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Tag archive: Copyright (13)

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Debora Spar Op-Ed ‘Return to the Era of Rule-Making’ featured in The Hill Times

In an op-ed published today in The Hill Times, distinguished Harvard professor and author Debora Spar examined how rapid technological advancements have affected the evolution of the recorded music industry – highlighting how governments worldwide are reforming their copyright legislation to contend with the rising impact of these digital-based streaming services and user-upload platforms.

The article was adapted from a keynote speech Spar delivered at Music Canada’s 2018 Playback event in October. In her remarks, she discussed her groundbreaking 2001 book Ruling the Waves: From the Compass to the Internet, a History of Business and Politics along the Technological Frontier.

In the piece, Spar outlined the book’s thesis that the Internet – like of a long chain of communications technologies that began with the printing press, telegraph, and then the radio – was destined to go through four major phases of political and commercial evolution.

These four phases include:

  1. Innovation
  2. Commercialization
  3. Creative Anarchy
  4. Rule-Making

From here, the piece highlights how the progression of these four stages parallels  major developments within the music industry, with the ‘innovation’ stage occurring in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Spar goes on to discuss how the industry is now in the hypothesized ‘rule-making’ stage – pointing to government initiatives like Canada’s ongoing Copyright Act Review as evidence we are in this final phase of regulation and enforcement.

Read the full Hill-Time piece here.

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Miranda Mulholland highlights copyright and artist remuneration issues at the 2018 World Trade Organization Public Forum

In October 2018, Canadian musician and artist advocate Miranda Mulholland participated in the the World Trade Organization Public Forum 2018 in Geneva as part of a panel discussion on the future of innovation and creativity.

The panel also featured Richard Bagger, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Market Access at Celgene, and Nicholas Hodac, Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive, IBM, and was moderated by Ellen Szymanski, Executive Director, Global Innovation Policy Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In her remarks, Mulholland provided a stark picture of the current realities of artist remuneration in this increasingly digitized musical landscape. She outlined the differences in opportunities for artists in the 1980’s and 1990’s, whose earnings sustained their livelihood and enabled them to enter the middle class –  in a way that artists today are simply not able to.

Photos: © WTO/Jay Louvion

“Royalty checks that once paid for a down-payment on a home for those lucky enough to be working before the digital disruption, only amount to enough to buy a cup of coffee today.”

Indeed, rapid technological and digital advancements has meant that music has become instantly accessible, in a variety of mediums and services. Yet, the remuneration of creators and musicians for the use and commercialization of this work has not matched the pace of these developments.

Mulholland connected this reality to the phenomenon of the Value Gap: the significant disparity between the value of creative content that is accessed by consumers, and the revenues that are returned to its creators.

She ended her remarks by reflecting on the positive regulatory and legislative steps that have been occurring at the federal level worldwide. Canada’s ongoing statutory review of the Copyright Act, as well the EU’s review of the Copyright Directive have both created opportunities for meaningful reforms that better protect creators.

Watch Miranda Mulholland’s full remarks below.

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At Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Miranda Mulholland illustrates why urgent action to address the Value Gap is needed

Last Thursday, musician, label owner and music festival founder Miranda Mulholland appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s study of remuneration models for artists and creative industries, where she shared her personal experience as an artist living in the Value Gap.

She began by making Committee members aware that although they may not recognize her, they had most certainly heard her play. “Over the last 19 years, I have played or sung on hundreds of recorded songs on over 50 records including many JUNO Award nominated or winning albums,” she said. “I have done film and television work – you can hear my fiddle playing on every episode of Republic of Doyle and in the film Maudie and on the Good Things Grow in Ontario jingle.”

Mulholland then stated that creators are storytellers and that the story she would tell them today had a beginning, a middle and that she hoped that she and the Committee members would write the end together.

After outlining how she got her start in music, becoming a fiddle player as the digital revolution took off, Mulholland spoke about the Value Gap, and what it has meant to her career.

