American Federation of Musicians Demand NDP Apology For Supporting Balanced Copyright

Yesterday I posted on how security guards outside the Toronto copyright town hall demanded that the Canadian Federation of Students and NDP MP Olivia Chow stop distributing flyers discussing their positions on copyright.  It turns out there is further fallout from the incident.  Chow was distributing a flyer that included NDP MP Charlie Angus' interview with Exclaim! on copyright along with "count on me to speak out against Bill C-61 and anti-circumvention rules. I support stronger fair dealing." The Angus interview includes comments on the need for forward looking laws, the failed DMC, and the need to ways to monetize online activities.

While none of this is new – MPs like Angus and Chow have been saying this for months – it generated an incredible response from Alan Willaert, the Canadian representative of the American Federation of Musicians. Willaert sent the following email to representatives of virtually every major Canadian creator group:

Greetings to all.

I am attaching a flyer that was handed out by Olivia Chow at last night’s Copyright Town Hall meeting at the Royal York in Toronto.  I am sure all of you will find its content equally as disgusting as I did.

In light of the fact that the NDP at its convention in Halifax this month dealt with a resolution identified as 6-21-09 Expanding Party Policy on “Supporting Canadian Creativity”, and showed clear support for “ensuring appropriate copyright protection so that creators are fairly compensated for their intellectual property”, I am shocked that both Chow and Charlie Angus are allowed to openly depart from party policy and directive, obviously just to shamelessly buy votes among young people and academics.

We intend on taking the NDP to task over this, and will accept nothing less than a retraction of Ms Chow’s statements and an apology.

Leaving aside the fact that some of those same creator groups spoke for stronger fair dealing with protection for parody at the town hall, it is incredible that we've reached the point that speaking against C-61 and for fair dealing is viewed by some groups as "disgusting" and requiring a retraction and apology.

Update: Charlie Angus responds to the demand for an apology: "Sorry, dude. . . it ain't happening."


  1. Dwight Williams says:

    What the…?
    How did these guys fall off of the same page here?

  2. Sandra Nunn says:

    The rhetoric is heating up…
    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. ” Gandhi

  3. Who are you? And why are you messing with Canada’s internal affairs?
    “Now, as an International Representative for the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), he is involved in contract language and negotiations, training and support, as well as electronic media specifics such as royalties, new use and special payments.”

    Gang of accountants and lawyers.

    “When should musicians think about joining the union?
    I would encourage them to look into membership the moment they decide to record or that their product is worth money.”

    Translated for you: Talk to us when your product is worth our time.

  4. Can someone post a link to this “disgusting” flyer so that we can make sure it gets the widest possible dissemination?

    Rock on Charlie and Olivia!

  5. disgusting
    disgusting is how little respect these group have for fans of music. I no longer listen to music from any group the supports anti-consumer practices.

  6. “shamelessly buy votes among young people and academics”

    So, “buying votes” is what he calls sacrificing some of the media industries’ profits for the benefit of these groups of people. The very idea is shameful in his mind! How can we have a conversation with such fanatics?

  7. AFM
    A few short years ago, hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans, devastating the city and leaving thousands homeless. We all stared at the TV in shock at the damage – and also in horror as scores of folks, including police officers, broke store windows and carried away millions in merchandise. How awful, we all thought. Where is the law?

    Well, where was the collective horror when Napster hit, and a far greater number of folks looted and exploited musicians’ intellectual property and content? How may can say they didn’t join that mob? And now, rather than put things right, the cry is to legitimize this rape! Don’t make our young people criminals! Don’t make us teach the next generation right from wrong!

    Don’t make the mistake that this is about balance. This is about keeping artists and performers in their place – keep them starving. This is about peoples’ jobs and livelihoods. And since those folks are the normal constituents of the NDP, you can now understand the disappointment with which we view Olivia Chow and Charlie Angus.

  8. Mockingbird says:

    My take
    Can be found here

  9. The copyright debate rhetoric is beginning to sound rather like the abortion debate in the US.

  10. Darryl Moore says:

    No respect for AFM or copyright
    ALan @ AFM, can’t figure out why he and the other copyright maximalists don’t get more sympathy. He thinks this is a war and the other side is out to deny artists and performers what they are due.

    However, few people who disagree with him take such a position. What people object to is his argument that copyright holders should be able to maintain the same control they have been able to through the 20th century, and maintain that control at the expense of other peoples freedom.

    Case in point:

    The terms of service from his organization’s website claims the right to control who may or may not link to their website. Balderdash! I will link to any part of his site I wish, and there is nothing and there should be nothing, he can say or do about it.
    2. The Website is made available for your personal, non-commercial use only. As part of such use, you may display, download and/or print pages from the site; you may link to the Website; and you may forward Website materials to others for personal, non-commercial uses that are reasonably related to the Website’s purposes.

    Perhaps if the rights he were asking for were reasonable he would get more support. Like road speed limits that are set too low, or theater and amusement parks rules that try to prevent patrons from bringing in their own food, people will ignore laws that are generally considered unfair. That is where copyright sits today. Making copyright stronger as his and other organizations are trying to do will only decrease the respect people already have for it, leaving him wondering even more why he ‘don’t get no respect.’

  11. When Napster hit…
    ALan – when Napster hit, the music industry had been ripping of customers and musicians for years, from “breakage” on CDs hurting musicians, to the CD levy ripping off anyone backing up their code, files, photographs onto CD.

    As much as I have absolute sympathy for any musician who’s hard work is ripped off by the public or music industry, their absolute failure to move to new business models and the total lack of respect for customers through examples such as root-kit DRM sorely taxes my sympathy reserves to their limit.

    When Napster hit, blank DVDs for backing up files were practically unknown, so it was to CD I backed up my code and software that I write, and photos that I take. Every time my money went to support musicians, effectively taxing the software and photographic industries to support them.

    So before you go on about right and wrong, think about how your industry has been right and wrong. I don’s support DRM and I don’t force it on my customers. I have more sense than to support a broken business model. I treat my customers with respect, and in turn, earn their respect.

    For musicians that I like, I prefer to deal direct, and I’m happy that they’re no longer being ripped off by the music industry and are totally independent. I have no problem sending them money direct for new music.

    But you write as if musicians have a right to earn a living from their creativity. Well, they don’t. I don’t have a right to earn a living from selling my software. That I am able to is through a combination of luck and hard work. If I didn’t have the luck and didn’t have the hard work, I’d be working a job like anyone else. I have no right to my chosen career or business model. If my sales dry up and I fail to adapt, that’s my fault, not the markets.

  12. Intellectual Property
    Alan @ AFM –

    Products of the intellect are not “property.” Copyrights and patents are not property rights. If they were, they would never expire.

    You need to apologize for your use of this intentionally misleading term, and refrain from using it again in future.

  13. I’m confused. I thought that politicians were supposed to represent the people but apparently that’s “buying votes”. I guess they’re supposed to be representing the US special interest lobby groups that made campaign contributions and thought they’d bought the party.

  14. You know it’s pretty funny that Industry people are pulling these stunts over the past few days. They still don’t get how to promote their angle on this let alone Talent in the digital realm. The only way they think they can get publicity in this debate is to appear on a write up in this blog, and the only way to do that is try to piss off Geists followers.

    Maybe joining in with the entire blogosphere who is calling for a fair and balanced approach, may get them the publicity they are looking for. Those of us who do blog, shouldn’t be paying any attention to these little stunts. It’s a waste of time.

  15. AFM
    Well, the folks on this blog are right about one thing. There s a new business model out there. Now, instead of having to battle big employers and large corporations, every individual can be an entrepreneur. The mantra is the same – making money at the expense of the “workers”. We in the labour movement have seen it all before. Musicians had to find new ways to survive after the sound recording displaced live music; new ways to endure after 5000 musicians were put out of work with the advent of the “talkie” motion pictures. DJs get rich presenting product that musicians produce. TV, radio stations, cable companies – are all desperate to acquire music [aka content] at little or no cost, to maximize profits. Their answer? “Go on tour and sell some T-shirts.” 90% of the musicians in this country have to keep a day job to survive, because the income from music is below the poverty line. THAT’S why I’m not interested in the arguments about balance in copyright. “Balance” = more for the consumer, less for the artist/performer.

    Meanwhile, there are even bigger thieves at work. At the Rogers music festival in Hamilton, you can showcase IF you assign al your rights to Rogers. Make no mistake – cable companies and broadcasters are leveraging content. They want it for nothing, so they can repackage it and sell it to the consumer at a huge profit. Where’s the balance there?

    I say again, this is not about suing an 8 year old. This is about jobs, families and survival. Artists/performers deserve the pennies in royalties they have worked for. Unlike any other profession, music requires thousands of hours of practice, thousands spent in instruments, lessons and gear, and then they look forward to practicing every day of their lives in order to keep the edge. Being exploited was the reason musicians formed the AFM in 1896. Being exploited is why we are still here today.

  16. @Alan
    Balance = respecting consumer rights and recognizing that a desire to make a living doesn’t mean that artists can have ISP’s spy on everything people do. I’m sorry my right to privacy trumps your curiosity to know if I’m copying your music.

