Manitoba Music Industry Association Distances Self From CRIA On Copyright Reform

The Winnipeg copyright roundtable is a must-listen as it includes some notable comments from the Manitoba Music Industry Association.  After numerous presentations at the roundtable calling for expanded fair dealing (from education, researchers, and artists), the MMIA argued:

We find ourselves in the Manitoba music industry more aligned with some of the creators coalitions and independent music groups and less aligned with CRIA and the RIAA.  Our members are generally speaking are not interested in anti-circumvention laws, they are not interested in suing fans.  No one from our membership is going to go out and sue fans because they copied some of their music.  What they are interested in is finding ways of monetizing the creative content.

With the songwriters and many Canadian musicians already distancing themselves from CRIA, it is interesting to even find a provincial music industry association doing the same.


  1. At least they’re being sympathetic, instead of being pathetic like the CRIA, about the issues that concerns many Canadians both artists and consumers. I should continue reading and hearing this discussion since the closure of the consultation in Winnipeg is all the stubborn government’s fault.

  2. I think a lot of the reason why it was behind closed doors was due to this organization: “American Federation of Musicians”. They are well known to disrupt round table discussions in the past on copyright. There was one in Toronto hosted by Olivia Chow, and one of there members stood up and started screaming at the panel, so there would be some room for payback, and they could have been worried about that.

    From the sound of Mr. Willaert’s voice, the guy seems a bit strung out on something. According to Mr. Willaert the Canadian portion of the AFM represents roughly 5% of total artists that are members with this group. He said 17,000 out of 90,000 artists supporting this organization are Canadian. There’s no list of Canadian supporters to this organization with respect to talent on the AFM’s website. Why were they invited in the first place? They have no business poking around here. I’m in the music industry and the first time I heard of AFM was that round table with Ms. Chow a few months back. No one I know is tied to this group nor knows anyone who supports this group, after my initial inquiries as to who these twits are.

    Those that have split off from the CRIA and are largely Indie in Canada support what the MMIA, CCMC, and SAC has presented. The Majority of indie talent see the massive benefits to monetizing P2P vs. criminalizing it. They are profiting from P2P already.

  3. I see…I smell RIAA interfering our national interests, but nonetheless they have no right to spread propaganda onto our territory. Something about it disturbs me…

  4. Well, Jason K, it speaks VOLUMES to me about your knowledge of the music industry if you don’t know who the AFM is, or what they do. I guess you’re too busy showing off your “I’m an Indie” shirt to think about making money with your music. I suppose the NRCC (Neighbouring Rights Collective Canada) are a bunch of twits as well, or is that something else you’ve never heard of?

  5. Alan, it’s nice to see the AMF is taking care of musicians with “free money” it’s another to draw up an application form with “WE HAVE $$$$ FOR YOU” in nice big green letters and have the musicians agree to what you are doing with their works and name, in the small print. All the talent cares about and see’s is $$$ signs in a cleverly designed application form. You’re supposed to be involved in protecting talent from contracts like yours.

    I’d like to know who’s on your list over there at the AMF, and speak with the talent directly and anonymously to see if they are actually in line with what the AMF is advocating for or even are aware of what AMF is advocating for, and even if you guys have authorization from the majority your Canadian Membership to take the position the AMF has. Maybe even provide these guys with an alternative to AMF, with the AMF membership contract in hand, and explain in full detail to talent what they are signing over to get that free money.

    Is the AMF protecting it’s own business model, or are they truly representing a Canadian voice. The burden of proof is not on me.

  6. Jason,
    AMF is the parent company for Head tennis rackets and accessories. AFM Canada is the Canadian operation of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. The “free money” and “Do we have money for you” quotes from the BACK of our member application form, which you so nicely took out of context, is a reference to the appointment and authorization of AFM Canada as the entity to represent [the member joining] and collect royalties on their behalf. Just as SOCAN collects tariffs from broadcasters and pays a royalty to composers and publishers, the Neighbouring Rights Collective Canada distributes money to the musicians and the maker (label) of eligible recordings. There are 3 subcollectives within the NRCC – ARTISTI (the collective branch of Union des Artistes in Quebec), RACS (the collective division of ACTRA), and AFM Canada. There are musicians in this country who have not bothered to sign with one of the 3 subcollectives, and therefore we have unpaid royalties which we cannot distribute because we cannot identify those players. For more details go to . BTW, the fee for signing with us for NRCC royalties, or, “what they are signing over to get that free money”, is zero.
    On another matter, AFM is entirely member-driven. The rules are set by the members, and they tell us what to ratify and what benefits and services they want. Musicians join because they choose to, and to access the large menu of things that become available. We are the folks that brought you scale agreements with TV & radio, movie producers, threatres and jingle houses. We are the folks that get you the P-2 visa to tour in the US. We are the folks that started a pension fund for musicians. We are the folks that worked hard in the mid-1990s to bring about Neighbouring Rights through Phase 2 of the Copyright reform. We are the folks that brought about Federal Status of the Artists legislation, and helped achieve similar legislation in 3 provinces (so far). BTW, under Federal Status, AFM Canada is certified as the bargaining agent for ALL musicians in Canada. Is that a big enough Canadian voice for you? I’m not at liberty to disclose who the members of our organization are, but I can say that you would be hard pressed to find a recording artist of some stature who is not a member. The burden of proof is NOT on me.
    The buring question is why aren’t YOU a member? Don’t like paying dues? Don’t want any rules? Don’t want to gain by being part of the “establishment”? Don’t even want to pick up a royalty cheque? Then here’s a capital “L” for your forehead.

