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Home » Officer Columns » Music Policy Coalition: A United Voice for Copyright Reform

Music Policy Coalition: A United Voice for Copyright Reform

  -  AFM Vice President from Canada

The CFM, in preparation for the five-year review of Canada’s Copyright Act, is a part of a number of music industry coalitions. One of these groups is the Music Policy Coalition (MPC), bringing together the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN); Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA); Canada’s Neighbouring Rights Collective (Re:Sound); the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA); Québec Association for the Recording, Concert and Video Industries (ADISQ); Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC); and Union des Artistes (UDA), to name a few.

By combining voices, the message sent to government will have significantly more impact than individual presentations. That is not to say that we should not have our own voice. As in all cases where there is a wide and varied participation, there are distinct differences of opinion and objective.

In recognition of that, the MPC has decided to put forth a short list of guiding principles for copyright reform, as opposed to specifics. This allows for a better opportunity to achieve consensus.

While still in draft form, here are the main points:

Consistent Rules

Internet Protocol (IP) laws should establish a level, responsibly-governed playing field.

Canada’s cultural sector is an enormous source of strength to the Canadian economy and a key contributor to our unique identity as Canadians. Fair, balanced, and evenly applied rules will allow the industry to thrive by promoting consistency, confidence, and trade.

  • ISP accountability (criticism of safe harbour provisions, ISP liability for infringement, replacing ineffective notice-and-notice framework)
  • Removing a $1.25 million broadcaster exemption [s. 68.1(1)(a)(i) of Copyright Act]

Balanced Rights

IP rights that are truly balanced, not just focused on use, will enable everyone to invest in innovation.

Strong, balanced copyright laws are vital to providing jobs and economic opportunities in our cultural and creative sectors. A strong, diverse culture that reflects Canadian identity is only possible when creators are properly incentivized for their valuable work.

  • Term extension (life of author plus 70 years)
  • Limit exceptions (For example, for fair dealing, network services, backup copying, user-generated content such as YouTube, radio receiver set broadcasts, charitable organizations, ephemeral recordings, and temporary reproductions)

Reflect Economic and Technological Realities

Laws should reflect the technological and economic reality of the world that Canadians live in.

Consumption of cultural products is exploding in Canada and worldwide thanks to digital technological developments, but the revenues resulting from that consumption are not being returned fairly to those who create, own, and invest in such products.

Copyright is more important than ever as a tool for governing the digital forums where Canadians communicate and the global markets where they trade, but our laws must be properly designed to protect artists and creators in this online environment.

As cultural industries move from analog to digital, our rapidly-changing media landscape requires a legislative framework that can keep pace with the technological and economic realities that surround new cultural business models—locally and around the world.

  • Update private copying regime (“technological neutrality”)
  • Add Copyright Board resources/deadlines for decisions
  • Reflect international standards (i.e., life plus 70 years term)

The CFM has additional concerns, such as the copyright restrictions that would be imposed by the still-pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and stronger adherence to the WIPO treaties. Those will be contained in a CFM-specific communication to Minister Joly.

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