Tag Archives: alan willaert

new normal

Well, Now What?

Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

The consensus among the leadership and staff of the entertainment-based unions is that the devastation caused by COVID-19 is total and complete. Moreover, if and when business starts to open up and folks slowly return to work, the performing arts will be the last to get the all-clear sign; and then begins the hard part—recovery. Theatres, symphony halls, concert venues and bars are unlikely to suddenly fill with patrons. Indeed, there will be restrictions on numbers and spacing, which means fewer ticket sales and crushed profit margins.

This, on top of a music economy that was already severely weakened by 20 years of digital mayhem, cannibalized by the demonetization of recorded product. For decades, record sales were the lifeblood of musicians, and now have all but totally vanished. From Napster, Pirate Bay, and LimeWire, to the advent of Spotify and the streaming craze, young music fans got used to paying little or nothing for their musical entertainment. For musicians to make a living, that meant constant touring, selling merch and, if they were lucky, a few CDs. Now the venues, tours, concerts, and festivals have vanished, and when the viral dust clears, there will be a reckoning.

An artistic career cannot just be put on hold for months and then just picked up where it left off. The attention span of the modern audience is short, and momentum quickly fades and must be constantly regenerated. While many people will go back to some kind of normal, for musicians there may be nothing to go back to. After all, they are the job, the small business, and it requires hard work, consistency, and luck. The pandemic represents a screwing over of musicians on an epic scale.

There are those that believe that perhaps this virus is a good thing, since the absence of live audiences will finally force the record labels, Google, YouTube, and Amazon to recognize the annihilation, share their windfall, and compensate musicians properly for the content they produce. After all, letting the artists wither away means no creation of content, the very thing these ruthless, global giants have conspired to cheat the artists out of. And, no content, no profits. The hamster will not endlessly run on the treadmill in the absence of food and water.

And now, locked away in self-isolation, a surge in creativity is taking place. Songwriters are inspired, home recording studios are active, and home concerts are springing up everywhere. Is a new model about to emerge, with a new delivery system to audiences? And if it does, will musicians be smart enough to correctly monetize their work? Will they diligently fill out the proper paperwork to cover a streamed performance and ensure their work is union-protected? Or will they simply become online buskers, naively grateful to perform before a handful of Facebook friends, and settling for a few coins tossed in their direction through crowdfunding or virtual ticket sales?

Clearly, the new normal will be nothing like the old, and we may be stuck with it for quite some time. Make sure you have the AFM in your corner. Don’t go out into this new reality alone and unprepared.

going viral

Not What I Meant By ‘Going Viral’

Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

In 1927, a movie called The Jazz Singer was released. As the first “talkie,” it sounded the death knell for live music work in theatres throughout North America. The phasing out of radio orchestras resulted in a large number of musicians being unemployed. However, 2020 will be infamous in history as a virus now identified as COVID-19 effectively shut down an entire entertainment industry in an extremely sudden and devastating manner. This is not what we hoped for when using the term “going viral.”

On March 13, the Canadian Office (CFM) instituted reduced hours, a rotating but skeletal staff, and proceeded to provide services on a work-from-home basis. On that same March 13, work kicked into overdrive as the true extent of the damage became apparent, and action had to be taken quickly to mitigate the toll taken by a total work stoppage.

A letter from the CFM went out immediately to all levels of government because in the initial Federal response workers not normally eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) were off the radar—meaning 98% of Canadian musicians were excluded. The letter stressed the following points:

  • A waiver of the one-week waiting period for EI.
  • Expanding the benefit to include “gig economy,” or freelance workers.
  • Funding for symphony, theatre, and arts organizations to allow them to maintain payroll.
  • Assistance to stimulate and revitalize the industry once the crisis had passed.

Videoconferencing had begun almost immediately with other entertainment unions. CFM was an active participant, and signed on to a joint letter to government, along with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA) and others. We also asked Canadian locals to track, as much as possible, the lost work suffered by their respective memberships. While this was clearly a monumental task, we were able to create a combined spreadsheet, updated weekly, in the event the government was insistent upon having backup data as the only justification for compensation.

