CRIA at the Copyright Board

The Copyright Board of Canada is currently conducting hearings on a proposed online music services tariff and I dropped by the hearings this morning to hear the conclusion of the questioning of CRIA Graham Henderson.  Henderson, who was joined by Sony BMG counsel C.J. Prudham, had several noteworthy things to say about file sharing lawsuits, P2P usage in Canada, and the growth of online music sales. First, Henderson described the strategy of suing alleged file sharers as both a "pillar" and a "last resort." He stated that CRIA is holding off launching further lawsuits while the copyright reform process is active. He also acknowledged that the effectiveness of lawsuits as a deterrent was open to question, noting that there needed to be a large number of lawsuits to represent a credible threat.  Moreover, those most likely to file share, the 15 – 24 age group, were also viewed as the biggest risk takers who might not in any event respond to the lawsuit threat.

Second, Henderson was asked about CRIA's persistent claim that the OECD has identified Canada as the largest per capita file sharing country.  Following a series of questions, he acknowledged that the OECD data suggested that Canada and the U.S. had roughly the same number of file sharers on a per capita basis.  He believed, however, that Canadian file sharers were much more active P2P users.

Third, and most incredibly, Henderson was asked about the growing success of the fee-based online music market and new data that shows continuing success of online sales. He responded by stating that he had not seen such data.  The questioner was puzzled, noting Nielsen SoundScan has music download sales reports.  The response from the President of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (who earlier this year told the Canadian Club that Canada is "out in the cold" in building digital markets)?  He hasn't read the Nielsen reports.


  1. Hasn\’t read the Neilson reports?!? He used the data from Soundscan in his infamous \”Hollaback Girl\” tirade. They\’re credited on the graph in the Canadian Club speech you\’ve linked above.

  2. Isn’t that company called NieLSEN, instead of NeiLSEN?

  3. The Canada Club speech also has a number copyrighted images. Makes me wonder if they were obtained directly from the copyright holder, or copied from a broadcast source. It would be interesting to here how DRM and DCMA type legislation would impact the production of such a document.

  4. Wonder, is it an ‘offense’ to outright LIE in a hearing at federal agency such as the Copyright Board? Are there any fines, penalties, or legal process applicable to lying or for falsifying your own statements, or misrepresentation…

  5. It’s better for Henderson and his ilk to ignore continued legal sale downloads so he can continue to act as if the sky is falling and how action, any action, must be done to save the music industry. Henderson deserves to be kicked in the crotch (or worse).

  6. subsidy
    I once attempted to ‘join’ a digital music service, I was denied access as I was Canadian, and the service was only available to Americans. I am curious if others have had the same experience. I expect the intent is to keep Canadian’s from obtaining ‘legal’ content, until such a time as the copyright laws are re-written to bias the ‘content’ industry. This allows then to hide the fact that most of what they are asking for is unnecessary, if they provided proper services/products. (Proper services/products mean NON DRM files, and a free market pricing, not the price fixing the media ‘cartels’ regularly utilize).

    Since the purpose of copyright is to strike a balance between creators need for income and the benefit of society as a whole (i.e. advancements in the arts, sciences etc), Copyright should be based on this. It is after all originally designed to be an ‘incubator’ for innovation. Not a money grab for media companies (and others). Therefore after a ‘work’ has earned a certain $ amount (say the average Income * X number of years) or has been available for Y years then it becomes public domain. X and Y should be reasonable numbers (Y much less than the current timeline). And it should be proposed to the creators as a take it or leave it proposal, i.e. if you don’t want it then ok, the government backs off copyright, removes the existing rules (the incubator) and allows the ‘free market’ to develop. As it is the creators are receiving a ‘subsidy’ from the people, and complaining about it. (And we all know the creators are not really the ones pushing this, the content industry basically wants society to guarantee it a profit, no matter how bad of a ‘product’ they produce)