Mulholland then referenced previous testimonies that the Committee has heard, from artists like Andrew Morrison of the JUNO-nominated group The Jerry Cans, and Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson, who both spoke of the disappearance of middle class artists.
Mulholland underscored this point, stating: “The musician middle class is gone – and even the ladder to get there is gone.”

In the middle of her dynamic and authentic presentation, Mulholland proposed four immediately actionable solutions that Committee members could recommend to help improve the framework, which are captured in the video embedded below.


Approaching the end of her story, Mulholland expressed hope that the Committee would help write the ending. Referencing the recent actions that lawmakers in Europe and the United States have taken to help close the Value Gap, Mulholland expressed hope that the Heritage and Industry Committees can work with artists like herself to fix the broken framework and update the laws to reflect artists’ day to day lives.

Her testimony was encapsulated by one of her closing remarks: “Artists have adapted and we need our laws to do the same.”

Mulholland’s dynamic and authentic presentation seemed to truly engage members of the Committee. Following her testimony, Pierre Breton, Member of Parliament for Shefford, Quebec, commented:

Wow, thank you for your excellent presentations. It’s really from the heart, and I would say that you are excellent at explaining the issues – so if there is anyone who had a hard time understanding the scope of the challenge that you’ve been living through, well, now they understand it. Thank you for your testimony – it was exceptional. These are very sensible recommendations in my opinion, and they could be implemented very quickly.

Martin Shields, Member of Parliament for Bow River, Alberta, said:

I think you’re passionate, I think you’re great – but I understand fairness, and what we have is an industry that needs fairness, and we need legislation changed.

During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Breton asked Mulholland which of the recommendations she offered could have a quick impact if enacted by government. Mulholland replied:

Each one would have an immediate effect. The first one, the radio royalty exemption, getting rid of that subsidy – and again, subsidizing – artists are subsidizing the big media conglomerates – that needs to stop. And if that ended, that money would be filtered through into artists pockets immediately.

Same with sound recording … I just played with Alan Doyle on a new kids show that he’s writing the music for… if this was enacted and the sound recording wording was changed, as soon as that is played, I will get paid for my work – so that would help me immediately.

The private copying – that would help immediately as well.

And having a term extension would help me value my work for longer, so I would be able to leverage that if I was talking to a publisher or a label about my catalog. So all four would help me right now.”

Anju Dhillon, Member of Parliament for Dorval — Lachine — LaSalle, asked Mulholland:

In many interviews you’ve done, I noticed that you’re talking about how the Copyright Act is not protecting creators and artists – what concrete changes would you like to see to the Copyright Act so that we can have more fairness and money can be distributed from the distributors to the creators?”

Mulholland replied that right now, she and her creator colleagues are subsidizing billionaires. She told Dhilllon, “the subsidies need to stop – so that would be the radio royalty exemption… it was supposed to be temporary, and it needs to be removed… We just want to have a functioning marketplace.

Following the hearing, Committee members enthusiastically thanked and congratulated Mulholland for her concise and moving testimony.

(l-r) Members of Parliament Randy Boissonnault, Julie Dabrusin, Anju Dhillon and Pierre Breton with Miranda Mulholland

 


Full video of the September 20, 2018, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage hearing is available on the House of Commons website.

 

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Unanimous U.S. Senate support for Music Modernization Act is further evidence Canada must act to close the Value Gap

Music Canada joins our American counterparts in applauding the United States Senate following its unanimous passage of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) yesterday evening. The MMA, which was broadly supported by music organizations across the United States, is a comprehensive bill that includes the CLASSICS Act, legislation that guarantees artists and labels who recorded music before 1972 a federal right to be paid for those recordings when played by digital radio outlets.

The U.S. music community was united in its support of the MMA, with organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America, the National Music Publishers Association, ASCAP, SoundExchange, musicFIRST, and the Recording Academy advocating strongly for the bipartisan bill. Thousands of artists spoke up in support of the legislation, including Roseanne Cash and Dionne Warwick, who advocated for the bill in the House of Representatives; Smokey Robinson, who testified at the U.S. Senate; and Maren Morris and Adam Levine, who were vocal supporters of the bill on social media.