Michael Murray, executive director of Local 149 (Toronto, ON), was instrumental in the creation and administration of an online petition containing several recommendations to the government for response to the crisis. A joint letter from CFM and Local 149 was sent to Heritage Minister Guilbeault on March 26. In short, the recommendations were:

  • Ensure that all musicians would be eligible for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
  • Implement Live Arts Labour Tax Credits and Live Arts Labour Rebates.
  • Consider allowing arts and cultural industry companies, including small, medium, and large for-profit, not-for-profit, and charitable companies, to have access to the Business Development Bank’s working capital loans and that these loans are fully forgivable.
  • Consider providing significant targeted funds of at least $50 million to CBC/Radio-Canada to be put towards the wages, production, broadcast, and streaming of live performance studio recordings, within the bounds of public health guidance both during full COVID-19 restrictions and at a time of recovery.
  • Grant a reprieve on the remittance of Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
  • Consider a contribution to each of the AFC, Fondation des Artistes and its affiliated funds, and Unison Benevolent Fund to support their Emergency Financial Assistance Programs at this time of high demand.
  • Consider advocating to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for visa extensions and provide refunds on visa fees.
  • Consider the payout of all grants and subsidies from the Department of Heritage and waive the requirement for completed activity for those who have provided cancellation fees to musicians and other artists.
going viral
AFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert recently had a Zoom meeting with the Canadian Labour Congress, Canada Council. Pictured is a screen
shot of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking during the meeting.

Rosalyn Dennett, who is an Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) staff member at the Canadian Office, has been instrumental in posting updates for available subsidies, as well as all things COVID-19, in our social media outlets. In addition, she has created a one-stop centre for all information in the Canadian section of the AFM website, located at www.cfmusicians.org/resources.

The CFM was also asked to participate in a task force, spearheaded by the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA). This has proven useful because the employers of the entertainment industry are also shut down, and they have many of the same concerns as the musicians whom they employ. A united voice to government, on behalf of the industry as a whole, is far more likely to be a credible barometer, wherever our objectives are not contrary.

We are also participating in a separate coalition of entertainment unions, specifically IATSE, CAEA, AFM, and Associated Designers of Canada (ADC). Again, as one voice, we are in the process of creating a letter to government to identify long-term issues, and make suggestions for the industry to re-energize, once clearance to return to work is given. These issues are:

  • Income earning thresholds should be implemented to allow live performance workers/artists to generate a reasonable level of “gig” income while still in receipt of Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) support.
  • Seasonal and contractor workers/artists who would have generated income from live performance work in the spring and fall of 2020 but for the health crisis should be entitled to the CERB.
  • The duration of the CERB for live performance workers/artists needs to be extended to at least until the end of 2020 given the fact that the recovery of the live performance industry to its pre-health crisis norm will take at least that long.
  • Live performance employers should be able to claim the 75% wage subsidy for all regular full-time, part-time, contract, and/or seasonal workers/artists.
  • Live performance employers should be able to claim the 75% wage subsidy for all workers/artists irrespective of whether those workers/artists are engaged as traditional “employees” or in a self-employed capacity.
  • The duration of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for live performance employers needs to be extended to at least until the end of 2020 given the fact that the recovery of the live performance industry to its pre-health crisis norm will take at least that long.

In addition to the foregoing, we propose the following additional support initiatives for the federal government’s consideration to assist the arts and culture industry in its health crisis recovery:

1. Specific Arts and Culture Emergency Economic Support

  • Increase funding allocations to the Canada Arts Council and various provincial arts bodies that will allow those bodies to utilize their expertise to allocate additional funds to arts and culture organizations to assist them in attracting live audience attendees—using an organization’s previous years’ ticket sales averages as the eligibility criteria for funding amounts (i.e. providing organizations funding equal to 50% of the average of the previous five years’ ticket sales so that the organization can attract audiences with reduced ticket prices).
  • It is our understanding that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy does not include municipally/provincially run venues if they are owned by a provincial and or municipal entity. We therefore ask for the inclusion of municipally/provincially run venues in the CEWS or commitment of separate funds earmarked exclusively to assist in the recovery for municipally and provincially run venues.
  • Amend the Income Tax Act on a temporary basis so that live performance ticket purchases are treated as charitable donations for tax purposes for 2020 and 2021.
  • Devise and implement federal tax credit incentives for live performance organizations similar to the types of provincial tax incentive policies that have given rise to record-setting levels of film and television production across Canada.
  • Identify and implement longer-term financial assistance initiatives that recognize the recovery of the live performance industry will take much longer than any other industry.