    The money that artists/performers are trying to acquire comes from the consumers it doesn’t fall from the sky. Draconian measures and tougher laws that make criminals of people that are just trying to legally use what they purchased is counter productive. You can’t put locks on what you sell and keep the keys.

    The laws need to provide the artists/performers the opportunity to make a profit not guarantee a living. Apple, Amazon and others have proven that people will buy music without these measures.

  17. Darryl Moore says:

    Alan not interested in balance
    Alan@AFM saiz: “90% of the musicians in this country have to keep a day job to survive, because the income from music is below the poverty line. THAT’S why I’m not interested in the arguments about balance in copyright. “Balance” = more for the consumer, less for the artist/performer.”

    All of this may be true, and it may not. It is however, entirely beside the point. You speak as though musicians have an inalienable right to make a living from music. Well, surprise. They don’t. Not any more than I have a right to make a living off of the things I like to do. If you can make a living off of it great for you. If you can’t and you need to supplement your income with other paid work, well, welcome to reality. There are a lot of us here who have to do the same thing. Suck it up buttercup. It’s called life.

    Fair in my mind, actually has absolutely nothing to do with the artist at all. Fair copyright is the minimum amount of copyright protection needed to encourage the maximum amount of creative output. As copyright protection is by definition a restriction on what I as a user or an artist can do with existing works, a fair amount of it would necessarily be the minimum necessary to achieve the desired goal.

    The whole issue of artists being able to make a living or not should be addressed by the market, not entrenched in copyright. Copyright is already much stronger that it need be to encourage creative works. More of it takes rights away from me to line the pockets of megacorps, and ironically reduces creative output.

    I think it was Lawrence Lessig who said: “copyright is to creativity like water is to humans: too little and you dehydrate and die, too much and you drown and die.”

  18. Keeping in mind that less than 2% of musicians historically actually make it far enough in the industry to call it a career (even before the advent of file sharing), one of the voices in Toronto’s town hall that was basically shut out, was one of a local musician. It’s worth listening to:

    That 2% could be a lot higher, if Industry would actually take a bit more of a keen interest in the digital realm and use it properly rather than fight it. I agree with Alan though that there is a need to balance the law professionally, but fairly as well. I can tell you that DJ’s are not getting rich of of presenting product. Many of them took a huge hit as well, in some cases a lot harder than musicians. Pools no longer are servicing this community properly (unless you are playing Justin Timberlake, or Britney Spears). A large part of this is due to the fragmentation of the industry and the amount of smaller labels.

    Even when permission is given by the labels, and often artistic talent themselves to promote play tracks in podcasts, there currently is no law we have to help foster in the monetization of this so that DJ’s can get paid as well, and artists can be fairly compensated. Often times the labels EXPECT DJ’s to provide them with FREE promotions on podcasts and related digital marketing. This is not their JOB!

    So there is a lot of people inside and out taking advantage of the situations. This is one of the reasons why groups like AFM need to be focusing their direction on professional law. In a lot of cases the consumer really isn’t to blame for some of the things we’ve seen as far as exploiting musicians, and creative talent needs to look more closely within to ensure that those asking for stricter copyrights and bastardizing the consumer, are not the same people in control of your works, and exploiting them within the industry because professional law isn’t where it should be either! A sheet of wool pulled over creative talents head by industry, is clouding a lot of the serious issues here.

    It’s very nice to see the tone from AFM change a bit here, and lets hope it’s not too late to look at the situation rationally, and get involved in protecting creators rights where it really counts.

  19. AFM
    Hey Darryl,

    If musicians don’t have an inalienable right to make a living with their chosen profession, after all the study, sacrifice and cost, then I don’t know who does. You are falling prey to the common problem the public has – misinterpreting what a musician does because he “plays” his instrument, or the illusion that because they enjoy their craft or the fact that it entertains others, that it’s something they should love to do without being compensated.

    Let’s pick another profession. How about a university professor? Do you think those folks would be so happy to forego their copyright proceeds from the texts and journals they write, if their job as a professor paid jack? Why shouldn’t they pump gas at night to subsidize their day job teaching? They enjoy watching young minds grow don’t they? Shouldn’t they do that for free, and maybe work highway construction nights and weekends? Of course not, because the public perceives that as a “real” job. Meanwhile, hundreds of symphonic musicians in this country don’t make enough to pay rent AND eat from their season. They supplement their income with private lessons and freelance gigs at weddings and such. Or, something unrelated to music.

    In every profession, there are those that work hard and succeed, and those that can’t make the cut. But music is an anomaly, in that the very people who enjoy the product are many of the same ones who are killing it as a livelihood.

  20. @ Allen
    “Artists/performers deserve the pennies in royalties they have worked for.”

    Agreed, but nowhere does the interview with Mr. Angus suggest anything that would deny this. He claims that the current proposals, as in C61, are broken, and the the DMCA does not work. I suppose the closest he comes to threatening royalties and other commercial rights is in the call for a public discussion of private copying; note that he does not specifically advocate allowing private copying, nor does he suggest that commercial use should be allowed without compensation, nor does he suggest that private copying can be allowed without a system for artist compensation. You also say that Mr. Angus and Ms. Chow’s position runs contrary to NDP policy; show me how any of what they said violates the principle of “appropriate copyright protection” that protects fair compensation.

    What I find disturbing is not your advocating for DMCA like copyright, but your attitude to those who disagree. That we think copyright needs to be balanced between rights of creators and users does not make use thieves. You say having a discussion on copying is “disgusting”, who are you to say what can be discussed? Copying material is clearly nowadays a common occurrence, currently illegal, and many have said they do not feel that this is right, or fair. You disagree. Good for you. But there is clearly something for discussion. If you think millions of people are wrong, convince them, participate in a discussion. If, for example, you want to stop file sharing, lets hear a reasoned discussion as to why people should not share copyrighted works; we hear that it hurts the profits of artists, but I have seen reasoned arguments that this is not a problem. I’d like to hear a similar reasoned response.

    If you support copyright without fair dealing/fair use, or blanket anti circumvention, convince us. If you support longer terms, again, convince us. You convince no one by calling any position but your own abhorrent, saying your industry needs the laws you want, and refusing to defend that position. You convince no one with stronger laws if even the current ones are thought unfair. You say that this is not about suing 8 year olds, but that is what you seek the ability to do. Instead of convincing people of a moral case, and then passing laws which represent the electorate you call for laws which are not supported by the electorate, and the government to enforce them. That, quite simply, is not democracy. You say that showing beliefs other than your own is simply “buying votes”, but what are elected politicians supposed to do, if not represent the beliefs of those who elect them? If the people, as a whole, believe copyright in its current or proposed form, or, fore that matter, any other law, to be unfair, you have no business saying that their representatives should not discuss it.

  21. I see how it is, the musicians who are unable to make it big are bickering for stronger copyright. Maybe its time to choose another profession if music isn’t making you a living. I know many who had to do just that. Its life, most people actually have to work for a living, even if its something they cannot stand doing. I don’t see how music is an anomaly, either you suck and nobody really cares about your music, or you make it big and live the big life the rest of your days. Simple as that. You aren’t entitled to get paid if you don’t have much of an audience.

    I dare you to try and find some “canadian unknown” bands on big file sharing networks… lol, you wont find any as nobody cares about you. I don’t see how stronger copyright will help you here. You’re just falling into the big labels crackhead addict agenda. The very same guys who make their living off other artists that made it big.

    I have no sympathy, really. The whole attitude that the world owes you something because you can make music is laughable.

  22. Darryl Moore says:

    No inalianable rights
    Alan Saiz: “If musicians don’t have an inalienable right to make a living with their chosen profession, after all the study, sacrifice and cost, then I don’t know who does.”

    Stop right there Alan, because that is the answer. NO ONE DOES!

    Take my profession please. I’m an engineer, and I run a small business. I’ve done lots of study and sacrifice at considerable cost. I have no right to a living for the things I build or create. I will only make money if people want to employ me for my services. I also can’t count on copyright to provide me with a retirement fund either. I stop working, and I stop making money.

    I’m not an abolishenist by any extent, but you have to keep in mind that copyright is an artificial monopoly with terms and breadth that are arbitrary. The breadth and terms have always been more generous then they need be to promote creative works. Now in this new digital world they are even more of an impediment.

  23. Payment isn’t a right. Payment is earned.

    Just because you’ve devoted your life to a profession doesn’t mean you should be guaranteed compensation for performing it. You could spend years learning a profession, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing if nobody is willing to pay you for your services. You’re product is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. Abusing the legal system to collect payment for something nobody would buy in the first place amounts to corporate welfare

    The fact is, not everybody can make a living doing what they love. I love to make intricate lego sculptures, and I’ve spent years perfecting my designs, but the fact is nobody is going to pay me to play with legos all day. I keep doing it because I love it. Same goes for music. You don’t automatically get the right to collect payment after studying music. You have to earn money by finding a way to monetize your craft. And if you can’t, keep on doing what you love, and find a job that pays!

    I really urge you to google “Parable of the broken window”.

    a fellow musician

  24. Alan, when Katrina hit, the looting could be seen and measured. I am yet to see any proof that Napster cost the industry a penny.

  25. @Norm – awesome on the lego analogy…very true, and well said. I remember a day when the industry used to be like this. Now many see it as depressing as hell, and full with greed. I long for the days when we can get back to doing the things we love, rather than have to deal with this crap.

