Music Industry Associations Present United Front on Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act
Posted on March 7, 2011
The Canadian Council of Music Industry Associations (CCMIA), representing more than 8,000 members, has prepared a position paper on the proposed amendments to Bill C-32. CCMIA Chair J.P. Ellson spoke to the House of Commons Committee reviewing the proposed amendments in Ottawa on March 1 to address this important issue affecting all Canadian music creators. “ Copyright is the legal basis by which Canadian recording artists will flourish in the new digital economy. The members of the CCMIA hope that elected officials from all political parties diligently pursue fair, reasonable, and contemporary copyright protection as it is essential for our artists to compete on a global basis.” stated JP Ellson.
The CCMIA position paper includes five main points to balance consumers’ desire for access to copyrighted works, while providing fair remuneration to copyright owners and creators.
· Extending the private copying levy to all fixed or mobile music storage devices. This would allow consumers the right to privately use the legitimately purchased music in their possession on multiple devices while balancing copyright owner and creator rights to receive fair compensation for their work.
· An alternative solution to The User-Generated Content Exception. It should be up to individual copyright owners and creators if they want their works to be used by consumers for such things as “mash-ups”.
· Removing the proposal to dramatically reduce statutory damages for copyright infringement for non-commercial purposes. In terms of losses to the music industry there is no distinction between commercial and non-commercial infringement of copyright. The CCMIA recommends not introducing the proposed distinction between commercial and non-commercial infringement, but rather ensure that the courts continue to have the discretion to reduce damages in appropriate circumstances.
· The CCMIA questions the efficacy of the proposed “notice and notice” regime, under which ISPs would be obligated to send a notice to potential copyright infringers after receiving a notice of alleged infringement. Instead, the CCMIA suggests implementing a ‘graduated response’ or another collaborative system in co-operation with ISPs that relies on educating alleged infringers before more stringent measures are imposed.
· Keeping subsection 30.9(6) of the Act. Its removal would effectively reduce royalties payable to rights-holders. The Act should strengthen collective licensing mechanisms, rather than weaken or eliminate them.
The CCMIA welcomes the introduction of amendments to the Copyright Act which will bring the act into compliance with the World Intellectual Property Organization ‘Internet Treaties’ agreements for which Canada is a signatory. Further, modernization of the Copyright Act is essential to the development of Canada’s $46 billion arts and culture industry. Modernization does not mean eroding the already-challenged copyrights of creators.
Copyright owners and creators should retain control of their respective works to ensure reasonable compensation for those works and flexibility as to how their works are to be used. This is the cornerstone of a thriving knowledge-based digital economy. The music industry is on the frontlines of the battle over eroding copyrights worldwide. With leadership from the federal government, Bill C-32 could be amended to achieve the goals of strengthening copyrights and ensuring the proper compensation for the use of such copyrights.