Tag Archives: reform

CFM Presents List of Copyright Reform Recommendations House of Commons

Copyright act

Caption: CFM representatives appeared before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology to outline their recommendations for amendments to the Copyright Act (L to R) are: AFM/CFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert, Canada Music Publishers Association Executive Director Margaret McGuffin, and Local 406 (Montreal, PQ) Secretary-Treasurer Eric Lefebvre.  (Photo credit: Isabel Metcalf)

June 5, 2018—Yesterday, representatives of the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) appeared before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to outline recommendations for much-needed amendments to the Copyright Act. The consultation follows a presentation made to the Heritage Committee on May 29. In their statements, AFM/CFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert and Local 406 (Montreal, PQ) Secretary-Treasurer Eric Lefebvre called on the committee to lay the foundation for regulatory and policy tools and provide the financial support needed to ensure that Canadian professional musicians thrive in the digital environment now and for the years ahead.  

“Our government must respect the contributions of our creative communities, and the indelible mark that recording artists and professional musicians have made on our cultural identity,” says Willaert. “The amendments we strongly urge the committee to adopt would increase revenue streams to musicians, create sustainable employment, and help to preserve arts and culture in our country.”

Among the list of recommendations, CFM identified changes to the definition of sound recording, eliminating the exemption for radio advertising, and expanding the definition of private copying to include new media devices to be its top priorities.

“Professional musicians are losing a significant part of their livelihood to streaming.  Many can no longer support themselves solely through their music career and are living in poverty,” adds Lefebvre. “Changes to the Copyright Act are critical to the long-term success of all content creators in this digital, globalized world”.

Singer-songwriter Damhnait Doyle of Local 820 (St. John’s, NL), urges the committee to look at the issues on the table and make the amendments that will give the creative community the opportunity to make the choice to continue to be musicians in this country. “Throughout my 25 years as a longstanding and proud member of Local 820 of the Musician’s union, I have only seen the standard of living decrease for those of us who have chosen to make this our profession,” she says. “We are being hammered from every angle, from piracy to streaming, to being at the losing end of exemptions to broadcasters and losing our royalties for our work in film and TV because the definition of “sound recording” needing be redefined, while our American counterparts do get paid for their efforts. Meanwhile the cost of living is continually rising and our middle class has been eviscerated.”

Bringing Licensing Reform into the Digital Age

by Alfonso Pollard, AFM Legislative-Political Director and Diversity Director

Protecting the intellectual property rights of creative artists has long been a primary mission of the AFM. Over the years, Congress has systematically reformed copyright law, taking into account changes in technology, legal precedents, and platform changes used to create, register, distribute, and ensure a performance right for creators. In particular, it has encouraged protections for sound recordings created by artists and enjoyed by hundreds of millions of consumers around the world.

This year, Congress is set to enact sweeping changes in digital copyright law that will provide long-needed reforms in the digital environment. This comes after years of deliberation by AFM leadership, working together with prominent music organizations representing US music publishers, record labels, songwriters, composers, artists, and performance rights organizations (PROs). These reforms are set to provide even greater protections, as well as a statutory performance right law for creators and session musicians.

In a January 8 joint press release from music industry leaders entitled “Licensing Reform Legislation Wins Unified Support of Key Music Leaders,” AFM President Ray Hair expressed the importance of working together to accomplish equity and fairness along all platforms, for all creators, and more notably, obtaining a terrestrial right for musicians whose works are performed on AM-FM radio.

Hair notes, “We stand with all music creators seeking fairness, and urge Congress to act in 2018 to remedy the full range of inequities that harm creators under current law. Musicians welcome the support of the entire music community in urging Congress to enact a terrestrial performance right. It is time for Congress to end the loophole that deprives performers of fair pay for the use of their work on AM-FM radio.”

Hair backs up this notion of parity and equity through his involvement with the creation of H.R. 1836, the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, introduced by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). The bill was developed in national partnership with the musicFIRST Coalition, which represents artists and recording labels. musicFIRST founding partners are the AFM, American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), Society of Singers, Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA), Latin Recording Academy, Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), SAG-AFTRA, SoundExchange, and Vocal Group.

In 2018, the House Judiciary Committee, under the leadership of Chair Robert Goodlatte (R-VA), is expected to take up key pieces of music legislation designed to modernize digital copyright and intellectual rights laws, along with copyright and copyright office reform. In a joint statement, the musicFIRST Coalition formally announced their united support for key pieces of pending legislation.

These bills include HR 4706, The Music Modernization Act of 2017, which reforms section 115 of the Copyright Act and repeals Section 114; HR 3301, The CLASSICS Act, which establishes royalty payments for recordings made before 1972; and HR 881, The AMP Act, which adds producers and engineers who participated in the creation of sound recordings, giving them the right to collect digital royalties going forward. In addition, the coalition supports a market-based rate standard for artists from satellite radio.