    Just a few minutes ago, I was talking with my wife about pre-ordering a CD from one of her favorite bands. I asked her why, and just kind of blurred out that artists should be asking for the money before hand to pre-order, and then when the albums come out, use RSS feeds once the fee for the album was paid, then everyone gets the album at the same time. As a huge music lover who doesn’t use bit-torrent for her downloads and was shafted by DRM last year on Itunes tracks we couldn’t throw on our Digial sony walkman, she thought this was an awesome idea, so I’d thought I’d throw it out here, since there are a few people reading this.

  26. wackyvorlon says:

    I endeavour to support artists I like. However, no one has a right to be paid for anything they do. Technology has outpaced the current music industry, and they are fighting to stop it. Many have tried over the centuries, all have failed. The march of technology is inexorable.

  27. Adrian Duyzer says:

    It’s about balance
    I disagree with Darryl Moore’s position, essentially summed up when he says, “I have no right to a living for the things I build or create. I will only make money if people want to employ me for my services.”

    If you create something that no one uses or is interested in then you’re right. But if you create something that people really like, then you could be wrong, depending on how it is used and by whom.

    Suppose you learned that a company was selling your software and becoming very rich in the process without compensating you in any way for it. If you had not released our software under an open source license, and your business model did not revolve around open source (for instance, by providing paid support for an open source product), you would find this upsetting (I am a software developer too, and I certainly would.)

    Similarly, if a musician writes a song that is used as the background music in a commercial for a car, I would defend their right to be compensated. After all, the manufacturer is profiting from using the song, so the songwriter has a right to a share of that. Your arguments seem to indicate you disagree with that right, which puts you in a minority of Canadians, I think.

    Creators need more options to make money than by performing. The ability of people who are employed for their services to make real money is generally pretty limited, since there is only so much you can charge by the hour (lawyers may disagree). As a software developer, I hope to create software that I can profit from by reusing or reselling; musicians hope to write songs they can profit from in more ways than performing them, and the same goes for all the other creative professions.

    That doesn’t mean, however, that file sharing ought to be illegal, or that we ought to tolerate DRM, or that corporations should be able to suppress our ability to express ourselves online through notice and takedown. These measures ignore the rights of the public purely in favour of the organizations and corporations who claim to represent creators (but often do not).

    Their positions are often extreme. In comments here, AFM compares file-sharers to looters and even rapists: “rather than put things right, the cry is to legitimize this rape!”

    AFM, are you seriously suggesting that the millions of people who used Napster and who continue to file-share today (60 million Americans, according to the EFF) are equivalent to looters and rapists?

    The argument that copying music makes people thieves is illogical. If I steal from you, you no longer have possession over the item I have stolen, and cannot enjoy it or use it in any way – which is clearly not the case if you are a musician and I give a copy of one of your songs to a friend. Infringing copyright may not be right, but it is not the *same thing* as stealing.

    The standard response to this is that you have still suffered a loss, because if I did not give your music to a friend, they would have purchased it instead. Richard Stallman dispenses with that logic in relationship to books at

    I believe that when NCarlson, in his excellent comment, refers to “reasoned arguments”, Stallman’s kind of arguments are the ones he is talking about. If the copyright lobby wants to win this argument, they need to start making arguments, instead of using slurs and emotional generalizations.

  28. I would like to know who the members of this organization are. That way, I can avoid buying their music.

  29. Market for selling copies is no more
    Alan@AFM, and everyone else from creative industries should read this “Beat-to-Bit” article in order to ensure their industry’s survival:

    And get to work. The most successful and intelligent industries survived with brilliance despite being hit very hard by technological innovation. Yours can survive too, if you do it right.

    People DO PAY for music… that has VALUE. Despite the availability of that music on countless free websites.

    Market for selling copies is no more. If you business model is built on selling copies, and you persist on that, as a business your game is over.

  30. Copyright is NOT a right
    Copyright is not a right, it is a privilege.

    “But you write as if musicians have a right to earn a living from their creativity. Well, they don’t. ”

    And the minute you communicate your idea to the outside world, it belongs to everyone.

    But this way most creators (except those who create because they cannot not create) would not have an incentive to create. So, this is why we have that “copy-privilege”.

    But it is important to remember that copyright is a contract between a creator and society.

    The society grants a creator _certain_ privileges for a _certain_ period of time on an intellectual work created by the creator, and in exchange the society gets that work to the _public domain_ at the end of the term.

    Society makes that privilege concession because more works get created and public domain becomes richer. If public domain does not become richer (and it won’t become richer with all those term extensions), no concession should be made by the society.

    Those who lobby for copyright term extensions are violating this contract between privilege holder and society. And this absolves the society from honouring their part of the deal. This is what we see today: a vicious circle of more draconian laws that cannot be enforced efficiently, leading to even more disrespect for copyright and fight against copyright.

  31. @ Alan
    I’m a professional classical musician. I can pretty much guarantee that I’ve spent more time actually studying and practicing than virtually every member of the AFM. Our “gear” is worth way, way, way more money too. Guess what? Nobody protects our butts through copyright. The record industry long ago decided that classical recordings are a single pay out – no royalties are paid at all on virtually every classical recording made in the last 25 years. Do you know what? That’s meant that we actually have to work as, get this, “performers.” People actually expect us to “perform” and “give performances” if we want to be paid.

    Do you know what? There are a lot of us out there. Many do need second jobs, usually in the field, but other income to be sure. And you know what? There are more of us than ever before. More performance opportunities than ever before, and more people making a living at it than ever before.

    Once you guys at the AFM, along with the record labels, get your fingers out of musicians’ pies, the industry will be the stronger for it. There will be more performers, performing better music. This will be because those that choose to do it will actually have to work for it. They will need to dedicate their lives to it and will have to form a product that people want to listen to and pay for, instead of downloading for free.

    Nice try but you’re here to protect your ass, and that of the labels, producers, execs. and the other hangers on that music can do without. Where’s my apology?

  32. The thought police have arrived.
    With a stroke of the pen, VANOC overrulled several Canadian laws and protections to suit their needs, why should the AFM be any different?

    I suspect they will sue, and win, the right to force the NDP to support the AFM take on things.

  33. Protest the Olympics in Canada
    So, let’s protest the olympics in Canada, like it was done with chinese olympics. Because now there is no more olympic spirit, but only greed, corruption and free speech restrictions.

    Quote from a comment on p2pnet post telling about China wanting Sweden to remove torrents from The Pirate Bay:

    ” I thought the Olympics were for the world to enjoy?”

  34. A few things…
    We’re talking about an industry that artificially inflated the price of CD’s for years in the change-over from cassettes to digital media. They did so unapologetically, even after they’d paid off the initial investment for new technology several fold. This is also an industry that is, under Canadian law, being paid several millions of dollars per year under the blank media levy. So I’m afraid I don’t have much sympathy for the music industry. The same issues of IP and copying of media are being faced by the software industry and they are doing JUST FINE. This question really isn’t about artists, it’s about an industry that wants increasing profits every year and control over IP indefinitely. It’s what they do. There’s a basic contradiction in trying to move music to a service-lease model (DRM) while at the same time claiming it’s a property. If it was a property, you’d buy it, own it, be able to do what you want with it. But they want it both ways, and that isn’t going to happen.

    We’re currently in one of the most creative periods in history, and that’s great. Fantastic, in fact. But not everything can be monetized, and not everything should be. Creativity builds on creativity, and keeping everything behind firewalls and locked up in protection mechanisms doesn’t help. Fair dealing exists (and should be protected) since it fosters the very creativity these people are trying to monetize. In other words, you have to give a little to get a little.

    I don’t think we need to fall into line with the US system on this one, nor should anyone else. Their IP regime has been bought and paid for by special interests and lobbyists, and I think we can do much better. Is a broken system where the longevity of Mickey Mouse ultimately determines copyright law really one we want to emulate? Probably not.

  35. Nobody has a “right” to earn a living at their chosen proession.
    AFM trolled:

    “If musicians don’t have an inalienable right to make a living with their chosen profession, after all the study, sacrifice and cost, then I don’t know who does.”

    You forgot the #1 quality – talent. If you don’t have talent, you don’t deserve to succeed. But more importantly, even with talent, study, sacrifice and cost, you STILL don’t have a “right” to make enough money to live in your chosen profession. Plenty of people go through university and end up flipping burgers and driving taxis because their “study, sacrifice and cost” is not an automagical entitlement.

    Further trolling:

    “In every profession, there are those that work hard and succeed, and those that can’t make the cut. But music is an anomaly, in that the very people who enjoy the product are many of the same ones who are killing it as a livelihood. ”

    Music is NOT an anomaly it’s a trade, like any other. What’s an anomaly is the concept that an American organization dares to tell Canadians what to do, and we actually put up with it! Good think we didn’t follow America’s lead on Iraq, or deregulating the banking industry, or HMOs and private health-care, or lack of gun control, or putting 2 million people in jail.

    We’re not going to follow the US train-wreck.

  36. If people can share…
    If people can share as we do now virtually all the artifacts of human knowledge from music to scientific papers to software, to recipes to blueprints to genomes, then the direction of history is plain–we should need less and less money to live a good life.

