SAC Defends Its Proposal

Eddie Schwartz, the president of the Songwriters Association of Canada, responds to the recent National Post editorial criticizing the organization's proposal to fully legalize file sharing with a counterpoint editorial


  1. Unfair
    Having read Mr. Schwartz’s rebuttal, I can see how from his (biased) point of view, charging all Canadians an extra $ 60.00 per year to use the internet may seem acceptable.

    However, I strongly disagree.

    I have no verifiable information as to the accuracy of his assertion that “Music creators currently receive no compensation of any kind for up to 97% of the use of their music on the internet.” I personally feel that it is grossly exaggerated and I wonder how such an estimate could be determined. However that is not my main concern.

    His proposal, (and other levy-focused proponents) would force me to pay a penalty to satisfy his alleged loss.

    I do not download music or movies or TV programs.
    I don’t use the stuff! I find very little of what currently passes for entertainment to be of interest.

    I strongly object to paying anyone, anything to support a failed business model. If nobody is willing to pay for your product, then fine, move on to another business. If we accept levies as a standard then perhaps we should have a levy on tires to compensate the buggy-whip manufacturers. How about a 50¢ surcharge on light bulbs to support the oil-lamp industry?

    Extortion is not a defensible business plan.

  2. Alan Cooper says:

    Hear! Hear! Hear! Hear! Hear!
    Well said Bill. I couldn’t agree more that levy systems are deeply wrong (and I am glad to see that Ariel Katz seems at least to be aware of some of the very real concerns). This is a point on which you, Michael, sometimes seem to be blinded by your admirable desire to provide a system with full and free flow of information and content. The goal of giving people true ownership of what they purchase is a good one, but having that ownership paid for by granting ‘Letters of Marque’ for extortion from uninterested third parties is NOT a fair solution.

  3. Based on Mr Schwartz’s description, the idea seems to be to ensure that they get paid for those folks that download but don’t burn the song to a CD… And for the folks that do burn, well, they get to double dip for that.

    However I agree with Bill above… at what point does this end? And, if it can be proven that downloading has gone away, will they stop collecting the levy? As ISPs start to interfere with the P2P sites (traffic shaping) it will make it harder and harder to download even legal stuff. Will they agree to reduce the levy then (since you can’t download as much)? All this so that they don’t have to chase after the uploaders.

  4. I find it ironic and pathetic that he uses Napster as an example of a 10 year old “legitimate” service. Napster was not legitimate when it stared. Shortly after it was started it was sued by the record labels and shut down for years. It only recently reemerged as a legitimate service. If there was a legitimate service 10 years ago we would not be talking about this today. We *still* don’t have satisfactory legitimate music services in Canada.

  5. Internet for all
    I don’t doubt that Eddie Schwartz is well meaning, but he’s a gormless git. In fact he sounds like a sincere version of the RIAA. Where does he get those numbers? Does he have any ideas about what the internet is or should be, or does he think it is just some new channel for the distribution of, for profit, entertainment? If so, shame on him. The internet is much, much more than that… and it’s for everybody.

    I personally have a huge collection of recordings which I’ve collected in the last 50 years or so and I’ve never downloaded any music. I also feel a need to say that of the many people I know who are serious, and knowlagable about computer technology, none are downloaders of music. In my universe, nobody downloads music. On top of that, many of my friends are musicians, as I am.

    I’ve spent most of my life either playing music, or promoting artistic endeavors in some way. I have all the reason in the world to support the SAC. I can think of no good reason for an internet levy to support ANYTHING… even if Mr. Schwartz’ numbers are right.