Today is World Intellectual Property Day which means that rather than focusing on creativity or on policies that meet the needs of creators and users, we get a private function for MPs and Senators on Parliament Hill sponsored by Senator Joseph Day, where the RCMP will display counterfeit batteries and unsafe extension cords as part of the continuing attempt to conflate health and safety counterfeit concerns with copyright. It means we get an op-ed from the U.S. Consul General in Toronto claiming that failure to ratify international treaties (ie. the WIPO Internet treaties) costs jobs and can compromise safety. And it means we get a major press release from CRIA touting declines in physical CD sales (digital sales were not available) with claims that counterfeiting and P2P are the major reasons behind the declines.
Needless to say, there is:
- no mention of the tens of millions of dollars collected through the private copying levy that arguably covers those P2P downloads
- no mention of the most recent Canadian Heritage Music Industry Profile which focused on the growth of sales of Canadian artists since 2001
- no mention of the Canadian Heritage sponsored study that distinguishes between the health of the music industry and CD sales while placing much of the blame on the industry itself
- no mention that Canadian digital music sales growth was double the rate in the U.S. last year
- no mention that Canada has more online music stores than the U.S. when measured on a per capita basis
- no mention that the CRIA member strategy of relying on DRM is being quickly abandoned
- no mention of the changes at the retail level that even the Wall Street Journal points to as a critical reason for sales declines.
That is because World Intellectual Property Day has become little more than a lobbyist day with creators, users, and the facts once again getting lost in the process.
Update: A further point that came to mind while discussing the CRIA release with a reporter – it is worth asking whether the new CRIA data is somewhat skewed by the departure of the six major indie labels last April. Those labels have enjoyed significant commercial success and one wonders whether comparing 2006 first quarter data (which included the indies) and 2007 first quarter data (which does not) has contributed to the year-over-year decline.