The duelling press conferences between CMCC and CRIA on Monday provided an interesting contrast for the news as CBC, CTV and others included clips and interviews from both musicians such as Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies as well as from Graham Henderson of CRIA. 

CRIA has now posted a DRM-free MP3 version of Henderson's speech, which he titled "Beyond Deadwood: Canadian Law and the Development of a Digital Marketplace."  The speech contains the usual litany of questionable claims such as a poll result that indicated that 66 percent of Canadians between the ages of 15 to 24 years of age would support ISPs monitoring for illegal content.  The goal of the speech is to equate virtually all of the industry's ills to file sharing, which CRIA believes would be solved by establishing anti-circumvention legislation (never mind that anti-circumvention legislation has been in place in the U.S. since before the launch of the first Napster).

Listening to the speech, you cannot help but be struck at the different visions of Canadian music.  The CMCC, comprised of some of Canada's best-known artists, looks at the Internet and the law today and sees opportunity and a thriving music scene.  CRIA, on the other hand, looks at the Internet and the law today and sees deadwood.

Update: The National Post carries a masthead editorial today which looks at CRIA and seemingly sees the same thing.


  1. The difference I see between the CMCC and CRIA is that the CMCC strives for a positive relationship between the musicians and the consumers, whereas the CRIA assumes that 13 out of 14 people they meet are criminals.

    I think the CRIA has a very poor attitude, considering how much money they get for very little investment (certainly compared to movie production costs), cheap product delivery (either in CD or download form its much less costly than DVD costs and movie download size) yet the retail price is very much the same.

    I assume that they are already charging a substantial additional charge for “lost sales due to theft”. Plus, they get the Canadian levy. Exactly how much money will it take to ease their thirst for money?

    The CMCC see’s a broader picture, with a longer lifespan, with deeper relationships, and a more positive creative environment. All that with a lot fewer legal costs too! All that legal money the CRIA wants to spend could be better used to create more product. Pay the musicians, not the lawyers.

  2. Trellium says:

    These two groups have fundamentally different ideas on the music distribution scene. Canada must support both forms, but it shouldn’t give in to the RIAA so fast.

    The Canadian government should use some of the funds from the levy to pay for a database of copyrighted materials that should not be available online.

    If an artist wants to promote their work using the single most powerful tool on the planet (the Internet), then they should be free to do so. You know, like Alanis Morrisette did to make herself known.

    Once they reach their star status, they can into “all our fans are crooks mode”, and quietly forget the journey toward stardom.

    Canada has a responsibility for supporting ALL artists, not only those who signed on to foreign labels.

  3. BCDD and music lover says:

    DRM what a waste of money.
    How much does it take to copy control a CD/DVD ect.
    Nobody say it (RIAA/CRIA ect) keeping it a secret.
    I would sooner they took it off and gave us a discount for teh CD/DVD instead.

    But i see its a waste of money.

    the only ones that gain are the DRM venders.

    As the consumer/ customer gets screws.

    I almost forgot nice to see the artists are getting on the band wagon saying it suck (CMCC)

  4. perplexed says:

    who has the moral vacuum?
    No one disagrees with the position that artists should get paid for their work. The recording industry should start with these truths and build a digital business.

    The problem is that the Canadian industry is lead by zealots who wouldn’t know the truth if it was standing in front of them. They actively twist facts to support their perverted view of how Canadians consume music. Listen to what Graham Henderson says about us, using blanket statements about all Canadians, including members of the Government and members of his audience …. everyone:

    His statements:
    – Canada is a backward nation, that does not respect precious resources. Canada is lagging behind.
    – Canadian citizens operate in a moral vacuum.
    – Canadian downloaders are likened to the brutal character in Deadwood, owner of bar and brothel
    – Canada operates in creative anarchy
    – Canada is peers with Mexico and Malaysia on a priority watch list.
    – The office of the United States Trade Representative, a US agency, has placed Canada on the 301 special watch list for egregious track records for protecting property rights. Canada has earned an embarrassing (to whom) out of cycle review reserved for worst offenders.

    Are we Canadians really the scum that he makes us out to be?

    Does he think that he is our saviour and that DRM, DRM circumvention laws, ISP surveillance and other draconian measures that take away basic freedoms will improve our lot?

    The Canadian Club presentation shows how Graham uses half truths and outright lies to create his version of Canadian Deadwood.

    When will he specify accurate and exact numbers on WIPO and it’s adoption (or lack thereof)

    Why doesn’t he specify the true role of the United States Trade Representative. and the minimal consequences of Canada being on that list. Guess what, the US is more worried about our position on generic drugs than music.