“We congratulate all of the artists and advocates who spoke up so passionately in support of the Music Modernization Act. As we saw with the European Parliament vote, governments are listening to creators and recognizing the need to update the legislation that affects their careers,” says Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada.

“In the past week, we have seen overwhelming support for this type of legislation from Canada’s two largest trading partners, further underlining the need for Canada to follow through with meaningful reforms,” adds Henderson. “Our government has heard from creators – the Value Gap is an urgent issue that must be addressed. It’s now time for our government to seize the opportunity and close the Value Gap in Canada.”

Music Canada has been the leading advocate for addressing the Value Gap in Canada. Our recent report, The Value Gap: Its Origins, Impacts and a Made-in-Canada Approach, examines the Value Gap and its causes, and demonstrates how it impacts artists, businesses and our nation’s cultural foundations, with a particular focus on music. The report includes recommended steps that Canada’s federal government can take today to address the inequities that artists face due to the Value Gap.

Music Canada is encouraged by the progress made in the U.S. and EU, and remains committed to continuing to work with the government of Canada to close the Value Gap here at home.

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Landslide European Copyright Directive vote is a call to action for legislators globally to fix the Value Gap

Music Canada joins our European counterparts in applauding the European Parliament for today’s historic vote on the European Copyright Directive. The vote is a vital step towards ensuring Europe’s creators are paid fairly when their work is consumed online, and provides a strong example for other governments to follow to support their own creators.

“Congratulations to the European Parliament on today’s historic vote to create a framework for creativity to flourish in the digital marketplace. We also need to acknowledge the incredible impact of creator voices to this campaign – thank you to all of the artists who spoke up with such passion and honesty,” says Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada.

“Today’s landslide vote is a call to action for governments around the world – We must all act with urgency. The Value Gap is a global issue of critical importance to the current and future health of creators and the creative industries. Here in Canada, our Heritage and Industry’s committees have heard loud and clear from creators that the Value Gap threatens Canadian culture and needs to be fixed. These committees have done excellent work so far and they must seize this opportunity. Let’s close the Value Gap NOW!”

In 2017 Music Canada released The Value Gap: Its Origins, Impacts and a Made-in-Canada Approach. The first-of-its-kind report describes the Value Gap as “the significant disparity between the value of creative content that is accessed and enjoyed by consumers, and the revenues that are returned to the people and businesses who create it.” To protect the livelihoods of creators, businesses and cultures, creators and creative groups around the globe have been urging governments to enact legislative changes to ensure creators receive fair compensation for the use of their works.

The European vote comes as the Canadian government is conducting its own review of the Copyright Act. Numerous stakeholders have raised the Value Gap as a key issue at the Standing Committee for Industry, Science and Technology, as well as the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s study on Remuneration Models for Artists and Creative Industries. Additionally, through Focus On Creators, more than 3,700 creators have signed a letter urging the government to place creators at the heart of our country’s cultural policy.

A release from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada states that a “well-functioning copyright framework should enable Canada’s creators to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by digital technology, provide a supportive environment for business and investment, and position creators for success in a competitive marketplace.”

Music Canada is committed to continuing to work with the government of Canada throughout the review process to close the Value Gap here at home.

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#EveryStage: Why copyright is so crucial for Canada’s music sector and an important part of Music Canada’s advocacy efforts

Leading up to the 47th annual JUNO Awards, Music Canada is highlighting the ways in which our advocacy supports Canadian artists at every stage of their careers. So far, we have profiled our work regarding music education and Music Cities. In this week’s edition, we highlight our advocacy efforts regarding copyright, which is crucial for all artists.

Copyright effectively underpins the entire music ecosystem – it is copyright that allows creators to sell and license their music in today’s wide array of platforms, and it is copyright that protects the investment that artists and labels make in their career.  As the Canadian Intellectual Property Office outlines in the video below, copyright allows creators to control how their work is used and allows them to monetize their work when it is used.

