In recognition of World Intellectual Property Day, some of Canada's leading musicians, songwriters, and producers announced the creation of A New Voice: The Canadian Music Creators Coalition (CMCC) in Montreal on April 26. The CMCC is a growing coalition of Canadian music creators who share the common goal of having their voices heard about the laws and policies that affect their livelihoods.
In a press release, the CMCC states: "Multinational record labels are vocal in their desire for changes to copyright laws that would facilitate lawsuits against our fans and increase their control over the enjoyment of music. To our alarm, the labels advance these demands not merely on their own behalf, but in our names as necessary for the well-being of individual Canadian musicians in the digital age. Today the people who actually create Canadian music are speaking out for themselves."
"As artists, we need to take control of our work and stop letting lobbyists that may not have our bests interests in mind continue to speak for us," says CMCC founding member John K. Samson of Winnipeg punk poets The Weakerthans. "The government is making decisions that will seriously impact the livelihood of Canadian independent artists and the only voices it's hearing are those of the major labels. We need to speak up. We need to protect our interests and our music. The CMCC was created to help us do that."
The CMCC believes that it is the government’s responsibility to protect Canadian artists from exploitation, requiring a firm commitment to programs that support Canadian music talent, and a fresh approach to copyright law reform. The CMCC intends to ensure that lobbyists for major record labels and music publishers are not the only voices heard in debates about Canada's copyright laws and other key cultural issues.
The three key principles of the CMCC's initial lobbying campaign are:
1) Opposing suing fans who share music for non-commercial purposes;
2) Opposing the use of digital locks, which the CMCC claims to only increase the labels' control over the distribution, use and enjoyment of music;
3) Encouraging the Canadian government to support new Canadian music by actual Canadian artists through such avenues as FACTOR and the Canada Music Fund, investing in music training and education, creating limited tax shelters for copyright royalties, protecting artists from inequalities in bargaining power and making collecting societies more transparent.
Founding members include winners of Juno and Grammy Awards who have sold tens of millions of albums worldwide. The CMCC includes some of the most recognizable names in Canadian music, such as Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sum 41, Stars, Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace), Dave Bidini (Rheostatics), Billy Talent, Broken Social Scene, Sloan, Andrew Cash and Bob Wiseman (co-founders Blue Rodeo), and Samson (The Weakerthans).
The CMCC held a press conference at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern on May 1, featuring CMCC members Barenaked Ladies, Broken Social Scene, Andrew Cash and others shedding light on the important of the CMCC.
For further information on the coalition, please visit www.musiccreators.ca.