The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Visits the Canadian Film Centre by Canadian Film Centre (CC BY 2.0)

The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Visits the Canadian Film Centre by Canadian Film Centre (CC BY 2.0)


The Power of Backroom Lobbying: How the Recording Industry Got Their Copyright Term Extension

The government’s unexpected budget decision to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings came as a surprise to most copyright watchers, but not the music industry lobby. Music Canada (formerly the Canadian Recording Industry Association) was ready within minutes with a press release, backgrounder, and quotes from musicians that were previously critical of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. How did the industry seemingly know this was coming?

The monthly lobbyist communications reports tell the story as beginning last fall, Music Canada registered lobbyist David Dyer met almost monthly with Patrick Rogers, the Director of Policy for Canadian Heritage Minister Shelly Glover. The meetings began in November at roughly the same time as Universal Music began expressing concern about the Canadian distribution of public domain Beatles records. The lobbyist registry lists meetings on November 10, November 26, December 5, February 17, and March 18. In addition, there was a meeting with James Maunder, Chief of Staff to Industry Minister James Moore on November 28th, though it is clear that Canadian Heritage had the lead on the issue.

Near monthly access to Rogers paid off with promise to extend the term of copyright despite the absence of public consultation on the issue, increased consumer costs, and reduced choice. By comparison, Europe spent years of study and intense debate over whether to extend the term of copyright, with numerous experts reports warning against it and many European countries opposing the measure. Rogers was apparently an excellent internal advocate, particularly given his experience with the Prime Minister’s Office. Rogers is the former Manager of Parliamentary Affairs with the Prime Minister’s Office. If the name is familiar, it may be because he is named in the RCMP allegations against Senator Mike Duffy. Indeed, the RCMP evidence indicates that he was involved in meetings and emails related to the Duffy affair and recent reports indicate that he may be called to testify at the Duffy trial.

I asked Canadian Heritage officials to comment on the nature of the discussions between Music Canada lobbyists and ministry officials. Their response simply stated “It is not our practice to comment on the content of meetings with stakeholders.” In this case, there is no need. The outcome says it all.


  1. I guess for Heritage Minister Glover, the Canadian people, some of whom voted for this US puppet-state government (and again, I ask all of you who are responsible: are you going to make this mistake a third time this coming fall?), aren’t stake-holders in the copyright bargain [] any more.

    I guess to Minister Glover, the copyright bargain is all one-sided now.

    Maybe this one-sidedness is one reason why the side that is being disregarded any longer is simply disregarding the bargain also and not respecting copyright.

    • Just another nail in the Conservative party coffin – interment in the fall!

      • No, the Conservative Party is sticking around and getting another majority. Glover is just following the boss’s orders. Her one and only job is to fall on her sword for Harper.

    • El Quintron says:

      The stakeholders are the creators and owners of copyright. That would include all of Canada’s musicians, artists, writers, photographers, illustrators etc.

      Stakeholders in fair use are the Canadian public. If you want to use something under fair use, go ahead, if it doesn’t fit the criteria license it and stop claiming victim hood when your freeloading is called for what it is.

      • Copyright is a “bargain” between two parties. One of the parties is the creator and the other party is the consumers. Maybe you need a refresher on that bargain:

        To sum up, the creator’s end of the bargain is that he gets a limited time exclusive right to monetize (or not, that is up to the creator) the work. The consumers end of the bargain is to abide by that limited term exclusivity in exchange for that right being a limited time with the work entering into the public domain at the end of the term. That is the entire historic basis on which copyright was created.

        As far as I am concerned, that bargain is null and void when that limited-time term keeps getting extended over and over again, exactly the same as any contract that is voided when one side does not abide by the terms of the contract

        So if you creators don’t want to abide by the bargain/contract, why should the consumers be required to abide by it?

        • El Quintron says:

          I stopped reading after you said the deal is between the creator and the consumer.

          The mere fact you do not understand the concept of benefiting society which is the other party in copyright. Society, NOT consumers. It is not about things you want as an individual, but that society needs as a whole.

          • And again, who is society if it is not the individual consumers? Society is who is consuming your work. Take the “consumers” away and you creators will never be any poorer because there is then NOBODY to pay for and consume your work.

          • El Quintron says:

            @ Brian below.

            The tradeoff in copyright is for the benefit of society, the purpose of copyright law is to promote learning and creativity of society. Not for individual consumption. The purpose behind Public Domain is not consumption.

  2. The sign of a government in decline is when they don’t care to consult the people as to what is their opinion. This would never have passed the mustard, but since we have been combining unrelated legislation to get controversial one passed this will go into law. Mark it down on the list of things the next government should reverse. We will see Mr. Rogers most likely take a position in the Music Canada organization once the dust settles.

    Strange thing is that the heritage officials said they do not comment on discussions with stakeholders. Are consumers aka voters the only stakeholders they should be concerning themselves with? Once again we are pushed to the bottom of the list with special interests groups whose interest do not coincide with Voters put at the top.

  3. Bob Chandler says:

    No doubt this is a move towards softening us up for the copyright measures in the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) that is also being negotiated in secret.

    The TPP will impose the worst aspects of U.S. copyright law on all of the signatory countries.

    This is government by and for the corporations.