2. National Marketing Campaign to Rediscover and Support the Arts

  • Work with all arts and culture stakeholders to design, implement, and fund a national marketing campaign aimed at encouraging Canadians to return to the various arts and culture venues as patrons and audiences.
  • As part of any marketing campaign, allocate funding to provincial and municipal organizations to enable them to use their expertise to design and implement more focused localized campaigns collaboratively with stakeholders.

3. Safe Return for Workers and Audiences

  • Work with all arts and culture stakeholders and all levels of provincial and municipal government to design and implement appropriate public health protocols that will provide an environment for the safe return of workers/artists and audiences to the various arts and culture venues.

As you can see, we continue to be involved in many initiatives in an ongoing effort to ease the stresses imposed on our members because of this worldwide phenomenon. But, make no mistake—musicians would have not been included in the CERB without the persistence of the CFM and our sister unions to ensure that “gig economy” artists would be covered, and that any incidental revenue they had because of students, royalties, or other small amounts of income would not render them ineligible. When I pressed him for answers during the CMPA videoconference, Minister Guilbeault stated emphatically that he had heard our message “loud and clear,” and that adjustments would be made to accommodate our freelance players.

While none of us can predict what the short-term future is of the COVID-19 fiasco, please be aware that your union is doing everything it can, along with our partners, to ensure our members are included in all government subsidies, and to provide a positive transition into the world post-virus. For now, please embrace safe practices and distancing, that you and your families remain safe and healthy.

domestic digital royalty

$67 in Average Domestic Digital Royalty Payments—That’s It?

Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

The Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), Canada’s performance rights organization (PRO) representing more than 135,000 Canadian songwriters, composers, and publishers, has released some numbers on its collection and distribution for 2019. Over $400 million (CAD) was collected, the highest in the 30-year history of the organization, and an increase of 8% over 2018.

Continue reading

Festival Alert! Which Ones Are Cool and Which Ones Are Not

Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

Negotiations are underway once again for the 2020 festival year, and there are details that members need to be aware of. Please take the time to read through this list, and, if in doubt, call your local for the latest information.

The Junos – Cool

Our agreement with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences expired after the last event, and we have since negotiated
a new deal covering the next three years. Juno week is comprised of two parts: Junofest and the awards show. Each is covered by a separate CFM contract. Junofest contains fees and pension for performances during the week leading up to the awards, and the Juno telecast is done under a letter of adherence to the CFM General Production Agreement. This year, the Junos are in Saskatoon, and all indications are that it will be a tremendous success.

Canadian Country Music Awards – Cool

The CCMA agreement also must be renegotiated, and bargaining was scheduled for February 28 in Toronto. Historically, the association has treated our members very well, and I do not anticipate any variation from that trend. The week prior to the show is also covered by a separate agreement from that of the broadcast, which is also done under the General Production Agreement. The live performances have fees and pension, as does the broadcast. This year’s event is back in Hamilton, Ontario.

East Coast Music Awards – Cool

The three-year deal with the ECMA is also up for renewal, and we have just returned from Halifax where we were successful in negotiating a tentative deal. Pending approval by the East Coast Music Association’s board, we will have another multi-year deal which includes fees and pension for the live performances as well as for the live-streamed award show. The ECMA’s move to a different Atlantic Province each year, with the 2020 event scheduled for St. John’s, Newfoundland.

BreakOut West – NOT Cool!

The Federation has been without a deal with the Western Canadian Music Association for the past three years, since the entity took the position that the venues “showcasing” live musicians as part of their event “are not gigs, but networking opportunities.” As expected, the CFM begs to differ. If musicians are on stage performing for the public, where liquor and food are served, it’s a gig. The Federation tried to negotiate a deal at the time but was unsuccessful as the WCMA were quite married to their new model.

Two years ago, along with the Alberta Federation of Labour, members from Edmonton, Calgary, and a healthy contingent from the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra staged an impressive rally in front of the host hotel, which generated a significant amount of media attention. We were unable to follow up with a similar demonstration last year, since the event took place in Whitehorse, Yukon. In 2020, the festival is scheduled to be in Winnipeg, which is the location of the WMCA offices. It’s also a place where there are 600 AFM members to draw from, should we not get a deal and initiate informational pickets.

