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Quebec Artists Travel To Ottawa To Protest C-32

A large group of prominent Quebec artists are traveling to Ottawa today to voice opposition to Bill C-32 and support for a new levy system on ISPs.

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25 Comments

  1. Ummm more bullshit
    “À ce chapitre, les artistes s’opposent également à une disposition de la loi qui va rendre gratuite toute utilisation de leurs oeuvres à des fins éducatives.” ([…] The artists are also against a disposition in the bill that would render all use of their work free if it’s done for educationnal needs […]) (free translation)

    from what I can gather from the bill’s french version, there is no mention of free for all use in education… but ofcourse, most if not all those artists where probably cluelest to the bill and are just reacting now because the SPACQ and ADISQ are getting desperate to impose levies to everything and remove all consumer rights from the bill.

    Oh and I like this little tibbit:
    “Depuis 5 ans, les ventes de CD ont chuté de 50 % au pays. Les revenus de copie privée ont quant à eux dégringolé de 60 % au cours de la même période.” (For 5 years now, CD sells went down 50% in the country. The private copy renevues also fell by 60% during that same period) ( again my own translation)
    Did they check online sell of music for the same period?

  2. BS
    “Depuis 5 ans, les ventes de CD ont chuté de 50 % au pays.”

    And what’s new here. As I mentioned in another post, it’s the wrong media. How many people these days have you seen carrying a portable CD player. Even cars these days come with iPod docks and USB ports. CDs are going the way of the dodo bird regardless of alleged piracy.

    Look at this Quebec record label, much stuff on this page is available “download only”, no CD:

    https://www.analekta.com/fr/catalogue-album

    These guys want levies period. So that they can get money while sitting on their collective a**.

    Nap.


  3. “Les revenus de copie privée ont quant à eux dégringolé de 60 % au cours de la même période”

    Now this is interesting. It shows that blank media sales were even worse than recorded CDs.

    How could we hammer in their head that optical media these days is used by consumers mainly for computer related purposes i.e. doing “Windows recovery disks” and “Restore to factory disc sets”.

    Let me state it again: the CD player is going the way of the dodo bird. And there’s nothing to be done about it.

    Nap.

  4. Welfare
    I happen to work in a sector that went through massive outsourcing/offshoring during the past decade. I won’t debate here if it’s fair that a government that wants from me $4000 in land taxes alone says that you shalt directly compete with someone paying none.

    But going through all of it, I can tell that those with an under average set of skills are now on welfare, while those highly skilled are in surprising high demand.

    Looking at artists, I can definitely see that the really skilled ones that are willing to work hard are doing from well to extremely well.

    While the less than stellar ones are whining and asking for levies.

    My question is – we already have a welfare system in place for everyone, why do we need to create a parallel one through levies?

    Or is it intended to be an “additional revenue stream” to supplement basic welfare?

    Nap.

  5. @napalm
    That’s exactly the kind of thing our country’s leadership should be asking…instead they just keep angling for more power. wtf.


  6. Nap said:
    “Looking at artists, I can definitely see that the really skilled ones that are willing to work hard are doing from well to extremely well.”

    The arts, especially music, is a multi-edged sword. Yes, really skilled artists tend to do much better than mediocre artists, at least tend to stay around longer, but genre and stage presence also play an enormous role in success. A mediocre teen-pop or metal, musician is far more likely to be successful, at least in the short term, than an extremely talanted adult contemporary or folk artist. The audience is simply smaller and perhaps more refined or fickle for the latter genres. Now if you consider stage presence… Many bands sound great in the studio, but can’t hold a note at all when playing live, or worse, have no presence or appear uncomfortable or aukward on stage. Now, if you take the best of all these attributes, you get top musicians. Metallica, Nickleback, U2, Sarah Brightman, Sarah McLauchlan, etc. However, in comparison, while extremely successful, can Sarah Brightman ever really hope to match album sales with the likes of Metallica? I think probably not.


  7. @IanME: “The audience is simply smaller and perhaps more refined or fickle for the latter genres.”

    And so is life in any other industry…. you can have a niche product or a broad audience one… a small art gallery specializing in rare & refined stuff will never sell as many “home decor” objects as WallMart….

    So again why are artists special?

    I can understand and agree with some help with starting their careers (like in sponsoring their first performances/recordings) but after that, if they don’t deliver, what should we do about it? Create a special welfare system through levies?

    Nap.


  8. Just clicked on the link that Michael provided in the Tweets section…

    Interesting to see Robert Charlebois there. I thought he was not exactly starving after selling his beer breweries?

    “C’est fini les 200 000 CD. En moyenne, un CD aujourd’hui au Québec c’est 20 000.”

    Ah mais oui, Robert. Did you also check the jobs figures and average income in Quebec too during this period. Apparently people without a job are not buying CDs. Let’s put a levy on welfare.

    And when you are exclusively singing in “joual”, there’s little market outside Quebec. Celine fixed that and all of you despised her for being a “traitor”.

    “La solution, ça serait que les fournisseurs Internet nous donnent une redevance, parce que leur autoroute électronique, s’il n’y a pas de musique dedans, elle ne vaut plus rien, c’est une coquille vide.”