Music Canada represents Canada’s recording industry to government and public agencies on many different fronts, including how laws, regulations and policies affect music creators. Federally, copyright advocacy is a big part of that role. In addition, Music Canada plays an important role as a collaborator with artists and other industry organizations in the Canadian music and cultural industries to advocate for the creation of a functioning marketplace where creators are paid fairly every time their work is used. Music Canada is a thought-leader on the importance of strong support for creators in the Copyright Act, particularly in highlighting the real-world effects it has on artists and their livelihoods. Reforming Canada’s Copyright Act to ensure that creators are paid when their work is commercialized by others is our top priority.

Currently, the biggest challenge for the music industry in Canada and around the world is known as the Value Gap. The Value Gap is defined as the significant disparity between the value of creative content that is accessed and enjoyed by consumers, and the revenues that are returned to the people and businesses who create it.

At the heart of the Value Gap for music is misapplied and outdated “safe harbour” provisions in copyright law, which result in creators having to forego copyright royalty payments to which they should be entitled, and amount to a system of subsidies to other industries.

Music Canada’s recent report, The Value Gap: Its Origins, Impacts and a Made-in-Canada Approach, examines the Value Gap and its causes, and demonstrates how it impacts artists, businesses and our nation’s cultural foundations, with a particular focus on music. The report includes recommended steps that Canada’s federal government can take today to address the inequities that artists face due to the Value Gap.

In addition to our Value Gap research, Music Canada has been a lead advocate for reforming the Copyright Board. This is another priority for the music sector, as the rates set by the Board directly impact the value of music and the amount that artists and labels receive for their music and investments. Music Canada is calling on the federal government to reform the Board so that tariff rates are set faster, more efficiently and more predictably – all in the name of royalties that better reflect the true value of music in a functioning music marketplace.

As part of Music Canada’s advocacy on Board reform, we have participated in the Senate hearings on the Copyright Board, the government consultation on reforming the Board, and the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s Review of the Canadian Music Industry, each time appearing as a key stakeholder in favour of full and meaningful reforms. Music Canada’s Graham Henderson also raised the issue in a recent Policy Options op-ed, and in a speech before the Economic Club of Canada citing the need for reform of the Copyright Board as a key priority for government.

Next week, as JUNO Week kicks off in Vancouver, we’ll conclude our #EveryStage series by profiling Music Canada’s efforts to celebrate success in Canada’s music sector, including our Gold/Platinum program and partnerships with the JUNOS and other awards that celebrate Canadian music.

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Leading Canadian copyright lawyer says “support for Canada’s content creators is imperative” in Globe and Mail op-ed

Barry Sookman, one of Canada’s leading copyright lawyers, wrote an op-ed published in The Globe and Mail on January 18, addressing two of the major challenges facing the cultural industries in Canada: pirate streaming and the Value Gap. The piece was later posted in its full, unedited length on Sookman’s personal website.

Sookman says that “our outdated legal frameworks” are a significant contributing cause of these challenges. He references Music Canada’s 2017 report The Value Gap: Its Origins, Impacts and a Made-In-Canada Approach, which shows that “the market value of music in Canada is still a fraction of what it once was, and equitable remuneration for access to music remains elusive.”

The report defines the Value Gap as the “significant disparity between the value of creative content that is accessed and enjoyed by consumers, and the revenues that are returned to the people and businesses who create it.”

As Sookman points out, the Value Gap is not only a problem for music creators. He says that most of Canada’s leading cultural industries are also affected, including journalism, television and film.

A coalition of author and publisher groups have documented the harm caused by the Value Gap to their sector, and in 2017 launched the I Value Canadian Stories campaign to urge Canadian lawmakers to “restore balance between the need to compensate our creators for educational copying and the need to promote access to quality content.” The campaign website notes that royalties to creators and publishers for copying of their works have declined by 80% since 2013.

Sookman concludes that, given the magnitude of this problem and the threat to Canada’s cultural industries, the issue, as well as practical solutions, “deserve the attention and support of Canadians.”

