Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Canadian Music Creators Speak Out

Today a new voice was heard in the debate over copyright reform in Canada: a group called the Canadian Music Creators Coalition was launched to represent the views of artists. Which artists, you ask?

How about Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sum 41, Raine Maida, Billy Talent, Broken Social Scene, and Sloan, for starters? These are some of the biggest names in Canadian music. Some are signed to major labels, and other to independents. They've banded together to clearly reject the notion that the major labels and their lobbyists speak on their behalf, and to advance a decidedly fan-friendly agenda.

Here are their three guiding principles for the copyright reform process:
  1. Suing our fans is destructive and hypocritical
  2. Digital locks are risky and counterproductive
  3. Cultural policy should support actual Canadian artists.
They expand on these principles to oppose the RIAA-style lawsuits and the harsh statutory copyright damages that make them possible, as well as DRM and DMCA-style legislation that protects it. Moreover, they advocate the notion of fair use to protect consumers, in place of our current, more limited fair dealings provisions, and call on the government to strengthen initiatives that really benefit Canadian artists, like The Canada Music Fund and FACTOR.

This couldn't come at a better time. The new federal government will be taking a fresh look at copyright reform, after Bill C-60 died with the previous session of parliament. They will now be faced with a strong voice putting forward these principles, and I'm sure they will find it difficult to ignore the artists.

C-60 may have seemed quite civilized compared to the DMCA, but viewed through the lens of these principles, it looks positively draconian. Hopefully copyright sanity will prevail in Canada, and the Canadian music will continue to flourish.

And now, I shall go listen to Train Wreck with glee.

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