    This is pure BS. How about online banking, ticket reservation systems, online stores, wikipedia-like stuff, e-mail, corporate VPNs and so on. Michael Geist’s blog too. There’s extremely high value in Internet even if we could/would filter all music out of it.

    Nap.


  9. @Nap: “I can understand and agree with some help with starting their careers (like in sponsoring their first performances/recordings) but after that, if they don’t deliver, what should we do about it? Create a special welfare system through levies?”

    I could only support such a scheme for a given amount of time…a year, perhaps 2. After that, artists should be cut loose. It might sound harsh, but if they cannot “make it” on their own, then they should consider a career change…or do what everyone else does in such a situation…god forbid, get a “real” job to supplement income. Especially given the current state of the economy, I could never support extended levies, because, as you say, it woud become no more than glorified welfare. I don’t get special treatment if I lose my job. I get EI and when that runs out, if I’m still out of work I’m scr3w3d, plain and simple.


  10. I don’t know what this group’s position was beforehand. But, you know, I find it mildly amusing that certain groups opinions have suddenly flipped when it comes to levies as it becomes more and more aparent that the full blown digital locks and anticircumvention provisions are garnering little support. The CRIA is a prime example.

    Who know what the actual final bill will say, but just an observation.


  11. @IanME:

    Rober Charlebois is a SOCAN member. Their position on levies here:

    http://www.socan.ca/jsp/en/pub/news_events/SaveTheLevyUPDATE.jsp

    Nap.

  12. L’autobus de la honte
    Every time they do this I cannot stop thinking about another category of artists. How about photographers. They don’t have vocal organizations and they don’t raid Ottawa for handouts.

    They also have their “starving artists”, they also live in a digital world, and aside of prints, they also distribute their work through internet and optical media – CDs and DVDs. And the “musicians” have the audacity to ask for a levy on the materials that photographers use. Quite disgusting.

    I also don’t hear them whining about “format shifting” and DRM. No royalties either. Once you buy their photos, they’re yours, you can Photoshop them all day long, stretch them, resize them, save them in TIFF, JPG, PNG formats, on optical media, your iPOD or notebook, and still no whining.

    And yet they were the first to be pirated, when internet was dial-up only, there was no question of downloading music or videos, but photos were pretty much fair game.

    And that at a time when there was no DMCA or any other special law to protect them. And, unlike musicians, they couldn’t tour or organize concerts, where buying “admit one” tickets is the only way to have access and there’s no “piracy” involved.

    And yet they survived and they didn’t whine.

    So, Monsieur Robert, maybe you should check their model and how it works instead of making noises and begging in Ottawa?

    Nap.

  13. @Nap
    Its all about a sense of entitlement. Being paid over and over again for work that they did once upon a time because someone MAY do something that infringes their copyright. I work in high tech, most of the work is commissioned by the customer rather than product based; I get paid for the work I do. Once. I don’t get paid every time that the company resells my work (i.e. a royalty).

    Now don’t take my first statement to imply that I don’t believe the artists should be paid for their work. But remember that we live in a free market, capitalist society. VALUE is not a function of what the seller thinks something is worth; VALUE is what the seller and purchaser AGREE something is worth. Supply and Demand. The artist should not be expecting anything more, nor anything less. Provide the buying public with a product they are willing to purchase for the price you are asking.

  14. @Nap
    Well said. Photographers, painters, potters and other physical medium artists are expected to make it on their own, why not musicians? What makes them any more special? If it’s not already in place, I believe we’re going to start getting taxxed on the resale of photographic and physical art in general. They’re already doing this in the EU. I think it’s a rediculous scheme, that I should have to pay a portion of the resale of a piece of art I legally bought, back to the original artist. It becomes a gorified lease at that point. I have a couple fairly valuable pictures, that I bought at charity shops for a collective $50, well valuable for me anyway. One is a hand tinted Nicholas Hornyanski print from the 30’s worth an estimated $3000 and the other being a painting from US impressionist artist Andre Gisson (Anders Gittelson) conservatively worth about $10000. If I decide to sell these I could potentially have to pay their estate a portion of the resale amount…rediculous as far as I’m concerned.

    Everyone says there is no levy, but if it’s not already in place, there is one coming, well of sorts, anyway. A resale levy.


  15. @IanME: “A resale levy.”.

    Nice. So if I resell my car I should pay a fee to the original manufacturer? This sounds DUMB. But then we’re not short of dumb laws, so maybe we’ll get this one too.

    Back to royalties. I don’t have hard figures at hand but I guess that at this point it works against the musicians. Like in the record company offers them a contract “sign here for copyright transfer, we lend you this money for recording/pressing expenses, which will be repaid from the royalties on the first 100000 copies, after we sell that initial quantity the royalties will be all yours and you’ll get filthy rich”. And the part with “rich” never happens.

    OTOH the photographers I mentioned will ask a lump sum in the beginning and provided that you pay it, the money is all theirs and the work is all yours. Sounds like a clearer and more predictable deal to me.

    Nap.