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Miranda Mulholland and 100 fellow creators call for real and meaningful reform to the Copyright Board of Canada

In August of 2017, Canada’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister, Navdeep Bains, in conjunction with Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced the launch of consultations on reforming the Copyright Board of Canada. According to the government’s release, the goal of Copyright Board reform is to “enable creators to get paid properly and on time.”

Miranda Mulholland is a violinist, singer, label owner, and the recipient of Music Canada’s inaugural Artist Advocate Award for her outstanding achievements in advocating for the rights and livelihoods of music creators. One of those achievements is becoming the first creator to deliver a keynote address to the Economic Club of Canada. Another is rallying her fellow musicians on the importance of reforming the Copyright Board and her submission of two letters to the Canadian government.

The first letter was submitted on behalf of “Canadian musicians, independent label owners and creative entrepreneurs – at all stages of their careers” 100 of whom added their names. The letter states “While only part of our income comes from royalties collected by collective societies, the rates set by the Board directly impact the value of our music, and our ability to earn a living from it.” The letter specifically supports three options outlined in the consultation’s Discussion Paper and points out that while the role of the Board has evolved, “at the end of the day, the Board is valuing our work, and setting rates that affect our livelihoods.”

The second letter was submitted to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and in addition to the list of supporting names, is signed directly by Mulholland, Jim Cuddy, Alan Doyle and Joel Plaskett. It stresses the need for real and meaningful change at the Board, calling for tariffs to be set faster and more in line with market values, and also thanks the government for embarking on the long overdue reform process.

You can read Miranda’s letters below, which are also available on the advocacy section of her website.

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Music Canada’s Amy Terrill discusses the recent isoHunt settlement on Roundhouse radio

Music Canada’s Executive Vice President, Amy Terrill, appeared on Vancouver’s Roundhouse radio 98.3 to discuss the recent settlement reached between isoHunt and Canadian and international music companies. This settlement ends litigation originally filed in 2010, and isoHunt has agreed to a court order finding them liable for infringing the rights of music companies in their recordings.

The discussion begins at the 31:25 mark. Listen here: http://cirh.streamon.fm/listen-pl-4015

For music fans and consumers, this settlement is a step forward towards a thriving legitimate online music marketplace. For those who build businesses by enabling copyright infringement, this settlement sends a message that they will face legal consequences for their actions.

Amy affirmed that the industry must remain vigilant on the legal side, but she stressed the need to work very closely with all of the legal services that are providing fantastic options for consumers. Canada is home to a vast array of legal digital services that support artists and labels.

In addition to the isoHunt settlement, Amy discussed the evolving forms of music piracy like stream-ripping, and how internet service providers can help combat copyright infringement. She also touched on copyright modernization, and the upcoming review of Canadian copyright laws in 2017.

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It’s Official! Copyright in Canada Extended to 70 Years for Sound Recordings

Music Canada is pleased to announce that the Budget, the Economic Action Plan 2015, has received royal assent and is now law. We applaud the Government of Canada for the inclusion of copyright term extension. With the passing of this bill, the term of copyright for sound recordings has been extended from 50 to 70 years. This brings Canada’s copyright term for sound recordings in line with the international standard, protecting works of vital importance to many Canadian artists.

A copyright term of 70 years will mean that artists and other rights holders retain control of their sound recordings and can profit from them into their elder years. Without term extension for sound recordings, the early works of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, and Anne Murray would have been in public domain over the next five years.

“I’m still releasing albums but my fans love my older songs. Thanks to the federal government for the recent legislation. Its passage will make sure the sun doesn’t go down on my early songs,” says Gordon Lightfoot.

For younger artists, additional profits derived by rights holders from older recordings will be reinvested in developing artists. The music industry is second to none in terms of reinvestment in new talent, with over 28% of revenue reinvested in 2014.

“In extending the term of copyright in recorded music, Prime Minister Harper and the Government of Canada have demonstrated a real understanding of music’s importance to the Canadian economy. Thank you. We are thrilled to see Canada brought in line with the international standard of 70 years.” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada.

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