The Federation has made a preliminary outreach to the WCMA, with a view to resuming negotiations for a fair contract. To date, there has been no response. While we have every intention of continuing our efforts, at this time, the BreakOut West Festival remains on the Unfair List, and we must therefore insist that our members DO NOT ACCEPT ANY ENGAGEMENT FROM BREAKOUT WEST. We will keep you updated on any changes, as necessary.

Except for BreakOut West, enjoy the festival season and we hope that your paid performances provide a useful vehicle to international connections and profitable work abroad.


2020: Fighting For the Right to Make a Living

Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

Much has been written in the past several months, by President Hair and others, about the motion picture/TV film negotiations that have commenced once again in Los Angeles; however, it cannot be stressed enough how important this round is. At stake are residuals on New Media, a form of broadcast which has risen above the others as being the choice for consumption in the future. On the one hand, we have the industry, which is loath to give up even the most miniscule amount of their vast profits, simply because corporate greed is a real thing. On the other hand, we have the musicians who do the film and TV work, collectively looking at that future in dismay.

The players have done their research. They can see that diminishing music budgets mean less union work as composers are forced to go dark, record off-shore, or simply produce music “in the box.” Where, then, will sufficient earnings be found to sustain a viable career in music? The simple answer is that fees must be tied to the back end—as the content generates profits through distribution, subscriptions, or advertising revenue, a piece should be carved off for those involved in the music.

While some negotiations prove to be anti-climactic, such is not the case this time. The musicians are engaged—eager to participate in both the bargaining and the garnering of public support. The fact that so many show up with their instruments at rallies is inspiring. The tour bus, carrying musicians to their energetic performances in front of industry executives’ homes on an early Sunday morning, is nothing short of fantastic. While the prize is still not within sight, these dedicated players have certainly gotten the attention of Hollywood money.

Of course, Los Angeles is not the only location where the digital age has wrought devastation. In a recent CBC Sunday Edition, Matt Zimbel of Local 406 (Montreal, PQ), member of the jazz super-group Manteca, had this to say: “The digital age has given us two ‘gifts.’ The technology used for playback sounds terrible and our recorded music no longer has any monetary value.”

Matt then proceeds to plant his tongue firmly in cheek and explain to a friend how the record business is much more profitable than film and television: “I explained that last week I received my royalty statements for a TV series I had created and produced. It cost $1.2 million to make and had been on YouTube for a year. My royalties for 12 months were—are you sitting down?—.01 cent. Cent. Not even plural. No “S” required. .01 cent! On the other hand, I got my music statement for our 11th CD recording and for only three months we got the whopping sum of .01 cent. But it was only for three months. You don’t need an MBA to see how much more profitable music is!”

And then his statement of the reality: “Hey, our chart numbers are off the hook. The shows? Man, standing room only. Likes are in the millions. Hit me on Insta—we’re killing it! But really, truth be known, we’re not killing it, we’re just dying.”

Add that to the fact that over 200 musicians recently signed a letter demanding that the Québécois government take action so that they can receive fair compensation from music streaming services such as Spotify—most of them long-time, prominent members of the musicians’ guild (Local 406)—and the desperation begins to become crystal clear. The US-based market posted profits of $5.4 billion during the first six months alone. Meanwhile, Spotify pays artists $0.004 per stream, on average. As for the non-featured musicians in Canada? Forget about it.

And so, 2020 is shaping up to be a year when disgruntled, unfairly-treated musicians put on their union hats and begin a collective effort to restore to the music industry what has been ripped away by technology and corporations—the right to make a living.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our members in the US and Canada peace and fulfillment during this Holiday season, and the very best for the New Year.

streaming contracts

Canadian Content Production Rules (CCPR) – Yesterday and Today

Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

I will begin with the reason for this particular subject matter. On July 16th, negotiations with the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) came to an abrupt halt when I stood up and walked out of the room (while uttering expletives and colourful metaphors). Before I explain why, you must first indulge me in a journey through some Canadian AFM history.