    Because we already need less money to live a good life–because we can share our cultural, scientific, and technological productivity–we should have more opportunity than ever before to devote ourselves to our vocations rather than making profits which are almost always mostly for someone else.

    The argument isn’t whether or not musicians have a right to be paid for their work. Rather, music and music-making like every other human creativity is a plenitude, a bounty that overflows and never runs out. Now we have technology that lets us share as never before the products of our creativity. The more we share, the less money any of us need to live a good life that includes making and enjoying culture.

  37. James T Kirk says:

    Carie, please leave your star trek la-la land future and beam back down to earth where villainous fee’s for everything and anything are what it is today.

    Put away the star trek philosophy. 😉

  38. Computer Scientist
    Alan: You’ve made a very incorrect assumption in your previous comments (well, you’ve made dozens, but one in particular galls me) when you stated that college professors would not become professors if they didn’t make money off the papers they write… Funny thing is, they don’t! Papers submitted to journals don’t bring in any money, and papers submitted to conferences sometimes even COST money (on top of the cost of attending the conference!) Academics don’t write papers to make money, they write them for the recognition and to ensure that their research and ideas are shared with a wider audience. When I write a paper about some new rendering technique, I’m doing it both to show how I was able to build on previous work and add my own unique twists to achieve something new and novel, as well as hoping that someone else will take MY idea and improve upon it. At the end of the day, everyone benefits from the free sharing of ideas and techniques and the field improves as a whole.
    Further along the road, someone may take an idea from a paper and build a commercial product around it… But that’s not why the paper was written in the first place!

    As such, I’d like an apology from you for insinuating that the production of scholarly papers had some form of monetary motive behind it rather than the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake alone!

  39. Sharing is an absolutely practical foundation for a good life for all of us
    Captain Kirk, a teleport to the present–Notice this blog is free software as are the browser and OS I’m using to post my comment (easily powered on a sub-notebook by a single solar panel and a simple converter–read up on it on Wikipedia and reduce your energy costs/usage).

    A non-trivial cost to a musician is access to the work of other musicians. Likewise, authors, scientists, academics, and so on. Once a musician who has learned his craft listening/studying shared music shares his music, the cost of making music is reduced again and the the possibility and practicality of sharing is increased. Even gardeners or farmers benefit substantially from shared information on everything from growing to marketing with a reduction in cost of food production that is reduced again if they share their results or experiences!

    Sharing is just the opposite of la-la land–it’s here and now, and an absolutely practical foundation for a good life for all of us.

  40. Bob Morris says:

    Carie – the logic of what you say is that it’s OK to help yourself to some of what the farmer grows, without paying.

  41. Bob Morris says:

    Barbara – and yet you would be quite happy if Americans were telling us to adopt their fair use, no? And Professor Geist and CIPPIC accept a LOT of American money.

  42. ba nonymous says:

    Did AFM buy the whole NDP?
    “I am shocked that both … are allowed to openly depart from party policy and directive,… to shamelessly buy votes…We intend on taking the NDP to task over this, and will accept nothing less than a retraction…”

    Sounds like AFM reps projecting what they did or would do, buy votes. Now upset over having bought the whole party, even with minor dissent, they now demand all their money’s worth. AFM has a really corrupt sound.

  43. Fred Frith says:

    This web site vanished earlier today from the network.
    I don’t know if it was my neck of the INTERNET woods that was doing this but this web site simply vanished from both the Domain server and the actual network address for a while.
    I have heard of denial of service take downs for corporate proponent’s but none for the advocates of the free public speech.

  44. AnotherManitoban says:

    Thanks to Alan I got off my butt and registered my comments on the Copyright Consultations site. I have not had a blood pressure spike in recent memory as severe as the one I got when elected MP’s are told to toe a commercial/industry line that their party itself doesn’t agree with. The accusation of ‘buying votes’ is ludicrous when they were simply handing out leaflets and not cheques. If people are not free to look at all the arguments and make up their own minds without fear of being browbeaten by ideologues and self-interested parties then democracy is dead.

    As for copyright itself, go after the large for-profit exploiters/counterfeiters and not the individual. If the ‘industry’ (movie, music/TV) want draconian laws then all levies/taxes, tax breaks and every other measure funded by the taxpayer end. Turn the citizen into a criminal and you should forfeit every publicly funded dollar you receive and don’t bother asking for more.

  45. How nice it is to see that the industry is telling the Commons and DMCA opponents to, in the words of a Limp Bizkit song, “shut the fuck up”. This man just reminded me why I haven’t bought a single new CD from any American or Canadian artist for years.

    Digging graves look more promising as the final solution to the music industry problems with each passing day.

  46. The benefits of sharing
    Bob, I think that the logic of what I am saying has to do with how our new technology lets us re-evaluate what are “costs” when we consider the benefits of cheap and easy sharing, which reduce in the first place the costliness of a lot of making and doing. The crux of the logic is, as I put it in an earlier post, the more we can share, the less money any of us need to live a good life, and that includes making and enjoying culture.

    Fred, it may have been being “/.tted”

  47. Alan..resisting majorly to take my jabs here, I will not engage in this, but do have state that you were warned in a previous conversation with me, and AFM is not advocating for the artists it represents through you.

    That the advice from one of the greatest creators and writers of all time: “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” – Mark Twain

    Good luck, and AFM’s Canadian wing, looks to be in serious trouble now, because of the way you’ve handled things. Not a smart move.

  48. Why is it OK for AFM to break copyright laws?
    So Alan Willaert sent an email to “representatives of virtually every major Canadian creator group” in which he attached “a flyer that was handed out by Olivia Chow at last night’s Copyright Town Hall meeting at the Royal York in Toronto”. So, is he not making unauthorized copies of that flyer?

    Why is it a criminal act to make unauthorized copies of music (as I personally believe it should be), but not a criminal act to make unauthorized copies of flyers?

  49. Darryl Moore says:

    Not a criminal act
    Shane, it is not a criminal act to make unauthorized copies of music. Thank goodness. Let us hope it never is. It is a civil rather than a criminal infraction as it should be. Copyright laws have no business mixing with criminal law, although I believe there are exceptions where large amounts of money are concerned.

    Otherwise, good point. I think he could reasonably argue this as fair dealings but it does make him a bit of a hypocrite to be arguing against fair dealings in the very same breath.

  50. I love to pray and meditate. Can I demand to get paid for that?
    I don’t understand how being a musician translates into money. I like to pray and meditate, so does the Dalai Lama. Artists have a very strange sense of entitlement. In other professions if you suck or people don’t like your stuff you don’t make money. I would love to see actual starving artists pointing to piracy taking money out of their pocket. Good luck with that, you’ll need it.

  51. So much for the little argument they’re trying to put on me and others from a post…only to defend themselves from exposing themselves. They’re the ones whose responsible for closing the Winnipeg consultation session from the public. Now, they’re demanding an apology for supporting balanced copyright from two NDP MPs?

    This has gone far enough with the lies and the propaganda, AFM tell us the truth why you’re trying so hard to prevent this whole public consultation into a backdoor, lockdown, one-sided tactics. Aren’t you afraid you’re going to lose your jobs or profits over this new public input and process. The RIAA are involved with this, right?

  52. Hey AFM A–Hole…
    Demand this…*middle finger!*

  53. A defence of the music industry.
    The argument that copying music makes people thieves is illogical. If I steal from you, you no longer have possession over the item I have stolen, and cannot enjoy it or use it in any way – which is clearly not the case if you are a musician and I give a copy of one of your songs to a friend. Infringing copyright may not be right, but it is not the *same thing* as stealing.

    Let me try an analogy for the not very imaginative. You spend a week writing an essay for university. I pull it off your computer and submit it for the same course. I get an A+, you get a 0. You still have your original work, all that I’ve taken away is your ability to exploit it.

    Is this stealing? (And if your answer is no, we can pretty much ignore you. Even my next door 6-year old, unprompted, called it stealing.)

    So, let’s cut the rhetoric. Theft of intellectual property *is* theft. It’s simply a somewhat lesser form. (Normally, you only steal a little of someone’s ability to exploit the work at a time – robbery by having 100,000 people each steal a penny.)

    Look, the reality is that the technology has made it easy to steal stuff safely, and for a *lot* of young people (and a dismaying number of older people), if you can steal it safely, then it’s morally okay to do so. (If it was wrong, then I could get caught.) Adding to this, the stuff you steal is *identical* to the stuff you can buy.

    The grand compromise of the last 50 years (degraded copies, cumbersome copying, ignored infractions) is over and there’s no way to restore it. Either consumers or the industry are going to have to lose big-time – this time there are no ties. If the industry is to survive, it has few choices, none of them good.

    (1) Mechanisms to increase the difficulty in making copies (DRM, etc.) [Which inconvenience law-abiding customers]

    (2) Drastic enforcement with huge penalties to drill into parents minds the danger of letting kids make copies [Which requires making examples of offenders for the populace instead of justice for the individual offense]

    (By the way, I don’t think losing houses to lawsuits will deter the kids, they’re just not capable of that much foresight. But it can galvanize the parents into protecting themselves by monitoring/denying access.

