DAILY NEWS Jun 13, 2008 7:11 AM - 0 comments

Copyright Reform Bill Doesn't Help Canadian Artists: CMCC

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Canadian musicians are not impressed with the new copyright reform bill, ostensibly designed to help protect their interests.

"As we feared, this bill represents an American-style approach to copyright. It's all locks and lawsuits," said Safwan Javed, Canadian Music Creators Coalition (CMCC) member and drummer for Wide Mouth Mason.

The CMCC says it is unimpressed by government claims that the bill strikes the right balance between all the stakeholders. It notes that business groups, creators groups and consumer groups have all expressed their dissatisfaction with the government's continued attempts to pass a copyright bill that does not consider Canadian's interests.

"The question is, who gains from this bill?" explained Brendan Canning, co-founder of Broken Social Scene and a CMCC member. "It's not musicians. Musicians don't need lawsuits, we don't need DRM protection. These aren't the things that help us or our careers. What we do need is a government that is willing to sit down with all the stakeholders and craft a balanced copyright policy for Canada that will not repeat the mistakes made in the United States."

"Rather than building a made-in-Canada proposal to help musicians get paid, the government has chosen to import American-style legislation that says the solution to the music industry's problems is suing our fans," continued Javed. "Suing fans won't make it 1992 again. It's a new world for the music business and this is an old approach."

The CMCC is a coalition of nearly 200 Canadian acts who say they share the common goal of having members' voices heard about the laws and policies that affect their livelihoods.

Until recently, a group of multinational record labels has done most of the talking about what Canadian artists need out of copyright and cultural policy. The labels' legislative proposals facilitate lawsuits against fans and increase the labels' control over the enjoyment of music. These proposals have the labels' interests at heart – not artists' interests, not fans' interests, and certainly not Canada's interests.

The CMCC grew out of a common desire to speak out in Canadian copyright and cultural policy debates. The CMCC is united under three key principles:

Suing Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical

Artists do not want to sue music fans. The labels have been suing our fans against artists' will, and laws enabling these suits cannot be justified in artists' names.

Digital Locks are Risky and Counterproductive *

Artists do not support using digital locks to increase the labels' control over the distribution, use and enjoyment of music or laws that prohibit circumvention of such technological measures. Consumers should be able to transfer the music they buy to other formats under a right of fair use, without having to pay twice.

Cultural Policy Should Support Actual Canadian Artists

The vast majority of new Canadian music is not promoted by major labels, which focus mostly on foreign artists. The government should use other policy tools to support actual Canadian artists and a thriving musical and cultural scene.

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