    Why doesn’t he clearly state that the Canadian iTunes library is less than 1/2 the size of the US library. According to the IFPI – his own association, in Canada, there are 6 services offering 1.2 million songs. In the US, there are 38 services offering 22.1 million songs. Could that be the reason why Canadians buy less music… because it can’t be bought? Graham, why do you lie so much, or is it just shoddy research?

    I particularly like the part where Graham states that the majority of Canadians would welcome ISP interference, and DRM that limits music listening to one media or device. They would happily allow spying on computer compute use and measures that disable their own computer … all in the name of protecting the artist. With freedom like that, who needs anarchy.

    He should ask for a show of hands from his listeners with a few questions:

    1. How would you like to pay for music every time you play it on a different device, or every time you listen to a song that you previously bought, in you car xmradio?
    2. How would you like your ISP to monitor every email that comes to your house, every web site that you visit, every file that you receive?
    3. How would you like the record companies installing software on your computer that monitors everything you do just in case you copy music to a CD or email it to a friend.
    4. How many would like to install record company DRM, only to have it crash your computer so badly that you need to wipe the hard disk and reinstall?

    If you say no to any one of these, you may not buy his story.

    What the industry doesn’t realize is that when the DRM reaches a certain point, people will stop buying the products. He laughingly states that young people would enjoy the oppressive controls and welcome the friendly policing by their ISP’s. I don’t know one person who supports that position. I sure hope that any Government would apply common sense to these positions before acting on his recommendations

    What is astonishing is that Graham seems to believe his lies. He hires researchers who support his twisted look at reality, or uses research that biases facts to the industry position. This sounds like tobacco companies trying to prove that smoking is safe.

    Anyone can select statistics that prove show Canada in what ever light they choose. Selective facts with liberal lies is called propaganda.

    In contrast, recognized academics (emphasis on plural), performing objective research, projecting a more balanced view of the issues, are labeled by Graham as “mad scientists” in their anti copyright laboratories. I won’t even comment on the blatant personal attack characterizing a comment made by one of the esteemed scientists as “shop soiled”. I guess in his opinion, propaganda, delivered by an industry wag (a very self important wag) has higher value than the generally aligned views of academia and other thought leaders. If Graham was King (i’m sure he fancies himself a great king) we would still be riding horses and proclaiming the world flat. We can’t have silly science get in the way of our propaganda.

    What he doesn’t realize is that the academics are on the side that recognizes that artists and creators of “products of the mind” should get compensated for their work. Does Graham think that Dr. Michael Geist works for free? What if the music industry started working with academics? They could start to objectively understand the micro, macro, societal issues etc. that influence Canadians and perhaps create a business model that works for everyone… the proverbial win-win situation.

    Filesharing is akin to radio listening or “free goods” as Graham calls them. The industry should find a business model that takes advantage of the low cost “free good” distribution. Does he include radio listens as lost revenue. Downloads are very similar to radio listens. Uploads are a different story. If the industry wants to go after someone, go after the uploaders – not downloaders.

    Of course it’s not easy to find that business model, but what do these executives earn? In Vivendi’s 2005 annual report, Doug Morris, Grahams old boss’s boss, earned a 14.46 million Euro pay package. For that kind of pay, the executives should get off their asses and spend money on building a business model and stop wasting it on questionable lawyers. I wonder why Graham and his co-horts were laughed out of court in Ottawa during recent hearings. When you base your case on lies and false statistics, you don’t survive in a court of law. I guess CRIA is hoping that the court of public opinion is more forgiving. For the money that shareholders are paying the executives, the shareholders deserve more.

    This ends my rant. Bottom line: There is an answer to the copyright problems. As long as zealots like Graham represent grotesquely unbalanced positions based on propaganda and lies, it will be difficult to work towards a solution. I am behaving like a zealot against the industry but Graham’s distortions demand an exaggerated counter point. Finally, where are the record company presidents who represent the CRIA board. Why do you let a person like this represent you. At the end of the day, he drags you down to his level. Take action to find a solution. Graham is wasting your money and delaying a solution.

  5. The flaw in DRM is that the more protection they put in, the easier it is to break. I don’t mean “break=theft” (the curreent useage), but rather that hackers can break the DRM by simply damaging the files and making the DRM set off all sorts of alarms.

    Hackers and the CRIA are always on the same team. Both want to be a pain in the ass to consumers whenever possible. Both want control. Both want you to have limited use of your purchases. Both want more DRM (hacking an MP3 file is fairly boring …). Both want you to have to repurchase your music frequently. Both sides infect your system with Rootkits.

    Both hate consumers.

  6. Cultural ground assault…
    I tried to listen to this speech but after just a few minutes of listening to his Canadian consumer-bashing, Canadian government-bashing, and general angry tone verbal assaults on lovers of music and pretty much everything else, I had to stop.