    And for those who go on about nobody being guaranteed an income. Please, cut the sophistry. Nobody is guaranteeing that a gang won’t come over and loot your house, but you’d be pretty damn upset if, when it happened, people just shrugged and told you “it’s your fault for having possessions”. We all have expectations that the laws will be enforced and the the government will take measures to protect us from illegalities.

    From the point of view of much of the music industry, a gang has moved in next door, their house is being looted, and the government is choosing to ignore it because protecting them is just too much trouble (and the government doesn’t want to lose the gang vote). No wonder they’re cranky. I’d be spitting nails too.

  54. Rusty Badger says:

    It’s not the artists, it’s the unions and the labels…
    People like Alan are freaked out, scared stupid, that their jobs will vanish when the musicians all figure out how to bypass their industry. That and that alone is what motivates their ludicrous blathering.

    As more and more artists go (and remain) independent, or form their own small collectives outside of industry control, people like Alan become increasingly irrelevant. Once the AFM dues dry up, he’ll be out of a job; on the other hand, the musicians can earn money regardless.

    The Internet has truly flattened the world, and it scares the hell out of people like the AFM (direct payments to performers by consumers), the labels (the ability of musicians to create and market quality products with small investment), the movie studios (cheap technology in cameras and editing gear means high quality independent productions); and yes, others like the CIA (amateur plane-spotters reporting on extraordinary rendition flights), big pharmaceutical companies (people can very quickly find information on possible negative effects of a drug or treatment), politicians (grass-roots protests can rapidly mobilise massive support), abusive police officers (ubiquitous camcorders and Youtube mean their abuses are flashed around the world within minutes), and the list goes on. My point is that there is no ‘business as usual’ anymore, so Alan, give it up. Find a new model to compensate artists for their ‘slavery’- preferably one that doesn’t include a cut of their wages going to morons like you. People (consumers) will always buy music, just as they have for millennia, but the purchasing models will continually evolve. Just as the phonograph opened new ways for performers to reach audiences, so too has the Internet. Unfortunately for you and the labels, you haven’t been able to understand the fundamental change that brings to your beloved industry- that of ripping off the very people you profess to support. Any time a middleman gets cut out, there is an opportunity for the creator to pocket a bit more of the profit from his labours. You middlemen got a free ride for a long time (basically since the invention of radio), and it’s time you packed up and exited gracefully. Once you’re all gone, I expect we can get down to the serious business of sending artists money in exchange for quality music that they will let us listen to however we want. Without you mobsters taking the lion’s share of the income, I expect we’ll see a lot more artists actually making a living off their craft. Between the host of ‘new’ tools now available (I say new only because the music industry as a whole has been so reluctant to adopt them), and the escape from onerous and one-sides contracts, musicians truly have limitless opportunities to succeed.

    All this, of course, was a complete aside to the issue at hand (copyright reform), and more a discourse on the failings of the music Industry as a whole (and of your own small part in that failure). Many others here have eloquently stated the parameters of that argument (‘balance’ does not mean allowing people to freely distribute authors’ works; ‘copyright’ is a right given BY us TO authors, and it ought not to be abused; digital locks are an abuse of that copyright; and that exceptions need to be more firmly entrenched in Law). I would only add that, as we’ve seen in many cases, nothing gets Canadians’ ire up more than the suggestion that we adopt some American-style legislation (healthcare? education?), and the efforts of the American labels and their lapdogs (the AFM, CRIA, etc) to force us into legislations of their devising just sits wrong with us. We need to develop our own laws, without the interference of industries who have no interest in the well-being of boots-on-the-ground Canadian authors, performers, or artists.

  55. Another thing…
    This issue is not about another goddamn governmental “bailout” to failing recording companies, it’s about striking a balance between creators’ and consumers’ interest in copyright Alan and the music industry.

  56. Tom West, is there an analogy to explain why defence of copyright is always done with such awful analogies? In this comment section alone, we have seen claims that copying is the same as theft, rape, looting, and fraud. Petty name-calling is all it is. Making up terms like “intellectual property,” you try to sway the debate in your favour without making real arguments. Though, there are good arguments out there: just read the ongoing debate between William Patry and Ben Sheffner at the “Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars” blog.

  57. The Eeevil Labels
    Rusty Badger’s implication seems to be a widespread one: namely, it is morally justified to steal from musicians because the Labels are so Evil.

    Obviously, it’s better to have the artists starve than feed the Labels. Just ask the artists. Oh wait. Don’t. Okay, the artists don’t know what’s good for them. They’d *want* to starve if they only understood…

    Second point: If the Labels are useless parasites, then why is it that 99% of the music that’s pirated is from the Labels? There’s tens (hundreds?) of thousands of tracks that aren’t controlled by the Labels. Why don’t those get pirated? Because no-one wants them. (Yes, I know, I know… gross generalization.)

    The Labels provide services. Filtering and Marketing. And commercially, that service is probably more important than the music itself. (Not that you can do without acceptable music, but acceptable music can be found all over if you’re willing to spend the time to search for it.) The service the Labels provide, however, is not, which is why they can make big bucks.

    Even with the Internet, why are musicians usually begging to be picked up by a Label? Again, because the Label provides the services that you need to be successful. Nobody forces an artist to sign with a Label. They do it because it’s the single best way to become a success.

    So let’s stop the empty rhetoric about the Evil Labels, and admit even if they get a very nasty price for the services they provide, artists are more than willing to foot the bill. More importantly, let’s admit that using the Labels as an excuse for piracy is the a pathetic cover-up for the reality – People steal music because then they can spend more on stuff they can’t steal.

  58. I’m afraid your analogy is about plagiarism
    /*Let me try an analogy for the not very imaginative. You spend a week writing an essay for university. I pull it off your computer and submit it for the same course. I get an A+, you get a 0. You still have your original work, all that I’ve taken away is your ability to exploit it.*/

    Tom, I’m afraid your analogy is about plagiarism. I don’t think plagiarism is the issue at hand.

    Here is another way of looking at it: You just wrote an essay and posted it on Professor Geist’s blog; like many blogs, it’s open source software that’s freely available for everyone to use, modify, and extend and written to open/non-proprietary, platform-agnostic Web Standards so that most people can read and reply to your post no matter what their choice of browser or OS and the content, including your essay, is easily searchable and findable. Since you’ve chosen to share your essay on the open web, your argument can be widely copied, aggregated, discussed, and replied to. It’s very unlikely that your name or authorship will be separated from your essay, but the real benefit to you, I imagine, is that you had a chance to have your essay, your point of view shared as widely as possible. This story or way of looking is about the effectiveness, productivity, and desirability of sharing, and it works as well for creative as for critical pieces like your essay; however, the intention to “exploit” a work to the exclusion of other’s benefit doesn’t fit in with it very well and “stealing” doesn’t either.

  59. Intellectual Property
    Making up terms like “intellectual property”?

    I’m confused. The blog you admire has the following quote:

    Professor Justin Hughes of Yeshiva University, titled Notes on the Origin of Intellectual Property: Revised Conclusions and New Sources. Hughestraces the use of the phrase “intellectual property” back through several centuries, in English, French, Spanish, and Italian.

    Intellectual property is *not* a new concept.

    (Thanks for the pointer to the blog, though. It’s quite interesting, even if not particularly applicable on how to enforce minimal copyright in the modern age.)

    Most of the debate in the blog is about how long copyright should extend for and how close intellectual property rights should mirror property rights (i.e. should rights exist forever!). My concern is not that. For most musicians, the exploitation of the work is more or less done in the first 10 years or so (although personally I think copyright should extend to author’s death or 25 years, whichever is shorter) and that is where the vast majority of the piracy takes place.

    Unless, unlike the blog, you are claiming that intellectual property shouldn’t exist at all, my arguments equating piracy with theft (of which looting is a subclass) still hold. That the exact damage of the theft (the theft of the right to exploit one’s efforts through illegal means) is somewhat undefined and in most cases individually pretty small (if massively widespread), does not morally make it any less theft.

    Most people understand that losing the ability to benefit from your labours because of illegal acts is wrong.

  60. “Second point: If the Labels are useless parasites, then why is it that 99% of the music that’s pirated is from the Labels?”

    I’m going to need to see peer reviewed data to back up those numbers, because it sounds like you’re full of shit.

  61. “The Labels provide services. Filtering and Marketing. And commercially, that service is probably more important than the music itself.”

    If these services are so valuable, then why do the labels get their revenue from the service of CD-stamping? Just charge the artists for the services and let the market decide what they are worth. Although, it seems to me that does both these things far better than the labels.

    “I’m confused. The blog you admire has the following quote: […]”

    I did not mean that you came up with the term. I was referring to copyright proponents in general. Hope that clears up the confusion. 🙂

    With copyright, the public allows creators to treat their work somewhat like property for a period of time to encourage them. Copyright is not there to protect “intellectual property” from “theft”, because there is no “intellectual property” outside of copyright.

    “That the exact damage […] is somewhat undefined and in most cases individually pretty small”

    In case of online sharing, the exact damage is undefined to such an extent, that it might be a profit. Convincing evidence to pin it down is still in short supply.

    “Unless, unlike the blog, you are claiming that intellectual property shouldn’t exist at all”

    Whether _copyright_ should exist or not depends on whether it is the best way of encouraging creators. Its extent depends on its expense to the public. Determining this is, hopefully, the purpose of the current copyright consultation.