Each of these bills takes on problems in the industry that need revision. Most importantly, the AFM, along with its partners, will continue to work toward the passage of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, which would hold broadcasters accountable for the free use of music. This directly affects the livelihood of our members.

Look for email blasts from AFM President Hair asking AFM members to contact their legislators at critical points in the upcoming deliberations. Make sure your voice is heard!

Toronto Police Union Speaks Out Over Reform Measures

Toronto Police Association, representing 8,000 uniform and civilian members, spoke out against proposed changes from a task force set to make the Canada’s largest municipal police service more efficient and effective. The task force has recommended a moratorium on hiring and promotions, which would reduce the ranks by 450 uniform officers through attrition (saving $60 million). It has also explored scheduling changes and identified $30 million that could be saved through “alternative service delivery or shared services” over three years, transferring some of the “nonpolicing” situations to other city departments.

Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack says the compressed workweek shift schedule, and requirement for two officers per patrol care from 4:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. are cast in stone in their collective agreement. “We will ensure, by any legal means necessary, any breaches of the collective agreement will be dealt with swiftly and harshly,” he says, adding in an email that any new model must address “issues around work-life balance and the health and safety of our members.”

Are You Getting the Most from Health Care Reform?

It’s been five years since Congress passed health care reform, but many people are still missing out on possible savings, like lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs, just because they don’t know about them. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (www.cms.gov) and www.healthcare.gov are two websites that can provide detailed information on how you can save on health insurance. The chart below can be used as a general guide.

Are you thinking about getting coverage, but finding yourself overwhelmed by all your options? Visit the Working America Health Care (WorkingAmericaHealthCare.org/AFM) website, or call 1-855-589-4253, to get personalized, unbiased support before, during, and after plan enrollment. As a member of the AFM, you can have a complimentary personal health advocate answer questions about coverage, help you understand your benefits, recommend doctors, help negotiate medical bills, and much more.

Health Insurance Lingo


When people try to explain how the Marketplace health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) works, it may sound like a foreign language. Here is a glossary of some key health insurance words to help you better understand the jargon:

Network: the facilities, providers, and suppliers your health insurer has contracted with to provide health care services. Through your insurance provider you should be able to find out which providers are “in-network,” sometimes called “preferred-providers” or “participating providers.” It may be more expensive to see an “out-of-network” provider. (These networks do change, so check with your provider each time you make an appointment to find out how much you will need to pay.)

Deductible: the amount you owe for health care services your health insurance or plan covers before your health insurance or plan begins to pay. For example, if your deductible is $1,000, your plan won’t pay anything until you’ve met your $1,000 deductible for covered health care services, subject to the deductible. The deductible may not apply to all services.

Co-insurance: your share of the costs of a covered health care service, calculated as a percentage of the allowed amount for the service. You pay co-insurance, plus any deductibles you owe. For example, if the health insurance plan’s allowed amount for an office visit is $100, you’ve met your deductible, and your co-insurance payment is 20%, you would pay $20. The health insurance or plan pays the rest of the allowed amount.

Co-payment or co-pay: an amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for a medical service or supply, like a doctor’s visit, hospital outpatient visit, or prescription drug. A co-payment is usually a set amount, rather than a percentage. For example, you might pay $10 towards a doctor’s visit, lab work, or prescription.

Premium: the amount that must be paid for your health insurance or plan. It is paid monthly, quarterly, or yearly, and is separate from your deductible, your co-payment, or your co-insurance. If you don’t pay your premium, you may lose your coverage.

Out-of-pocket maximum: the most you pay during a policy period (usually one year) before your health insurance or plan pays 100% for covered essential health benefits. This limit includes deductibles, co-insurance, co-payments, or similar charges, and any other expenditure for a qualified medical expense. This limit does not include premiums or spending for nonessential health benefits.

Explanation of benefits (or EOB): a summary of health care charges that your health plan sends you after you see a provider or get a service. It is a record of the health care you, or individuals covered on your policy, received and how much your provider is charging your health plan. If you have to pay more for your care, your provider will send you a separate bill.

Health Insurance Checklist

health care


With more than 10,000 options through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces, it’s critical to know what you want from your health insurance to get the most value for your family. Here’s a list of items you will want to consider.

  • Does the plan provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, maternity care, mental health services, prescription drugs,  and dental and vision care?
  • Does the plan have long waiting periods?
  • Does the plan provide other support and wellness services for its members?
  • How much will the plan cost each year, including the premium, deductible, co-payments and/or co-insurance, and out-of-pocket maximum? What is the lifetime limit on coverage?
  • How large is the plan’s network and how close are you to the plan’s doctors and hospitals?
  • Does the plan have a clear arrangement for specialist referrals?
  • How does the plan’s disputed claims appeal process work?

Even if you’re already insured, it’s still a good idea to shop around with the Working America Health Care program.