Copyright Reform: Industry Reaction & Issues

The House of Commons has approved a parliamentary review of Canada's Copyright Act by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

The music industry has been quick to congratulate government ministers and letting it know that the so-called Value Gap, which concerns copyright takedown regimes and artist remuneration, will be high on the agenda.

The last amendment was the Copyright Modernization Act, which passed into law in 2012 and mandated a review of copyright law every five years, a period that expired this year, at the end of June.

Music Canada, whose principal members are Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music, enthusiastically welcomed the joint announcement from the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

"I applaud Minister Bains and Minister Joly for initiating this review of the Copyright Act," said Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada in a statement Wednesday.

"Music creators and all creators who depend on copyright deserve a Copyright Act that protects their rights when their works are commercialized by others. This is our chance to address the Value Gap threatening the livelihood of Canadian creators and the future of Canadian culture."

Continuing: “Music Canada recently examined the significant changes in business models that are impacting the value chains for copyrighted content in our report, The Value Gap: Its Origins, Impacts and a Made-in-Canada Approach.

He added that Music Canada looks forward to participating in the process to ensure that creators are fairly compensated for the use of their works under the revised Act, noting that "We must ensure this review yields meaningful results."

"A modern copyright framework containing strong IP and copyright provisions is essential for an effective marketplace for music creators," says Artist Advocate Miranda Mulholland. "This Copyright Act review is an important first step in ensuring artists and labels are able to earn a fair market value for their work. Canadian creators have been eagerly awaiting this review."

Similarly, PRO SOCAN released a statement Wednesday that welcomes the House of Commons motion triggering the parliamentary review of the Copyright Act of Canada in 2018.

"Canadian copyright legislation is lagging behind those of other G7 countries, and I hope that, through this review, Canada will want to assume a world leadership position on copyright, as it does on other issues," said Eric Baptiste, SOCAN’s Chief Executive Officer. "In a sector in turmoil, especially with the arrival of new ways to consume and listen to music, more than ever we need strong copyright protection to ensure that music creators and publishers are fairly compensated for their work."

SOCAN is Canada’s largest music organization and, with its combination of members and companies licensed to play music, touches more than a quarter-million Canadian independent and small businesses. SOCAN is also Canada’s largest copyright collection organization, coupling more than four-million music creators worldwide, along with a quarter-million companies and individuals in Canada. The statement added that “with a concerted use of progressive technology and a commitment to lead the global transformation of music rights, SOCAN is dedicated to upholding the fundamental truth that music has value.”

At the time of writing the Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA) had not issued a statement; however, the association ED earlier declared that a review is necessary.

"Trade and export are paramount to the music publishing industry," CMPA executive director Margaret McGuffin said at an event hosted by the Pearson Centre in November. "In order to remain competitive globally, we need a wide-ranging review of the Copyright Act so that Canadians can be in line with our international counterparts."

Currently, Canadian creators hold the copyright for the life of the author plus 50 years. In more than 60 international jurisdictions, including Europe, the U.S. and Australia, the term is life plus 70 years. The agenda is for Canada's copyright legislation to be harmonized with the international community.

Related reading

The fight for fair Copyright returns: Gov’t launches major copyright review – Michael Geist

Canadian government triggers major copyright review – Torrent Freak

A consultation on options for reform to the Copyright Board of Canada – Gov’t of Canada

The Value Gap: It’s origins, impacts and a made-in-Canada approach – Music Canada

Graham Henderson calls for full and meaningful review of the Copyright Act in 2017 – Policy Options

Copyright Reform in Canada – the 2017 Section 92 Review – Howard Knopf, Excess Copyright

Communications Monitoring Report 2017: Broadcasting sector overview – CRTC

How data is driving more cash into Canadian musicians' pockets – Mark Blinch, The Globe & Mail

Bell Canada wants NAFTA deal to crack down on piracy sites – Global News

 

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