  7. I think it’s fair to say then gathering from your response to this and from your presentation on Wednesday on behalf of the AFM, that Canadian talent is a small part of AMF, and may not have the majority standing in your organization. It’s also fair to say that not every member agrees with your position, and members of your own organization “could” be members of the CMCC, the above mentioned MMIA, and SAC, and may already be voicing their opinions with organizations that have a more Canadian voice that allow them to feel free to express those opinions that may conflict with the AMF. Some of them might have left labels that had the same position the AMF has taken and AMF basically deals in royalties so they have to put up with you. There’s a lot of confusion on who represents who in this debate, and coming across representing the views of 17,000 Canadian members may not be that accurate, and that can be summed up in the body of your reply. AMF is representing their own interests, that’s all I wanted to make clear.

    What’s extremely disturbing is that in order for talent to collect AMF royalties, they have to basically agree to AMF’s “lobbying” efforts. If I disagree with their position, and don’t sign on, then I don’t get the royalties. That’s called entrapment, is it not? If the AMF is collecting Canadian Royalties, talent shouldn’t have to sign on to AMF’s belief system and lobbying efforts they don’t agree with to collect those royalties. Nor should they be bound by contract in speaking out in any organization. Your right it’s their choice to sign on or not and no wonder why you have a lot of “unpaid royalties”. AMF’s certification should be stripped by the feds!

    The AMF presents their membership statuses as support for their agreement to the Canadian Public as a means of supporting the AMF position on reform.

    “Musicians join because they choose to”

    and then to this:

    “The buring question is why aren’t YOU a member? Don’t like paying dues? Don’t want any rules? Don’t want to gain by being part of the “establishment”? Don’t even want to pick up a royalty cheque? Then here’s a capital “L” for your forehead.”

    I belong to an establishment. One that’s been watching, and learning over the past 10 years. One that’s about 5 years ahead of the reform process, and looking at protecting value chains within the music industry, and making sure the “real” needs of talent in the music industry move forward in reality. In about 5 years from now Allen, you will know exactly who I am, and I will ensure that ANY talent I’m in contact with at this time doesn’t have to submit themselves to such ignorance in order to collect royalties, rest assured! Welcome to the “new” establishment.

  8. In the above AMF = AFM. Sorry about the typos.

  9. A few more things, the AFM is calling for the return and protection of DRM. The market rejected DRM, and laws that can be put into place to protect breaking of DRM will be basically unenforceable with respect to the consumer market. As a consumer, I spent $40 on music on Itunes a few months ago, to find it didn’t work on my digital Sony Walkman. Even though Itunes has gotten rid of a lot of DRM on there recently, they have lost me as a customer. It’s too much of a hassle to break the locks in the first place. I don’t trust the downloads from Itunes anymore. I buy my music from stores online outside the US and Canada which do not use nor have ever implemented any DRM on their music. It’s not breaking DRM locks that’s the concern, it’s the utter rejection of DRM by the marketplace that is a concern, and how that will impact consumer purchases that creative talent needs to look at. Especially the talent that’s tied in with these organizations that want to force this technology back in when it was a huge failure and turned off a lot of consumers from product. It will effect your pocket book in a big way.

    By calling for something that is largely unenforceable and unrealistic to the demands of the marketplace AFM is not just hurting its own bottom line, but their members as well. It’s a rejected technology, and trying to force something that was rejected by the consumer in the marketplace is great cause for concern with respect the economics of the situation. Either side of this debate, Geist included shouldn’t even be discussing DRM right now, but it seems to be more of a political issue rather than a practical one. It’s unenforceable and illogical to try and build a marketplace around DRM it will fail and bring down a lot of people in the process. It’s self destructive, and talent needs to distance themselves from organizations that are calling for DRM provisions such as the AFM. It will not protect you, it will hurt you, severely.