  62. hohiro sato says:

    First of all…you seem to be insinuating that a world filled to the brim with small wage-earning individual musicians is somehow a bad thing, and secondly, that artists don’t make very much money in Canada which is true. But is the solution the copyright system we have had up until now, that has led to so many artists struggling?

    Second, there is the matter of large cable/content companies bullying smaller musicians and creators around requiring them to reassign copyright, as an example of an unbalanced copyright. You will find that the Free Culture, copyleft, and anti-copyright people will all be on your side on this issue — protection for artists, if copyright allows any protection at all, not for traditional copyright holders.

    “Unlike any other profession, music requires thousands of hours of practice, thousands spent in instruments, lessons and gear, and then they look forward to practicing every day of their lives in order to keep the edge.”

    I’m sorry but this is gross ignorance of many other sectors of the economy. The IT sector alone requires a continual sharpening of the edge of your toolkit and skillset, and as both a somewhat skilled musician and programmer I can say that both require similar kinds of hours as input to really make it. There are fields that you can make a go without such dedication…but the jobs in those fields are disappearing as automation increases.

    You talked about napster in terms of its effects, but we as a society should have been sending music through a ‘napster’ type service even before napster
    hit the scene. The big labels sued napster into a smoking hole in the ground— that is the reason why we weren’t using it earlier, and their fuel and food was
    excessive copyright protection. And yet, the AFM somehow supports this? It somehow idolizes an antiquated, energy intensive, wasteful technology (plastic disks? vinyl disks?)
    as opposed to the quick movement of a small amount energy from one end of a wire to another — the savings in terms of moving plastic alone could either
    employ an army of musicians or lower the price of culturally significant music and increase the effective access of culturally significant music. Napster should
    have existed. It should have been brought out by the labels—but it wasn’t, because they weren’t willing to do it. Now the torrent commons holds that task, and
    moves music around the world in an even better way, and more clearly defines the split between actually distributing music and making music, between sorting
    and classifying music and distributing music. The AFM could have done this, but they didn’t. They could have been the organization through which music is
    distributed at all, cutting out the exploitative organizations altogether, but they weren’t.

  63. offtopic
    > Nobody is guaranteeing that a gang won’t come over and loot your house, but you’d be pretty damn upset if, when it happened, people just shrugged and told you “it’s your fault for having possessions”.

    Well it is your damn fault. There is a gang problem in Canada that isn’t so much a gang problem as a poverty problem, and THAT problem that all of us who are above the poverty line are at fault for, to the extent that we are above that line and not fixing the problem with what resources we have. But that is a separate issue from copyright and we shouldn’t waste much space here on it. This is the reason I haven’t owned a bike for 5 years, never plan on owning a car or house, and at least part of the reasons why my only possession which has any value at all are my backups and hard drives.

  64. Back on topic
    “There is a gang problem in Canada”

    Indeed there is.
    -The American lobbyists is gang one
    -the ministers to date (past and present) are gang two
    -Telco and government collusion and corruption is gang three

    I’m gonna call Dirty Harry to take care of this.

    ok that captcha thing is too strange to be coincidence: the captcha word is “Bandido” (ie the bike gang)

  65. UGG Boots Sale says:

    I’ve really enjoyed making videos for webmasters. In the most recent recording session, we decided that it would be fun to talk about some of the “hidden gems” of Google: features, products, or tips that you might not know about, but you might like

  66. IT Consultant
    Mr. Howard Knopf has tweeted that your site is under attack, I just wanted to let you know that you have been linked to slashdot. No one is commiting a DDOS it just that this site gets about 60,000 people a day.

  67. I have to be slightly off topic. We have to change the terminology being used by the Music Industry. I find that using the term “stealing” to represent copying/downloading is an insult to those who actually produce a product. For example, if I was a producer of the items being looted in New Orleans I would be insulted by Alan’s analogy with copying music. If someone copies music the underlying product is still there. If someone steals something that I produce one of then it is gone forever. The language is not ready for this problem, however it is certainly not stealing. Or if it is, then taking real objects should be given another descriptive word.

    In other words, the two are not the same thing. As a producer of goods I am insulted that Entertainment Industry people think that copying a song is the same as taking the things that I produce one at a time and are not copyable.

  68. Musicians in poverty
    “90% of the musicians in this country have to keep a day job to survive, because the income from music is below the poverty line. THAT’S why I’m not interested in the arguments about balance in copyright. “Balance” = more for the consumer, less for the artist/performer.”

    I bet there’s an even higher percentage of hockey players that have to keep a day job! We should be giving more money to hockey players first (groan)!

  69. Free Speech
    FUCK YOU Greedy USA Corps! We got free speech here too. We got freedom and democracies. So STFU. AHHH…

  70. Labels Redux
    If these services are so valuable, then why do the labels get their revenue from the service of CD-stamping? Just charge the artists for the services and let the market decide what they are worth.

    In other words, if you’re not independently wealthy don’t bother with a music career?

    No, of course not, you find people who believe that you have what it takes to be a success, and then invest heavily in you. You provide the part that you are good at and like doing – the music, and they front the money and services because they believe in you.

    Not only that, but they’ve now got an investment in you. Unlike stand-alone vendors, whose best interest is that you spend as much money as possible, these investors want you to succeed as badly as you do. Sounds great. Unfortunately, you’ve also re-invented Labels…

    Look, I’m not saying the Label-Artist relationship can’t be exploitative. But your argument is like burning down the factories to free the exploited workers. I’d strongly suggest not seeking out the thanks of the workers in person :-).

    If the Labels are not providing a service, then they’ll wither away without illegalities. But I don’t see that coming any time soon. In fact, as open access to listeners through the internet grows, marketers and filterers become *more* important, not less.

  71. Stealing
    In most people’s mind, stealing encompasses someone obtaining possession of something that is not rightfully theirs. You can steal the show, steal someone’s thunder, steal an identity, steal software, or steal a million dollars.

    I think we English speakers can manage the ambiguity of a word with several meanings but with a single underlying concept.

  72. It’s a smokescreen.
    This comparison of Napster to Katrina is the usual “save the starving artist” smokescreen, and it’s dishonest.

    What we have is big media fighting to regain control of the market.

    If big media cared so much about “the starving artist” they wouldn’t have been ripping off the vast majority of musicians for the last 100 years. As an aside, the RIAA have collected millions in suing the fans, and have given ZERO to the artists who’s music has been downloaded.

    The internet has put an end to the monopolistic broadcast model of media distribution, so big media can no longer call the shots and enforce the “Top 20” on today’s teens.

    The trend is away from the marketing focused latest Disney bubble gum band and towards a million fragmented markets, all seeded by social media, instant messaging etc. This makes for a lousy return on investment when the teens ignore the multimillion dollar ad campaign and instead chose their favourite music through the internet.

    This means a huge loss of revenue for radio and tv advertising. This is what the fight is really about. They have lost control of the teen culture, and they want to get it back by shutting down the alternate sources of music. Everything they propose will hurt the small time independent artist, and benefit the big media companies.

    It seems the only group big media can still reach are the pre-teens, thus the huge marketing campaign for Hanna Montana and other similar “artists”.

    With the internet, Musicians and Artists don’t need big media to make a living, unless big media succeeds in choking off the internet.

  73. “I bet there’s an even higher percentage of hockey players that have to keep a day job! We should be giving more money to hockey players first (groan)!”

    Are people sneaking into hockey games and trying to claim that they’re not? I had no idea this was going on. What are they saying they’re doing in the arena? That they’re just there to eat the hot dogs or something?

    Look. Just buy the effing music. It’s not relatively cheap and easy to acquire. If you want to keep stealing, go ahead, but don’t pretend you aren’t. I steal TV. I do it because I’m not going to make appointments to watch shows. If the networks want to give us something like HULU, and plug it full of commercial, AWESOME. Count me in.

    That said… it’s time for labels to back off on suing people, but likewise, people like Geist have to start calling a spade a spade, and stop pretending that when you download a CD, you are not taking cash out of a musician’s pocket. Because you are.

    Whether they’re on the biggest, meanest, baby-suing label, or part of some small lesbian vegan collective, if you download their music without permission, you stole it. Stop pretending otherwise.

  74. LOL@Tom
    “Nobody is guaranteeing that a gang won’t come over and loot your house, but you’d be pretty damn upset if, when it happened, people just shrugged and told you “it’s your fault for having possessions”…From the point of view of much of the music industry, a gang has moved in next door, their house is being looted, and the government is choosing to ignore it because protecting them is just too much trouble (and the government doesn’t want to lose the gang vote).”

    Ha, you make me laugh…don’t you ever think that a so-called “gang” could be lead by one of your family members, think about it? That could happen to anyone you know, including artists.

    A “gang member or leader” aka a recording company rep steals possessions off from the artist aka “brother or sister or any other family member of the house” and runs off. That’s a possible scenario.

  75. AFM
    Message for Gerrit
    You may be a “professional” classical musician, but you can’t possibly be a member if you believe there are not royalties available to you. If that is the case, then you have not recorded ‘union’, but are doing “dark”, unreported dates. That short-sightedness is your demise.

