Politics Trumps Policy as Copyright Bill Approaches

The Hill Times features a special op-ed this week (HT version (sub required), homepage version) that I wrote on the recent Statistics Canada and Industry Canada studies on the music industry.  With independent data now confirming that the Canadian music industry is enjoying healthy profits and that Internet file sharing is not responsible for the declining sales at some record companies, these studies highlight the government's mounting challenge as it works to fulfill its Speech from the Throne commitment to introduce copyright reform in the current Parliamentary session. 

Simply stated, prioritizing reforms that target the music industry in a bill that is expected within weeks will run counter to the government's own research analysis and open the door to a lengthy list of angry stakeholders. Indeed, sandwiched between the two reports, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters openly declared war last week against CRIA, characterizing its latest demands as "egregious and abusive."  They join many other groups frustrated with a copyright reform process that seemingly places politics before policy and fiction above fact.  With opposition likely to come from broadcasters, education groups, consumers, privacy commissioners, and the technology community, copyright could emerge as an issue where the Liberals and Conservatives sing a different tune.


  1. Time to fire off another letter to my MP. And, this time, I’m making sure that he knows this is a vote-deciding issue.

  2. Let’s see. The CRIA, who supposedly represents the labels, was claiming that artists were having a hard time finding labels willing to invest in them. To me, this says that they were not willing to take a chance on artists whose style of music was not what was “current”.

    So, as those new artist’s music starts to take off, and the old “current” stuff starts to fade away, those artists aren’t interested in signing with the big labels and losing control? Go figure.

  3. Is Harper a leader?
    Where is the governance process here? Who is ramming this obviously flawed legislation through without a proper understanding of the facts? No doubt that American politicians are putting a lot of pressure on Canadian politicians, using their underhanded threat methods.

    Just as Jean Chretien stood up for Canada, in rejecting the flawed American logic for war in Iraq, Harper needs to stand up for Canada, rejecting the flawed American logic for copyright. If Steven Harper is unable to show the leadership that Canada needs, what can the rest of Canadians do to help our government understand the errors of it’s ways on this topic.