Musicians to Industry Groups: “Not In Our Names”

Musicians to Industry Groups: “Not In Our Names”
Throne Speech, Recent American judgment, potential
preview of worst case scenario for Canadian music fans

Montreal
October 22, 2007
The Canadian Music Creators Coalition (CMCC) renewed its calls for the Canadian government to ensure a made-in-Canada response to copyright reform. This call comes in the wake of the landmark judgment October 4 against Jammie Thomas, the single mother of two from Brainerd, MN who was hit with a penalty of $222,000 US for downloading 24 songs (approximately 90 minutes of music with a retail value of less than $25) and the Federal Government’s addition of “copyright reform” to it’s list of priorities in last week’s throne speech.

“When the Canadian Record Industry Association (CRIA) says ‘copyright reform’ what they really mean is ‘give a free hand to sue fans who download like they have in the US,'” explained CMCC representative and Barenaked Ladies front man Steven Page. “We hope the government has a better solution in mind.”

“We think lawsuits like the one in Minnesota would be terrible for the music business in Canada. It’s shortsighted to say ‘See you in court’ one day and ‘See you at Massey Hall’ the next,” Page continued. “If record labels want to try and sue fans, we hope that they’ll have the courtesy to stop trying to do it in our names.”

The CMCC suggests a more effective legislative approach to peer-to-peer technology would be one that accepts current technological and music-business realities.

“It’s been nearly ten years since peer-to-peer file sharing changed the music industry and, despite what some people suggest, suing people isn’t going to make it 1995 again,” Page elaborated. “Capitol Records v. Thomas is just another example of the drastic measures American record labels have been taking against their fans for years. Despite all this ill will, peer-to-peer downloading hasn’t shown any sign of going away. If the Canadian government wants to reform copyright it should be creating a made-in-Canada solution that looks to where the music industry is going, not where it was.”

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For Further Information Contact Steven Page c/o CMCC Communications: (514) 867-8337 or press@musiccreators.ca.

About the Canadian Music Creators Coalition

Our membership rolls boast dozens of household names including Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Broken Social Scene, Matthew Good, Metric, Randy Bachman, Billy Talent, Sloan, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sum 41, Stars, Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace), The New Pornographers, Bill Henderson (Chilliwack), Ronnie King (The Stampeders), Dave Bidini (Rheostatics), Billy Talent, John K. Samson (Weakerthans), Three Days Grace, Andrew Cash and Sam Roberts. We are the people who actually create Canadian music. Without us, there would be no music for copyright laws to protect.

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. Record companies and music publishers are not our enemies, but let’s be clear: lobbyists for major labels are looking out for their shareholders, and seldom speak for Canadian artists. Legislative proposals that would facilitate lawsuits against our fans or increase the labels’ control over the enjoyment of music are made not in our names, but on behalf of the labels’ foreign parent companies.

The CMCC is united under three key principles:

Suing Our 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.

More information about the CMCC (including a more detailed policy statement) is available at http://www.musiccreators.ca.

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