December last year.

'As desirable as bringing such devices within the ambit of [the Act] might seem, the authority for doing so still has to be found in the Act,' Judge Noël said in his decision.

While the decision is expected to lower the price of MP3 players, some commentators in Canada believe it will erode the stream of revenues to musicians at a time of widespread digital pirating.