The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has released its report on the Copyright Act, making important and timely recommendations to address the growing Value Gap in Canada’s creative industries. The report, titled Shifting Paradigms, is now available on Parliament’s website.
The report, based on testimony from dozens of creators and representatives from Canada’s creative industries as well as broadcasters, digital services, and other key commercial users and distributors, tackles numerous weaknesses in Canada’s Copyright Act, identifying elements which have failed to keep pace with technology and the digital marketplace for music. Among its key recommendations which will bolster a functioning marketplace for creative works, the report recommended addressing Canada’s broad safe harbour laws, eliminating or narrowing exemptions from the Act that prevent creators from being fairly compensated, combating modern forms of piracy (like stream ripping) and strengthening the enforcement of Canada’s copyright laws.
“I applaud the Members of the Committee for listening to the voices of artists and the businesses who support music and for taking these critical first steps toward addressing the Value Gap in Canada,” said Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson.
“The Committee’s report provides a series of thoughtful and concrete recommendations to address the underlying causes of the Value Gap. Many of the recommendations will significantly and immediately improve the lives of artists and our industry.”
The report’s recommendations on music specifically call for ending what amounts to a subsidy paid by Canadian artists and labels to Canada’s largest broadcasters. It recommends limiting the Radio Royalty Exemption to only community and/or independent stations.
The report also calls for amending the definition of “sound recording” in the Copyright Act so that recordings used in television programs and films would be eligible for public performance remuneration.
Miranda Mulholland, a professional musician, record label owner, and Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council, spoke to the Committee about how addressing the Radio Royalty Exemption and amending the definition of “sound recording” to end these subsidies paid by artists would make an immediate improvement in the livelihood of creators.
“The changes recommended by the Heritage Committee in this report are the first step in ensuring artists receive fair remuneration for their work,” said Mulholland. “The changes would end the unfair subsidies that artists have been paying large broadcasting corporations, and mean more creators can earn a sustainable living from their music. I thank the members of the Committee for hearing the concerns of artists, and making strong recommendations to close the Value Gap in Canada.”
“As a working musician, I am glad to see the Heritage Committee has given such careful consideration to improving the copyright framework supporting the music industry in Canada. The recommendations in this report would go a long way in restoring the musician’s middle class,” said Eon Sinclair, a JUNO Award-winning bassist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and a founding member of the Canadian band Bedouin Soundclash. Sinclair is also a member of the Music Canada Advisory Council.
“Today’s report moves Canada into a leadership role in the international effort to close the Value Gap and address the harm being done to creators everywhere by overly broad safe harbour laws,” added Henderson.
“In order for these recommendations to make an impact on the music community, they must become law,” continued Henderson. “Music Canada looks forward to working with the Government to reform the Copyright Act as soon as possible to reflect the Committee’s recommendations.”
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For more information:
Corey Poole, Music Canada
+1 (647) 808-7359
About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada: Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.