  16. No middle-men with obscenely gouging contracts in the physical arts. If I buy a Bateman painting/print or a Marriott photograph or even a piece of ceramic art from someone like from Greg Payce, other than perhaps a gallery fee the artist must pay, I can be reasonably certain a majority of that money goes to the artist. Whereas with music, when I buy an album, how much of that goes to the artist? 1/10th of 1%? Something obscene like that? It’s the contracts that need legislation to protect the artist from the recording industry, not from the consumer.


  17. @IanME: “If I decide to sell these I could potentially have to pay their estate a portion of the resale amount…”

    Nothing can stop a real determined businessman… how about some creative “Hollywood accounting”, where you resell the art in “lots”, and sell the painting in the same lot with an ordinary photograph taken by yourself, get $15000 for both, then split it in “$1 for the crappy painting and $14999 for the gorgeous photo”. And pay the “levy” on $1. And pay the income tax in Cayman Islands. We’re going global, don’t we?

    Nap. 🙂


  18. @Nap
    Won’t take them long to “fix” that. Look at reselling cars, sure, we can sell a car for a buck, but we still have to pay the taxes on the “book” value of the vehicle.


  19. Or better yet, report a loss of $9999 on the painting to Revenue Canada and the gain of $14999 on the photo in Cayman Island. 🙂

    Now don’t think that if is sounds ludicrous it hasn’t been done. This is exactly how the big corporations pay their taxes.

    Nap.


  20. You see such dealing all the time on eBay. People seeling one thing, then as a “bonus”, you get another thing for “free”. It gets around certain eBay policies, but is a little shady at best.


  21. @IanME: “It’s the contracts that need legislation to protect the artist from the recording industry, not from the consumer.”

    Actually they don’t even need that. They just have to refuse to sign onerous contracts. Impossible 20 years ago since “the industry” was the only distribution channel. However now they don’t have that monopoly anymore. The Internet, which they love to hate, is actually their friend. I’ve already posted links here to artists “selling direct”.

    Now you may be a great talented artist but if greediness and laziness blinded you so much that you have signed stupid things with “the industry”, don’t come to me to support you through “levies”.

    Nap.


  22. Nap said:
    “Now you may be a great talented artist but if greediness and laziness blinded you so much that you have signed stupid things with “the industry”, don’t come to me to support you through “levies”.”

    So ture, and you don’t even have to be that greedy anymore. Anyone can buy a very good mixing board and software for a computer these days. Even if they don’t want to learn how to use it, they can pay the neighbour’s 14-year-old kid to learn the software in an hour and be on their way. I’m not trying to demean or minimize the importance of a someone like a recording engineer, but there are many consumer-grade options that can get a home studio going for a mere few hundred dollars. And the mixing software is usually dumbed down enough that one generally doesn’t need a great deal of training or expertise to use it. Of course, this assumes one already has instruments and the other required hardware such as mics and cables. Presumably, if one is looking to become a professional musician, they have already have some material, have done the “bar circuit” and have a certain amount of hardware on hand.

    Will such a recording be pro-studio quality? Probably not. But it gets one in the market for relatively very little financial investment, without having to sign obscenely stupid contracts. The recording doesn’t have to be perfect anyway, since quite often it gets converted to a crappy quality MP3.


  23. @IanMe: “Will such a recording be pro-studio quality? Probably not.”

    Actually many times it’s better. I’ll give you two examples:

    Cowboy Junkies – “The Trinity Session”. Recorded by themselves in Toronto’s Church Of Holy Trinity, in mono, sitting in a circle around a single mic (as they didn’t have money for two). Yes, there are amateur details like you can hear the subway train passing under the church at a certain point. And they had to lie to the priests pretending they will be recording Christmas songs so they let them in. Never ever in any other record (although they did a professional “Trinity revisited” in surround sound) were they able to duplicate the magic of Margo’s voice that was captured on this “amateur” recording.

    Norah Jones – She successfully manages to replicate the sound of her two first albums when recording portions of “Not too late” in her basement (don’t forget that her first one got a Grammy for Best Engineered Album); then she goes to “professional” Sterling Studios to record “The Fall”. Which should have been named “The Fail” as it sounds atrocious. These guys are specialists of compression and loudness uber alle.

    nap.


  24. Even if we were to ignore all the great points Nap, Crockett, and the rest above have brought up, the idea of a levy in this way is stupid economically. It is like a tax, and like any tax produces a dead-weight loss and leaves the economy worse off. It’s basic microeconomics.


  25. @Eric L.:

    I don’t think that taxes per se are that bad. It’s the way you spend them that can be bad/useless/wasteful.

    In this case they propose a tax (levy) to create an alternate welfare system. How does that encourage creation of new artistic work. Or even worse, this money will go to “the industry” not the artists.

    I prefer the system already in place – where from my taxes the Ministry of Heritage is helping artists to publish their (first) works. Now that’s a real incentive. In order to access the money they have to produce something.

    Interesting how “the industry” itself is not helping at all with this. Although in the end they feed from these artist’s work. I guess that they would just be happy to sell you the same old Michael Jackson albums until the end of your life. Each time in a new format and with a new DRM scheme. Because they already own the copyright and don’t need no stinkin’ extra expenses with some new “starving artist”.

    Nap.