There are two contracts which have for many years been the bible for movies and television drama: the Theatrical Motion Picture Agreement and the Television Film Agreement. Both are excellent, and have the additional advantage of channelling payments into the Film Musicians’ Secondary Market Fund (FMSMF). Through the years, in order to monetize changes in distribution, the primary session fee of both agreements has been deliberately set on the low side. However, as the product moved to supplemental markets (think in-flight movies, pay TV, videocassette/DVD rental and sales, free TV, and sales to other countries), this would generate mandatory payments into the Fund on behalf of the musicians who participated in the score. In the end, those residuals resulted in significantly higher payouts than what could be bargained for a session.

However, while those agreements were used in Canada, the results were quite different. First of all, the US is the big dog when it comes to the production of audiovisual content. With our population being one-tenth of the US, Canada’s footprint is proportionately smaller—and narrower. While it’s not unusual to hear of a US film budget in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the vast majority of Canadian films are well below $5 million. Most are what used to be called “movie of the week.” There are also documentaries, some episodic television drama and features that are entirely “Canadian Content.” To assist Canadian producers in finding capital to produce at all, there are federal and provincial tax credits for qualifying content, along with the ability to partner with foreign entities and produce “treaty” films. Some of this funding comes by way of a certificate issued by the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO) and is acquired by scoring high enough on a point system to merit approval.

I am oversimplifying for the sake of space, but another factor is the absence of “big” Hollywood studios. There are very few based in Canada, with some exceptions, meaning they don’t own/distribute the production once it has been completed, but rather produce on behalf of another entity—primarily a Canadian broadcaster. In order to keep everything straight (for the tax credits and other necessary financing), a separate numbered company is opened to produce each film, or season of episodic drama. Once production is completed, the company is terminated.

This vastly different system (and market) created some problems for AFM members working under the MP/TV Film agreements, one being that each individual numbered company would have to become signatory to the agreements. Since the doors would close at the end of production, there were not many takers. If they did sign, once production ended, there was no entity left to pay any residuals into the FMSMF. Further, because of the type of productions these were, it was unlikely that a Canadian product would go further than television, and therefore, little opportunity for supplemental market residuals. Canadian session players would be recording for the same session fees as their LA counterparts, but would see residuals of $10 as opposed to thousands, or nothing at all.

To remedy the inequity and recognize the vast difference in production, around 1995, Canadian composers—now known as the Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC)—consulted with former vice president from Canada Ray Petch, and shortly thereafter his successor, David Jandrisch, to find a remedy. Hence was born the Canadian Content Production Rules (CCPR). While I am unclear as to just how many folks were involved, I know that David Jandrisch and Local 149 (Toronto, ON) member/composer Glenn Morley played significant roles in the structure and language, as well as former Administrative Assistant Len Lytwyn. I’m sure Glenn or Dave will correct any inaccuracy.

CCPR was/is a short document, and lives as an addendum to the MP/TV Film Agreements for the production of CAVCO-certified or Canadian content in Canada. The premise is simple: The mandatory payments into the FMSMF are waived in favour of a higher session fee. In reality, it’s a pre-payment to the musicians to replace the residual. Because of this, the production may be distributed worldwide, to all markets in perpetuity. While often mistakenly referred to as a “buy-out,” it’s really only a pre-payment on distribution. The fees do not include other uses of the music, or repurposing in any way. To be clear, CCPR is not to be used by US companies who are currently a signatory to the other agreements. There is an application that must be completed, and certain criteria must be met.

For many years, CCPR flourished and producers were happy to sign on. However, in the 24 years that have passed, the industry has transformed radically, and that includes productions in Canada. Filing of CCPR paperwork (and the accompanying B7 report forms) has declined significantly in recent years, and there is more than one reason. With the surge of different broadcast models (i.e. streaming services), production budgets have dropped, which includes post-production (and scoring) budgets. The producers are offering less money to composers to deliver a completed product. Sometimes, the composers choose to use musicians in other countries (e.g. Prague, Bratislava) to keep costs down. Of course, none of that can be filed as AFM. And more often than not, the composer is compelled to hire no musicians at all and produce the music “in the box.”

Clearly, producers and distributors are still making profit as there is more content being produced than ever before, but it doesn’t seem to be available for music. So where is the money now? In a word—streaming.

To those of us in the Canadian Office, it became obvious that CCPR, in its present form, had outlived its usefulness. If producers were not offering a sufficient music budget, then musicians must be resourceful and find other means to maintain their scoring business. The agreement must be rewritten to allow for revenue to be extracted from what is now at least a $40 billion market worldwide—online streaming services. This is also the reason we entered into negotiations with the CMPA, to establish a new, forward-thinking agreement that recognized where the money is, and give musicians a fair share.