    • El Quintron says:

      Ask anybody who actually creates content instead of freeloading off of it or printing it and they will tell you that the US is the country with the best protections for independent creators, from writers to photographers. It is the only country where a copyright registration that costs $60 enables you to sue a corporation for infringement without a similarly sized legal team on retainer. This works because the law guarantees you damages that enable you to hire a lawyer to recoup the lost profits that you use to make a living.

      • The US is the country that leads this breaking of the copyright bargain/contract. Every time good old Walt’s copyrights are about to expire, guess what happens.

        So again, if one side is not going to abide by the terms of the contract, and just unilaterally changes the contract, it’s null and void and the other side should not need to abide by it either.

        I think that is in essence what is playing out in copyright today. One side is getting unfairly treated so they are ignoring the contract.

        • El Quintron says:

          It is not about Disney. Every time anybody screams “Disney hates freedom” in the Copyright discussion they spit on ever single individual creator who depends on the law to earn a living. Just stop.

          • Of course I was not referring to Disney literally. In this case it’s about the Beatles’ recordings that just entered the public domain and about the availability of them at Wal-mart for $5. Boo-hoo for the labels.

            And yes, that’s about the copyright on the sound recordings, not the actual songs.

            So this really is not about society and artists, but rather society and the labels. Indeed, in this case the artist is still getting their royalty even though the labels are not, so as an artist you are not even really affected.

            Damn, your estate even still gets to collect for 50 years after you die. How much friggin’ more can you want? Should your work support 17 generations beyond you?

          • El Quintron says:

            @ Brian Above

            How is the artist getting their loyalties on the sale of something not in the sales chain of the people bound by contract to deliver those royalties.

            Are the companies selling other’s content (nothing creative about it, rather an outright usage of another persons creation to drive a profit for the party selling it) passing the royalties onto the artists?

            The claim that copyright stifles creativity or limits society from advancing, being backed up by a clear case of using the absolute same creation and selling it for profit shows clear justification for why these camps are not going to be consulted.

  4. Chris Mass says:


  5. You’re surprised by this? This is how things work.
    My suggestion? Stop listening and primarily buying, the tripe put out that’s called “music”. Same goes for movies and any other consumable media. Once sales plummet, maybe at least something of quality will be made to induce sales. Oh, who am I kidding? They would just raise prices to compensate and put some more hidden taxes on our recordable media and players.

  6. Can someone cross reference the meeting dates with her ovulations?
    Monthly must mean the best day for having a closed door meeting.

  7. It’s not just the Conservatives. The Liberals and NDP are in on it as well. Otherwise they could’ve already drafted the bill together that is going to put the copyright back to 50 years, and announce that if they get a combined majority it’s going to be tabled and passed. Since we don’t get compensated for the decrease in value of our recordings, as a record that falls out of copyright in 1 year is worth more that one that does so in 21 years, no compensation for rightsholders is required either.

    • El Quintron says:

      Not even close. If copyright is valid for 5 years, you can’t license the work for longer than that. So you can now license the work for 5 years. If the copyright is 10 years, you can license the work for 10 years. Copyright law is not to blame for compensation or lack of, that is determined by a legal contract, (LICENSING AGREEMENT). If you own the copyright, you set the terms of this agreement. So once again, your issue is contracts and licensing and lack of knowledge of those areas of the law, copyright law only protects your, the creator’s stake. If the work was public domain you wouldn’t have any say in how it is used and everybody could charge money for it in addition to yourself, but nobody would be required to pass on any of that to you,

      • The terms of the copyright contract have already been set. 50 years. It’s the unilateral changing of those terms that is voiding the contract.

        • El Quintron says:

          You do understand the contract is between the creators and society, not individual consumer wants?

          • Who do you suppose “society” is then if it’s not these “individual consumers”?

          • El Quintron says:

            @ Brian

            The tradeoff in copyright is for the benefit of society, the purpose of copyright law is to promote learning and creativity. Consumer society =/= society. Public domain is not there so that you as an individual can consume for free but that society can learn and advance as a whole . You sitting in your room watching free movies is not contributing to the advancement of society.

  8. Pingback: Backroom Lobbying, Recording Industry and Copyright Term Extension | Fredy Rouge

  9. When are people going to wake up and start prosecuting corrupt politicians? Bribery and government corruption are rampant.

  10. maria pia says:

    It is impossible to have the government go against the high rollers in the record industry. No one realy thinks of the public saving some money when they go to buy their music. If the same music is available at a lower cost, than why not let the people decide who should be providing the labels to the wholesale purchasers. If I can buy the same shoes in a wholesale store for a lower price than that of a band name store, than I will buy the lower price shoes.

    I will never understand how the gornment never listen to the blue colour public, why should we always pay the price for a brand name lable at the highest cost. when it can be purchased a a much lower cost, therefor generating more sales and the store and manufacture gets more business. I will never understand the business practices. I am on the past 70 year old public and when I know that a certain item can be maufactured at a much lower cost, than why do I have to pay the top unbelievable price. I feel sorry for the younger generation because they will not be compensated in their earning at the same % of the rising of the costs of not only their food but also their entertainment.

  11. Pingback: Interessante Links und Nachrichten 27.04.2015ff - Pirat Aleks A.

  12. Pingback: Major Publishers Using Public Domain to Screw Canadian Songwriters | The Tritonester