Post Tagged with: "canadian heritage"

MPs Get Not-So-Straight Talk on Copyright

The Canadian Heritage Parliamentary Committee has received two briefings on copyright from department officials in recent weeks.  The first briefing was "copyright 101" briefing.  The second briefing, focusing on future reform plans, was more interesting.  The officials did their best to say as little as possible – when questioned about timing or specific issues, they found multiple ways to avoid directly answering the question. There were, however, several noteworthy exchanges including a moment when Charlie Angus (NDP) noted that many countries have yet to ratify WIPO (as opposed to the "coalition of the digital willing" that includes Azerbaijan and Botswana), and Danielle Bouvet from Heritage responded with obligatory "Canada is trying to have its own made-in-Canada legislation on copyright."  Further, Mauril Belanger (Liberal) spent a lot of time asking about the lobby groups who are asking questions about copyright and asked for a list of all groups that have met with Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada since January.

More troubling were two exchanges that may not have provided the MPs with a fully accurate sense of the law.

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October 13, 2006 5 comments News

Canadian Heritage’s 2005 Music Industry Profile

I'm several weeks late on this, but Canadian Heritage has released the 2005 Music Industry Profile.  The most noteworthy data point comes in the introduction – Canadian artists have seen their sales increase since 2001. Sales of Canadian albums have increased from 6.8 million units in 2001 to 8.5 million […]

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October 6, 2006 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Captain Copyright and the Search for Taxpayer Funding

Captain Copyright, the much-criticized Access Copyright initiative, generated some discussion this week with the release of a public letter from the Canadian Library Association.  The CLA letter, which is consistent with its resolutions on Captain Copyright adopted in June, calls on Access Copyright to "withdraw the site until the broader copyright community can assist Access Copyright in implementing an unbiased and balanced presentation of the rights of creators, rights-holders and users."

The letter was copied to Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda, which makes sense given that documents just obtained under the Access to Information Act reveal that Access Copyright has been looking to Canadian Heritage to provide funding for the Captain Copyright campaign.  On May 1, 2006, an internal memo was sent to the Director General of Cultural Industries indicates that Access Copyright was seeking funding for Captain Copyright and recommending that the matter be discussed by senior management.  No word yet on whether the government provided the requested cash. Access Copyright will have to get in line for "copyright education" funding, however.

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August 10, 2006 2 comments News

Canadian Gov’t Pays Copyright Lobby to Lobby

While the Harper government last week passed accountability legislation in the House of Commons, my weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) suggests that another form of lobbying exists that requires closer scrutiny – lobbying that is financed by the government itself.  According to government documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, last fall the Ministry of Canadian Heritage entered into a multi-year agreement with the Creators' Rights Alliance, a national coalition of artists groups and copyright collectives with members both small (the League of Canadian Poets) and large (SOCAN and Access Copyright).  The CRA has eight objectives, which notably include "to ensure that government policy and legislation recognize that copyright is fundamentally about the rights of creators" and "to ensure that international treaties and obligations to which Canada is signatory provide the strongest possible protection for the rights of creators."

The Canadian Heritage – CRA agreement, which could run until 2008 at a total cost of nearly $400,000, appears to be designed primarily to enable the CRA to lobby the government on copyright reform.  In return for $125,000 annually, the CRA provides the Ministry with its views on copyright in the form of comments, analysis or research papers (other deliverables include a policy conference, website communications, and a regular newsletter).

The contract raises several issues.

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June 26, 2006 5 comments Columns

Sound Numbers

A special edition of my Law Bytes column (Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) reports on a recent Canadian Heritage commissioned study on the economic impact of the copyright industries. The Connectus Consulting report, entitled The Economic Impact of Canadian Copyright Industries – Sectoral Analysis, has yet to be publicly released.  However, I recently obtained a copy of the final report dated March 31, 2006, under an Access to Information Act request.

The report, which spans 1997 to 2004, finds that the copyright industries comprise 4.5 percent of the Canadian economy and contribute 5.5 percent of total Canadian employment.  While that is expected to increase in the coming years (the copyright industries are growing at a faster rate than the overall economy), it pales in comparison to sectors such as finance, manufacturing, agriculture, education, and health care.

More interesting is a case study on the sound recording industry that contradicts both the industry claims and the expectations of the report's authors.

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May 25, 2006 10 comments Columns