    And where do you get off dumping us in with record execs and “hangers on”? Do you have clue about the definition of a union?

    To Barbar et al – those that keep calling me American, and AFM an American organization. There are 17K Canadian members of AFM, with a separate national office and 28 Locals across Canada. The fact that we are an international union makes us stronger, and better able to negotiate the agreements necessary to service the membership. Don’t paint it as a negative or ugly thing.

    Regarding Name’s statement – “And the minute you communicate your idea to the outside world, it belongs to everyone.” Better stay in school. Read the Copyright Act, and see what it says under the Right of Communication.

    Chris, don’t misquote me. I said what if professors had to make money through other means, other than a pay cheque for their teaching. Would they then feel as free to hand over their writing at no cost – the premise being that if you remove monetary gain from ANY profession, aren’t you damaging the profession and the quality/number of good people that are attracted to it? Apology denied, read before you talk.

    Carie – sharing is stealing, when done without permission.

    Now for ba nonymous and those who clearly don’t understand what I was upset about in that INTERNAL email that went to the other arts groups – Ms Chow handed out a flyer that said, :Count on me to speak out against Bill C-61 and anti-circumvention rules. I support stronger Fair Dealing. Keep me posted on what Parliament is doing on Copyright.” It then had a copy of the Charlie Angus interview in Exclaim. Now let’s keep this in perspective. Ms Chow is a Member of Parliament. Why would she need the public to keep HER posted? Can’t stay awake in class, perhaps. But the reckless statement on Fair Dealing is dangerous. I too support more Fair Dealing – with specific exceptions for parody and satire. A wider scope than that has a trickle-down effect into the music industry – for things like the private copying levy – and I cannot in all good conscience sell my members’ rights away like that. Ms Chow on the other hand, was looking for votes. This is from someone who has made countless statements in support of the arts. It’s political pandering, and I detest it from ANY party, but in particular the NDP because of their recent support for artists/performers and their organizations at the convention in Halifax.

    Darryl – I’m going to send you to the Copyright Act as well. Not criminal to make copies? Read what it says under the Right of Reproduction.

    Anobe – oh, now I’m responsible for closing the Winnipeg consultation? And connected with the RIAA? It’s a good thing your brother is an only child.

    Tom West – if you steal from me I no longer have possession, therefore, what? Keep writing that sci-fi.

    Rusty – go back to what I said about understanding what a union is. Each of my fellow members is “the union”. It’s not some corporation you can pint a finger to for making the songs on your computer illegal.
    You believe that the internet has given you the technology to rise above laws, a view held by many here. That kind of exaggerated self-worth is dangerous. Perhaps one day you will also have an ability to create. If that day comes, there won’t be enough self-loathing to save you, when the realization hits that you have lobbied yourself out of the protection you now seek.

    Small dog – no, the analogy IS about copyright (as well as plagiarism). A core principle of copyright is the Berne 3 step test. One of the elements for creating an exception is the inability to normally exploit a work.

    Hohiro – I never said I supported an antiquated CD only industry. You are absolutely correct in saying that Napster should have been brought out by the industry. And perhaps it would have, in time, after sufficient thought had been put into properly monetizing distribution. But it wasn’t. It was put forth by a young man with a great idea, but no regard for rights, laws or property. The subsequent carnage in the courts was avoidable, had both government and the industry addressed the web’s power earlier. There is no end to how ridiculous things got – even now, the CRTC is getting ready to recognize the internet as a broadcast medium. They should have been all over that in 1993.

    For all those who object to my reference to having illegally-procured music on their hard drives as stealing – suck it up.

  76. Locl Artist – Amazing
    We have to keep in mind that the consultation is not just about the music industry…other groups are trying to increase their rights (priveleges) and restrict citizen rights on the backs of the Music industry or other outdated distribution models. Most arguments are smoke and mirrors and FUD (fear uncertanty and doubt). The biggest one is that artist will starve.

    This weekend went to a pub saw an amazing musician. Checked his CD’s (2 of them released)and myself and my friend each bought one for 20$ a piece. It was direct support of the artist (verified later) and not the RIAA/CIRA. He was all for distributing copies of his music and said he didn’t mind if we make copies of each other CD’s. He said the CD’s were just promotial material that he sold at his performances (for the physical media as that costs money to make) and he was paid by the event to play. I futher checked the distribution channels and neither one was out their for people to listen to…Someone could easily upload those or he could sign up with a service to sell them to the internet. At this point his complete audience is the people that come to see him through word of month.

    If you go back in history (ancient) musicians, thinkers, intellectuals, sculptors were sponsored like the artist above and supported to produce creative works as they were finite products that needed a huge investment (marble, papyrus, etc) to complete the works. Some “artists” and thinkers actually made money by taken on commisions for certain houses but were not tied to any patron of the arts. I am not advocating for one side of the debat or the other and some of the arguments above are insane..I think in the real world, people need to work for a living and as the artist above shows, they probably would like to get a 1 million dollar scratch and win ticket with a kick ass song, but they realize that only 1% of artist get signed by a label for “sponsership” and only 1 in 10 of those signed ever become a promoted artist. The other 90% that just signed restrictive deals end up being put them in the poor house or needing to take another job as the label keeps them from producing more music unless the label gives them money/authorization…..

    I can’t find the study that was done, but it was on either the copyright consultations or here.

    Final thought…Just think what would happen to culture if copyright had limited distribution of the Plato’s, Aristotle, or any of the other greats…you have to keep in mind the longer term implications instead of the short term greed that seems to be prevelant.



  77. Label Exploitation
    A “gang member or leader” aka a recording company rep steals possessions off from the artist

    Look, of course exploitation of artists does occur, but there are measures you can take to protect yourself (getting a lawyer, examining reputation, etc.). It’s pretty hard to protect yourself against music piracy.

    Also, breaking the law *does* matter. I don’t have an expectation that the government will protect me from contracts that I freely sign except in cases of outright fraud. I *do* expect the government to protect me from law-breakers.

    And again, the fact that Artists have been exploited by Labels in no way provides moral justification for stealing music. John is right – if you’re going to pirate, at least have the guts to admit your stealing. (I’ll admit I hate the “I’m not a bad person, therefore if I do it, it can’t be bad” attitude.)

  78. Chris Brand says:

    From “theft” to “rape” – where next ?
    Nice to see reasoned, rational arguments from the people who want the government to grant them bigger and better monopolies on expression.
    I predict that before a bill is tabled, they’ll accuse people who disagree with them of having “molested” culture.

  79. Ok Tom
    “It’s pretty hard to protect yourself against music piracy.”
    No, it’s actually easy to protect yourself against so-called music piracy…don’t do it at all. Let the music spread around to many people as much as it can, that way people will recognized who the artists were and will eventually support it. It is called “free marketing / sampling”.

    As for Alan, you son-of-a-bitch…

    1. I don’t have a brother, and it’s not of your goddamn business asking for it.
    2. Even if I did have a brother, there is a reason for me to defend for because I don’t want any of you or other assholes trying to get a cent off of my family just because “he” doesn’t know better about what it’s right and wrong.
    3. I know that you’re involved with this conspiracy because you were the first to defend the actions by making a name for yourself on this site and making ridiculous comments and comparisons to “American” tragedies.
    4. Lastly, the only reason why New Orleans was shattered with theft and all and the government not helping is they’re too busy “stealing” other countries resources. Sounds like a coincidence to me when you compare yourself and others like the American government, doesn’t it?

    I’m not going to waste anymore time with you guys “talking down” on us with your ridiculous, biased and bullshit examples that are not even in our country’s concern. What might happened in the US doesn’t always happen here in Canada, so don’t pass false judgments and scare tactics on us. Canadians don’t need American laws, period.

  80. @John
    I always pay for my music and have no problem doing so, but it only takes cursory look to see that this number is meaningless on it’s own.
    That statement tells us nothing about the state of “piracy” or the music business. For all we know from that statement, 9/10 of musicians couldn’t make a living off just making music before the internet even existed. Music (like sports) just plain isn’t the kind of profession that a good portion of the people that want to are going to be able to make a living at it. It never has been, there are just too many people who want to do it. Now if they said, “the year before napster, 30% of musicians in Canada were able to make a living solely off music, and now suddenly only 10% are able to”, or maybe “in the U.S, where they have these “awesome, completely harmless” ™ new laws, 50% of musicians are able to make a living off it while here in the country “with the worst piracy in the world” ™, only 10% are able to” at least that would be something that is relevant. The fact that I believe illegal downloading is unethical, and I rely on copyright for my income doesn’t mean I buy into all the scare tactics thrown around.

  81. Missing the point
    This whole issue has little to do with copyright. It all comes down to who’s this Alan Willaert guy, lobbying for American corporate interests, having the authority and the gall to demand anything from a Canadian polititian doing his job, representing the views of his constituents.

    Alan Willaert, don’t you find yourself digusting working for a cartel that had stolen from paying customers (price fixing) and from artists for a very very long time, and recently suing kiddies to grannies?

    Um… shame on you?


  82. LOL
    an apology, hah.

  83. Don’t apologise Charlie
    You haven’t done anything wrong, in fact you’ve done exactly what your constituents elected you to do, as did Olivia. Instead we should all write to Alan Willaert complaining about his attempt to interfere with Canadian internal affairs.