In our first meeting with CMPA, we tabled a reworked version of the General Production Agreement, as used with broadcasters such as the CBC. After one pass back from them, it became clear that broadcasters and producers (when they are not the same entity), are different animals. The next four rounds of negotiations were extremely busy, as the AFM team worked toward a complete rewrite of an independent production agreement for use in Canada. In March of this year, we sent a complete pass to the CMPA, and while it no longer looked anything like our first proposals, the team was confident that we had constructed a fair and comprehensive agreement which both recognized the quirky differences of Canadian production and presented multiple alternatives for the fair compensation of AFM musicians.

We now come to July 16. CMPA had prepared a response to every article of our proposal. As they read through them, my heart fell. None of the major points were accepted; in fact, what they came back with was worse than the original CCPR.

On the subject of streaming residuals—knowing most of their member producers would have difficulty in making payments once production was complete—we offered two alternatives. One was the standard percentage of distributor’s gross—the musicians make money if the producer makes money. The other was a term buy—a pre-payment for the number of years required, which could be made at any time. This would allow the producer to easily budget in advance, based on their licensing deal. CMPA deleted both proposals, unwilling to share any of the streaming revenues, despite the fact that other unions already have it.

While there were many additional aspects which clearly demonstrated that CMPA had no respect for musicians, they also eliminated composers from the agreement. Notwithstanding that we had presented a letter from the SCGC requesting their inclusion, CMPA took the position they didn’t belong in an agreement specific to scoring music (yes, you read that correctly). Further, they insisted upon eliminating provisions for musicians who are captured on camera (“sidelining”). All of these existed in the CCPR language. At that moment on July 16, the overwhelming feeling was that we were facing a team of greedy, anti-musician union-busters, giving rise to my angry reaction to walk away.

Will we get back to the bargaining table? While I hope so, as it would be in the best interests of all concerned, there will have to be a different attitude emanating from the CMPA side of the table. What about CCPR? We have given notice to CMPA that CCPR terminates on December 31. It will be replaced by a document which recognizes the current realities in television and film production; a document which provides musicians with pension contributions, fair wages, and a doorway into the billions being made from streaming that is currently being horded by the large corporations and digital companies. Producers wishing to utilize AFM musicians may do so by utilizing this new agreement; or, they can use one of the other AFM agreements already negotiated and ratified—such the MP/TV Film, or the General Production Agreement (CBC). Whichever way it goes, we are further ahead than agreeing to the table scraps that were being offered by CMPA. Obviously, this story has more chapters to be written.


Labour Gears Up for War

Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

When the gavel dropped to open the May 14 meeting of the Canada Council of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the tone was a mix of elation and trepidation. On the one hand, celebration had begun for the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, an event in history which forever changed the landscape for labour laws across the country. But the elation soon diminished, as provincial reports of Conservative electoral victories—and the bellwether that lies therein—sets the stage for what may become the greatest struggle the labour movement has yet seen in this country.

Continue reading
directives on copyright

The EU Directive on Copyright

Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

I recently attended a briefing sponsored by the Canadian Music Publishers Association at the law offices of Cassels Brock. The keynote speakers were Erich Carey, vice president and senior counsel at the National Music Publishers Association, and John Phelan, director general of the International Confederation of Music Publishers.

Continue reading

Canadian Office Prepares for Busy Season

Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

As we enter the spring and summer seasons, the Canadian Office will be embroiled in a plethora of negotiations, both for successor and new agreements. Added to that is a very busy conference and convention schedule, beginning with the Canadian Labour Conference’s celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike in mid-May. A significant event in Canadian history, the six-week action resulted in many labour reforms followed by a golden age of prosperity for the labour movement.

Continue reading
married to the band

Married to the Band

Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

Bands break up. Even The Beatles were victims of change, whether it’s external, internal, or personal.

When musicians get together and form a band in Canada, the least of their worries is the myriad of legal implications of being in a Canadian musical group. When successful, bands generally stay together longer, but eventually something triggers the split of one member or perhaps everyone. Then comes the hard part: who owns what?

Continue reading