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Old 06-16-2008, 11:07 PM   #1
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Canadian Music Creators Coalition Speak Out Against Downloading/Copyright Bill

I just watched a really interesting program on City TV's CP-24 news channel, Legal Briefs, where this week's topic was the bill to set rules and punishments regarding the illegal downloading of music, television and movies in Canada. The guests were an entertainment lawyer who argued against downloading, and the drummer for the band Wide Mouth Mason, Safwan Javed, who argued in favour of it. Safwan was very eloquent in making his arguments, and essentially said that it's not in the best interests of any musician to alienate fans by prosecuting people who download, and that they'd much rather people download their music for free, and then come and spend their money at live shows, where they make the vast majority of their income, anyway. One of the lawyer's arguments was that it's not just musicians who are losing money by allowing downloading, but also songwriters (for songs not written by the performer) and studio musicians who might not tour with the performer or band. Safwan countered that the system is not perfect, and that rather than ban free downloading and prosecute fans, that the industry needs to rethink their business model to provide for people who may potentially be losing income, rather than regress by prosecuting.

He talked about a group that was recently formed by Canadian musicians who are in agreement with this philosophy. I looked it up, and it can be found here:

http://www.musiccreators.ca/

A lengthy list of Canadian musicians who have joined this group can be found on the website. I was surprised to see some fairly big name artists, including Barenaked Ladies, Feist, Sloan, Broken Social Scene, Stars, Avril Lavigne, Matthew Good, Metric, Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace, Randy Bachman, Sam Roberts, Sarah McLachlan, The New Pornographers, Sum 41, and on and on. Canadian Music Creators Coalition � artists

This is a snippet taken from their policy paper that can be found on their website:

Quote:
Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical

We do not want to sue our fans. We oppose any copyright reforms that would make it easier for record companies to do this. The labels have been suing our fans against our will, and laws enabling these suits cannot be justified in our names.

We believe that the current litigious atmosphere in the music industry is destructive. Lawsuits unfairly alienate our fans. Artists cannot expect to say, “see you in court,” and then, “see you at Massey Hall next fall.” A few other countries have created a legal climate where suing fans is the norm. Lawsuits against music fans benefit no one. If there is a threat to Canadian artists, it is not p2p downloading or sharing music but lawsuits brought by the recording industry against our fans.

Fans who share music are not thieves or pirates. Sharing music has been happening for decades. It is hypocritical for labels to sue fans for something that everyone in the music industry has done him or herself. New technologies may have changed the way that fans share music, but they have not changed the fact that sharing helps artists’ careers.

In terms of specific copyright reforms, this principle suggests that the government should repeal provisions of the Copyright Act that allow labels to punish fans with damages of $500 to $20,000 per song. Statutory damages of this magnitude are unduly harsh where music fans share songs for non-commercial purposes. The threat of such enormous liability does not deter file sharing, but unfairly forces vulnerable people to cave in to the labels’ bullying tactics without a hearing of their case. To sue for non-commercial music sharing, record companies should have to prove their damages or lost profits, as is usually required by law.
I agree with their stance. Personally, I've discovered a lot of new bands (and rediscovered others) through downloading, and I've gone on to spend a shitload of money attending their shows and buying their merchandise, money I would have been very unlikely to spend had I not downloaded in the first place. And, they get more of the profits when I spend money, so yay! This makes me want to spend even more money to support them.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:25 AM   #2
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do you think this bill will get voted down by the opposition? i haven't really been in tune with canadian politics lately, but i've heard a bit about this. a disgusting bill, to say the least... i know the liberals are against it, but what have you heard?

let me guess, the tories let the americans come in and draft another bill didn't they?
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:24 PM   #3
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I do think suing fans has negative impact on musicians
I also think it's quite obvious that free downloading is having a disastrous impact on the record industry

so it's all difficult

lots of people say that the record industry should change to be better suited to modern times
while that is something no one can really disagree with, I still don't have any clue what record companies should be doing then

so, difficult indeed
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:27 PM   #4
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Here's what the Canadian living legend has to say on the subject...



"Illegal downloading sucks!"
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Old 06-17-2008, 02:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoomerang96 View Post
do you think this bill will get voted down by the opposition? i haven't really been in tune with canadian politics lately, but i've heard a bit about this. a disgusting bill, to say the least... i know the liberals are against it, but what have you heard?

let me guess, the tories let the americans come in and draft another bill didn't they?
I haven't been able to find anything saying that the Liberals are against this bill for the reasons that the Music Creators Coalition are, but as politicians are wont to do, they seem to be against it for nitpicky reasons, like lack of enforcement, etc. It's said that it's too close to summer break to get anything done on it till fall, and that if the Liberals balk too much then, that this could be the thing that forces an election.

Copyright law could result in police state: critics

Funny you should mention the Americanization of this bill - that was one of the major criticisms of it on the program I saw last night. In fact, that's one of the things that Safwan Javed discussed, that we're indeed once again allowing America to essentially set policy for us.

It seems that even those who agree that illegal downloading is wrong still have a huge problem with one of the components of this bill - the part that states it's illegal for people who purchase a cd or dvd with a digital lock to hack it and use it on other devices. People almost universally feel, and rightly so, that if they purchase a copy of something, they should not be told how they can utilize the copy for personal use.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlsAloudFan View Post
Here's what the Canadian living legend has to say on the subject...



"Illegal downloading sucks!"
Cute. But if you read my post, you'll see that she's a member of the group of musicians opposed to this bill. Somewhat surprising, IMO. If there's anyone that screams "sell out," it's her.


*****

Another issue I was considering after seeing the program last night - do Canadian musicians specifically have a unique perspective on matters such as illegal downloading, just by virtue of being Canadian?

For various reasons due to the size of our population, among other things, unless a Canadian act breaks out in the US, they're only going to experience a modest amount of cd sales, at best. This is as opposed to American acts with moderate success, who I'm sure would tend to sell a lot more. The Wide Mouth Mason drummer was saying last night that they make a very small percentage of the sales of each cd they sell, and that by the time they reimburse the record company for promotion and making videos, etc, that they're pretty much left with no income from cd sales whatsoever. I'd guess that this experience is not unique for Canadian musicians. So, since they're not making any money from cd sales anyway, it makes sense that their attitude is "download to your heart's content, people, get to know our music, and come to our shows."

Maybe in the future we'll see more and more established acts foregoing the entire record company thing, and releasing their music online.
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