    Who is this guy? Obviously those at the recording association who pay him are kin to Big Brother, Hollywood Big Business, and George Bush. For certain they do not fit the profile of peace loving, tolerant and considerate Canadians as the rest of world generally sees us. The man’s voice billows antagonism and what one might call economic hatred similar to a fire and brimstone evangelist.

    Whoever his following is, a word of caution: Industry trade lobbying evangelists are really no different than other preachers yielding snake oil. The big music business is obviously seeking salvation somewhere but for certain this man’s speak is the wrong place. He sounds more like a cult leader who twists real facts and preys upon the senses to gather a following. Remember, the members of Jimmy Jones followed his advice too… all the way to their eventual destruction, too.

    With this kind of leadership, the recording association deserves to fall by the wayside and for certain something better will grow in its place.

  7. Morality assumptions not on target
    The implication is that the Canadian consumer is without moral fibre? Instead of deriding customers maybe, just maybe, appreciating them could be slightly more valueable. Sheeba has some interesting statistics on their online store that would seem to refute this very crass assumption.

  8. Neil Leyton says:

    Quite sad to think that Graham Henderson also lectures at U of T law school, teaching entertainment law to future Canadian lawyers 🙁

  9. A. Nother Poster says:

    Whatever you may think about Henderson .
    …. with the exception of Neil Leyton, none of you other posters who are so full of self-proclaimed wisdom had the guts to use your own names. Cowards. You write as if you had all the answers, but you’re too chickenshit to sign your own names. And me? Well, I don’t claim to have any answers at all.

  10. Chicken Sh_t Perplexed says:

    The names don’t matter
    The names are irrelevant.

    What is relevant is that Graham is trying to inflict his misguided wisdom on my freedoms.

    The corporations that he represents feel justified to take control of people’s computers in a manner that corrupts the reliability of the computer and exposes the owners personal information to the internet. These are the people who fooled the Republicans into rushing laws that make it illegal to create work arounds to badly designed DRM tools that cripple devices that individuals bought for personal use. They never paused to listen to the citizens of their nation.

    These are the people that want to monitor everything that we do on the internet, just in case one person might be listening to music. Western society has been build on a principle of human rights and Graham and his backers are prepared to sweep that away in the name of corporate profits and 14 million Euro salaries.

    In order to do so, they are prepared to lie to legislators and the public. Hell, they even lie to the artists that they are pretending to protect.

    I’ll stop posting negative rants when Graham stops his lies and tables a proposal that provides a fair method for music industry to protect it’s investments and provide the freedoms that artists desire.
    Graham has chosen to make himself the lighting rod for the industry. Notice that the music company presidents are invisible and silent. They pay Graham to make these outrageous statements knowing that he will take the fall if this initiative fails. Then they can create a new association with a new mandate.

    When you play the role of lightning rod, don’t be surprised to catch a bit few bolts of lightning, especially if you are brewing up a storm of controversy.

    I respect A. Nother Posters right to call me a chicken sh_t coward, but I don’t respect his/her inability to understand the magnitude of wrong that Graham has chosen to inflict on the public. The wrongs created by my choice to remain anonymous is minor compared to Graham’s wrongs.

    That’s just common sense.

  11. More of the same
    1) Shouldn’t Neil Leyton still be paying Suede for stealing their image and music a decade ago? And why does he think artists should give away their music?
    2) Isn’t this Geist on Geist? His self-admitted flack runs Page’s dog and pony show (or is that Dog and Broken Social Scene show), is clearly involved in this new “artist” movement, and then reports on it in his blog. Sad. Or maybe pathetic. Probably both. But it is sadder still that you suckers have bought into this like a carp on a hot spring day.

  12. Neil Leyton says:

    To Anon:
    Thanks for acknowledging that music isn’t created out of thin air. On my first solo album, I think I owe Suede probably about half as much as they owe Bowie and the Smiths. It’s called CULTURE. And its meant to be SHARED, not DRM(read: locked)’ed away as a commercial commodity.

    As for giving music away, I think no such thing. The internet is a great new place to get some new fans though, if you are up to treating them fairly. Brush up on what a Creative Commons non-commercial licence really entails, and then phone me up anytime to discuss things instead of clogging up Michael’s site with your meaningless drivel accusations. If you are lucky you might catch me at one of my offices (numbers on the web) in between tours.

    Also, as far as I know, Mr. Geist (to you) has nothing at all to do with the CMCC.

    Have a wonderful, cheerful life.

  13. Russell McOrmond says:

    The Wild West lawlessness of the digital
    Just wanting to add a link to my comments on Hendersons talk. We agree that there is lawlessness that must be fixed by moving to creating proper rules. Where we greatly disagree is who are the “white hats” and who are the “black hats” in this western.

    What will Henderson do when his coalition of saloons gets shut down anyway?