Right now, Bill C11, the Copyright Modernization Act is before Parliament. While well intended, we believe Canadian artists will continue to be robbed of their hard earned money as long as the bill continues to allow corporations to profit from enabling our digital music to be pirated.It's time to stand up for Canada's greatest natural resource. Her creativity.
Songwriting and music publishing is an important Canadian business that contributes significantly to Canada's culture, economy, and tax base. The very foundation of our business is copyright. Copyright law is what enables free markets for creators and rights owners to get paid for their work. ole is Canada's largest full-service music publisher, and among the largest in the world, with over $100 million invested in music copyrights. Not surprisingly, any proposed copyright legislation is of great interest to ole, and the taxpaying families of the employees and songwriters who depend on our business.
Bill C-11, the recently introduced Copyright Modernization Act, will do immediate and long-term damage to the livelihood of songwriters, musicians and their investors, without delivering on the promise of its name by updating our laws to effectively deal with the digital age.
While Bill C-11 may be well intentioned, in its current form it will not have the desired effect.
It's a bill for the future, but it is not protecting the future of songwriters and musicians. With the majority of digital music consumption resulting from corporate enabled piracy, the very creativity, indeed livelihood, of the artist is at risk. A fair marketplace exists when a willing seller and a willing buyer are free to negotiate the sale of goods or services. When the buyer can take the product without paying, there is no negotiation. For the creators of music, the digital space is largely a failed marketplace.
The Bill fails to create a fair market for songwriters and publishers because it does not allow compensation from the ISPs, search engines, advertisers, web sites, and device manufacturers who profit from our intellectual property. It allows these industries to monetize their innovations on the back of ours, without the creators being fairly rewarded. Consumers pay for Internet bandwidth, MP3 players, ad supported searches, etc. and expect that their money goes to support the entire economic ecosystem that brings them music. Unfortunately, these companies do not pay the creators because the law says they don't have to. (less)
If Bill C-11 goes ahead without revisions, millions of dollars of annual Private Copying and Broadcast Mechanical revenue will disappear.
Bill C-11 attacks existing rights that progressively deal with the digital era impact on creators'
Rather than try and stop home taping and recording, Canada created one of the world's most effective Private Copying solutions that put money in the hands of creators whose work was being copied without compensation. As the use of blank CDs to record music is quickly being replaced by newer media and devices, this formerly crucial $30 million annual revenue source has declined by 70% since 2008, and is rapidly headed towards insignificance.
The Broadcast Mechanical is one important way songwriters get paid from radio stations who use their music. It licenses the reproduction (or "mechanical") right so the stations can make copies of songs to dramatically enhance the efficiency of their operations. Bill C-11 contains an amendment that will have the effect of expropriating this right that is currently worth about $8 million per year. (less)
The digital revolution has enabled tremendous ease of access to music for the public. The
businesses controlling much of the unauthorized distribution of digital music are making money, but the
creators and rights owners are not. Creators don't want to limit access to their music, they want
it to be available to everyone. They just want to be paid for it.
Bill C-11 provides legal protection for the ISPs, search engines, advertisers, websites, and device manufacturers who profit parasitically from digital music piracy, ensuring that they will never have to pay. (less)
The Bill has a clear bias in favour of the technology, broadcast, and Internet industries, under the
banner of protecting innovation. In fact, Copyright is the very engine that turns innovations into markets.
In a digital age what country that fails to protect intellectual property and creativity will ever succeed in the new global economy? Bill C-11 seeks to protect the innovation of the technology sector at the expense of those who create music. Songwriters and musicians provide innovative work that is just as valuable to Canadians. Favouring the innovation of one group of industries over another is hardly serving Canadians. Why should some industries be entitled to a market while music is not? (less)
Bill C-11 contains the seed of a solution, but does not go far enough.
The Enabling Provision was intended to "make the enabling of online copyright infringement itself an infringement of copyright", but it is so narrowly written that it will only affect the most egregious pirates.
It should be broadened to include all of the industries that profit by enabling the public to access music, not just the obvious pirates.
Existing legislation enables songwriters and musicians to be compensated for digital use of their work by radio broadcasters. It is a clear example of a law creating rights that in turn enable a marketplace. This important revenue stream is currently $8 million per year, and will effectively disappear under Bill C-11.
Canada needs to catch up. There are over 40 countries around the world that have a private copying regime that includes digital media and devices.
If the Enabling Provision were effectively written, there would be a marketplace solution rather than a levy. However, creators must be compensated for use of their work, and if the Enabling Provision is insufficient, Private Copying must be extended to the digital realm.