Monday, May 01, 2006

New Canadian Copyright Laws?

Jonathan Migneault

In Canada, unlike most Western nations, it is legal to download and share copyrighted material. The Canadian government is currently working to amend the country's antiquated copyright laws while two groups fight to define them. In one corner we have the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), Canada's equivalent to the United States' RIAA. Not surprisingly, the CRIA wants to implement U.S.-style lawsuits against downloaders and copy-protection onto its albums.

In the other corner we have the Canadian Music Creators Coalition. The group, which includes the Barenaked Ladies, Broken Social Scene, Blue Rodeo, Avril Lavigne, Sum 41, Randy Bachman, Sarah McLachlan, and several other influential musicians, wants Canada’s new copyright laws to be more, well ugh, humane. Meaning specifically, pursuing avenues other than suing fans, as well as not resorting to copyright controlled albums.

This blog and many others have a lot at stake in the outcome of any upcoming debates on the issue. It's no secret that we often share copyrighted material. I think it's safe to say that in the majority of cases we post songs that are either already freely available by legal means or are from indie artists who encourage the exposure we give them by sharing a few songs. To my knowledge, only two bloggers in the U.S. or Europe has ever been sued for posting copyrighted material (See Ryan Adams Debacle). Nevertheless, the possibility of more such outcomes always exists.

The Internet is a great medium for debate (and infringing copyrights). That's what I would like to see in the comment section below. Do you agree with the CRIA's plans for punitive measures against downloaders or do you side with the artists coalition’s rejection of such measures? I suspect our readership will be biassed towards the latter argument but I still believe a debate on the issue would be a worthwhile endeavour.

Personally, I’ve tried hard to look at both sides of the issue and can wholeheartedly say that I support the artists on this one (surprised?).

For more information on the current copyright battle hit up the CBC’s website. Most of my information was taken from an article on the site.

Broken Social Scene - Deathcock
Ryan Adams - To Be Young

Broken Social Scene - Ibi Dreams of Pavement

Ryan Adams is on the Prowl

Comments on "New Canadian Copyright Laws?"


Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (2/5/06 2:29 am) : 

I'm not sure if we'll get any debate here, as I think everyone will agree.

Kinda like asking a group of marine biologists whether they like dolphins.

Regardless, interesting article. I guess we knew the safety of Canadian pirating had to come to an end.


Anonymous rgsc said ... (2/5/06 11:31 am) : 

Bah. I had a rather long comment which seems to have disappeared - i would like to blame blogger but i am sure it is due to me closing the window or something because it is just that kind of morning.

Anyway, basically I wanted to say I agree with and applaud the CMCC and that it is hard to believe that the CRIA is working for the best interests of the artists when the artists themselves are forming their own group. The CRIA conducted a study which indicated that 75% of people who download buy music - a statistic which, i think, goes a long way to undermine their draconian stance.

John Lennon perhaps best summed it up: "Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it."


Blogger Jonathan Migneault said ... (2/5/06 1:05 pm) : 

It will be interesting to see how this debate pans out. If I was a betting man I would have to say that the Conservatives will likely follow the American model.

I mean the CRIA has Alanis Morissette on their side. I suppose those 30 million copies of Jagged Little Pill just aren't enough to pay the bills these days.

Lets hope artists like Alanis will never have to starve due to downloading.


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