  84. AFM Contact Details
    If you want to write to complain about Alan Willaert you can do so here:

  85. For “Alan”
    Dear jerkwad,

    I’m a classical singer. Professional. Don’t air quote me. I make more than you do doing what I do than you do leaching off of others with talent. Thank god we’re not covered by your union but by CAEA in Canada and AGMA in the US. German law actually has a whole section devoted to us so they’re not really used there.

    Single payment recordings, “Dark” (oooh, scary!)as you’ve called them, are actually the industry norm for classical singers who make CD recodings. Labels no longer (for the past couple of dozen years) pay classical singers royalties on CD performances. Look it up. It’s mostly because we can’t just churn out crap – we actually need dozens or hundreds of qualified professionals to make an opera recording. Opera Europa, the European group representing most opera companies there, has a pretty good guide. They use small words:

    We do fine by the way, earning in the exact manner that so many on this board are suggesting: That we make our money performing instead of off the backs of others. CDs have become a promotional tool, as they are for so many independent musicians.

    The only way we get residuals is by having a performance broadcast on tv or radio, and then it’s covered by ACTRA (still not you). God, I wish you’d think before you speak. Not likely, I will grant you, or you’d have to actually examine your position on this issue.

  86. Angst and Awe says:

    Kudos aside Confusion
    Okay, I’d like to offer my kudos to Tom West, your analogies may not be spot-on, but they’re still equitable, I wish I could use some of that composure when confronting pirating issues. For Alan and nearly every one else commenting here I would like to give some inquisitive looks, because there’s not a lot of sense coming from your posts.

    So Alan, I think a lot of people may misunderstand your position because of the way you’ve been hostile to what seems to be often minimal confrontation. The NDP representatives may have been misleading in their opposition to C-61 (with all of the partisan and demographic jostling going around in politics, it’s hard to miss your point), but it must by now seem quite obvious to you that they are not being hypocritical by supporting copyright, but then opposing bill C-61. On the very skim of the two situations it may seem so, but you have to realize that a bill passed in Parliament has a lot of details that can make the law confusing or even malicious when not properly translated into reasonable means.

    I haven’t looked over the exact legal document, but from other protests and it’s wiki (far from binding, I know), there are some things in the law that seem to not only protect the copyright holder, but also hurt the consumer (regardless of whether all of us pirates are criminals). When you object to any protest of a current bill-in-the-works you seem just as unreasonable as those who hold-up parliament just to postpone a vote.

    As an aside, the way you’ve been condescending to the posters here, even Tom who supports some semblance of your view, can not be supporting your cause well. Also I tire of opinions such as “pirating isn’t stealing”… it seems many of you think you’re modern day Robin Hoods except you don’t even steal. That’s society for you.

    P.S. My closets aren’t exactly without their skeletons… my current moral dilemma is that of streaming media… more gray area than copying, but still an issue… it really doesn’t help that there are so many legitimate providers. *Lost in thought* Creative content is difficult to define at best.

  87. stealing stealing stealing stealing… intelllliectuuaal proooopeeertyyyy
    In nearly all threads which discuss copyright infringement on the net I see this, its getting rather tiresome really:
    1. Comparing copyright infringement/ copying to stealing of physical items, as well as crimes (eg rape)
    2.Save the chi…oops, musicians, just forget that the labels have been screwing them forever as well as the consumers.
    3. Lets keep saying stealing stealing and theft so hopefully if we say it long enough it will stick… hey, we have had some luck with intelllliectuuaal proooopeeertyyyy haven’t we?
    4.Dont really answer questions about greed and any specific questions when defending the industry, instead bring up other crap and FUD, also throw in IP and stealing/theft again a few times no matter how many times its been debunked – refuse to see reason or just ignore it.
    5. Give the impression you are on the moral high ground, even though the industry you represent are some of the biggest crooks in the world,bribing everyone from politicians to judges around the world.
    6.Never mention artists like courtney cox who have spoken out against the industry…
    7.Try your best never to discuss the NiN and Radiohead “experiments”.
    8. Dont forget stealing… again throw in “intellectual property”
    9. Stay away from defending copyright extensions – theres no way to defend it really.

    Can go on… but unlike you bastards in AFM and the labels, i actually have work to do…honest work, as a computer programmer. Ohhh, on second thought, i have been playing lead guitar for around 2 years – when do i get my cheque? I would like some easy money as well because i like playing my guitar, have spent a considerable amount of time learning it… and… i admit…. i like free money too. Please get in touch with me on as I reaally reallly really like free money.

    Pretty please?

  88. Little Dipper says:

    Almost enough to make me vote NDP. But not quite.

    Wishing Olivia and Charlie would join an electable party and become Cabinet ministers – and still keep their principles…

  89. My vote to the NPD
    I will vote for the NPD for the first time in my life. Why? Not because they try to buy my vote with false demise. But because they seems to care for the citizen of Canada. So go fuck yourself USA lobbyist, we don’t need your freaking model in Canada.

  90. Rusty Badger says:

    Weak minds…
    Alan, I’m going to assume you can’t read well, or that your comprehension levels are very low, since nowhere in my comment did I indicate that I think it’s right to arbitrarily copy others’ works. That’s a key problem with you industry folks- you read “balance” and see “abolition” instead. There’s no room for rational discussion in this argument, as the demands you are making do not allow for compromise or logical dialogue. There’s no question that a large number of people would be very happy if the laws were changed to allow unmitigated duplication and distribution of works, but that’s not even close to what’s being proposed by anyone with any credibility, including the NDP folks you’ve chosen to malign.

    All of the changes being demanded by industry lobbyists will only benefit the first people in the food chain, not the ‘starving artists’ at the end. They have always been given the crumbs from the distribution table, and that won’t change if people start going to jail for sharing songs on Limewire. What’s needed is an Act that will allow creators to benefit directly from their works, while allowing consumers a wider range of options for purchasing, storing, and enjoying that content. It should not provide openings for individuals or commercial interests to copy and distribute with wild abandon, whether for profit or not; it should not encourage artists to sign away their copyrights in exchange for a bowl of soup; it should encourage educators to use cultural artifacts such as music, text, audio recordings, and film to bring a higher level of cultural awareness to young minds; and it should encourage creative minds to build on the previous works of others- not merely to copy, but to adapt, to repurpose, and to expand those works for the cultural betterment of us all, not merely for the financial enrichment of a few.

    Yes, I understand what a union is- I’ve been in them before. However, I stand by my assertion that because of the way the music industry ‘works’, the unions don’t always benefit the creators as much as the executives of those unions (and the ’employers’). Not in every case, to be sure, but in many. And I’m not really sure how you got the idea I think that my access to technology gives me the right to rise above the laws; my position is clearly that the laws need to change to keep up with technological innovation. I’m not one of the ‘everyone is sharing music on p2p networks, we’d better make it legal’ camp. I’m saying laws need to be rewritten to account for the ways technology can be used, both for good and for bad. Also, I’m saying that industries need to recognise that technological innovations will from time to time, render their business models ineffective, and that they must also change to compensate, rather than whinging to government about it and requesting more draconian laws to protect their interests.

    Furthermore, guess what? I actually AM in a position to create- in fact, it’s my job, full-time. And I do understand the Copyright Act, as I happen to be the Copyright Officer (and Archivist) for my organisation, which is a Public School district. So you see, I have a particular interest in seeing fair and equitable laws passed in this regard, as they directly affect my work, as well as that of my colleagues in the classrooms. I think to a degree you and I are on the same page, desiring more exemptions in the Fair Dealing realm; in addition, those of us in education would like to see any provisions for anti-circumvention tossed out, and consumers allowed to copy, rip, timeshift, placeshift, and remix their purchased content to their hearts’ desires. That is NOT the same as wanting the privilege of giving copies away to as many people as one likes (which is the net effect of peer-to-peer systems).

    American-style (oh how we Canadians love to use that phrase!) DMCA-like legislation is NOT an answer to the needs of Canadian creators, and must be fought against with all we have. Yes, we need tools to allow authors to pursue infringement, but those tools should not cripple the ability of citizens to properly use the content they have purchased. In addition, the Copyright Act needs to change so that contracts cannot trump statutory rights (for example, if you sign on to the Access Copyright agreements, you actually give up some of your rights under the Act, thus effectively crippling your ability to use Fair Dealing exemptions). Perhaps we even need to examine the whole issue of Moral Rights, and how those are governed by the Act. There’s a whole host of issues needing attention here, but what’s NOT needed is infantile whining and hyperbole about brochures being passed out by elected officials.

    That’s all I have to say right now.

  91. Music is not important.
    It is a shame that the copyright debate is so often dominated by music. Music is sugar, it is a soft cushion, it is a pleasant face on a mild day. Journalism is food. Code is shelter. Photography is law. Academic papers are reason. Yet lawyers, businessmen and other career criminals ensure that the debate remains about the inestimable value to society of Britney Spears and Wolverine.

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  96. President, Newfoundland and Labrador Musicians Association
    What the people putting down Alan for saying musicians have rights to income are missing is this: no one is sayin gwe are owed a job. We are saying that when people do USE our music we should be paid fairly. Entirely different issue. Not a right to work issue, but a right to fair compensation for creators. Get it???

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