    Notice and takedown provisions also supported by AFM are being felt within side the industry and hitting the creative talent directly. Band video’s are being taken down from sites such as youtube (essential now to have a band profile on for promotions) because of disputes with the site admins. Labels and agents should be handling the design and promotions of at least 12 profiles on social networking sites, and coaching talent on exactly how to conduct themselves on social networking sites in order to maximize promotion. Canadian Job seekers have more of an understanding on how to use sites like twitter to their advantage, than industry does. That’s sad.

    Artists are often left to self promote even when signed with major labels to get their stuff out. The vast majority of talent I deal with are now actively using and promoting darknet services to service industry since labels and copyright collectives are not interested in actually doing the selling and promoting properly in the digital marketplace, or the digital industry. They are too busy acting out like 4 year old kids and screaming at panels of experts who disagree with their position rather than trying to come up with more realistic solutions to improve the quality of life for talent and those affected by IP around with what the Market has set out.

    WIPO is currently grappling with exactly how to balance creators rights with users rights, and have been holding consultations on that recently, so I don’t see how implementing WIPO at this stage is any benefit to the creative community. They are in the process of consulting in order to change the treaty language to support that balance. Maybe waiting until that language is agreed upon before ratification might also be a good idea. Canada is basically entering into this situation when globally there currently is no precedent to look at with respect to balancing copyright protection with the rights of users. Everybody is currently trying to come up with solutions to this at present just like we are. Read people!

  10. President, AFM Local 820
    It’s clear from the recent dialogue that there are many people like Jason K who are misinformed and going off half-cocked about the music industry, who are newcomers with little sense of perspective. I have been an independent artist for the past 37 years. During this time I have toured nationally and internationally, released seven recordings and, for periods of time, have earned a decent living as a concert and recording artist. More recently I have been using this experience to support other musicians, by providing services as a publicist, manager, concert promoter and booking agent. Currently, I am in my second term as president of a Local of the AFM. In my years in the music business, the AFM offers the best suite of services and supports of any group or organization. It has not done a good job of maintaining a visible presence, but this is currently changing. Anyone who seriously thinks they can survive and thrive as an artist without the involvement and support of the AFM is very much blind to the advantages of being part of a continent wide, member driven, democratic organization that has been dealing with the needs of and representing musicians for more than a century.

    Jason, you really need to do some research. You need to know about neighbouring rights (who lobbied for them, who provides them), assistance with visas for US touring, AFM insurance services, the Special Payments Fund which provides years of residuals to those who record under contract and the general advantages of being part of a connected community with 100,000 members who are there for you when you need help. You really don’t know what you are talking about.

    Regarding copyright, and the current hearings toward drafting new legislation, those speaking for “user’s rights” need to understand that it takes a lot of work, time and investment, to create works which are then going to be used and often abused by those who are reluctant to help support the creators. We simply cannot survive, especially in the face of dropping CD sales, if the new marketplace in the digital domain does not include compensation for the work we do. Simple.

    Anyone who reads this blog and swallows what Mr. Geist is presenting without thought will sadly be misled about rights and remuneration in the new digital world which we all inhabit.

    Best to everyone from St. John’s, Newfoundland.

  11. Dan – First of all I’m not a rouge artist, I will be your competition very soon. I’ve done extensive market research over the past several years in preparation for entering into this market, and will be basically representing talent as you are. I have several years of experince within the music industry, and not once has AFM come up in conversations with respect to an agent or collective with talent I’m connected with, which includes a large number of Juno award winners.

    We care about the same things, and we are on the same side. I want to make sure that you understand that.

    However, it’s time that you start looking realistically in order to create future income, and protect the interests of creative talent, and know where your place will be in the near future as far as representing in the digital ecosystem. The fact that you are quoting dropping CD sales is actually quite representing of your inability to see what’s actually been taking place within the market. While some area’s are seeing a slip in income, others within side the industry are actively booming, and it’s important for your organization and the talent you represent to innovate and adapt to where the money is, which was represented very well in a recent industry report from PRS, and something I’ve seen here in Canada. No matter what legislation is put into place, unless AFM can follow the market and identify the changes needed to ensure to be in a better position, then other organizations will push to the forefront to allow talent that choice. The only legislation that will be enforceable is one that will be follow with the realities of today’s marketplace. Enacting or calling for stricter rules around DRM when DRM isn’t in play in the industry anymore also speaks volumes to AFM’s representation of talent’s interest within the marketplace.

    A massive amount of artistic talent (with major labels) I’m in contact with has had to deal directly with notice and takedown provisions which is pissing them off, to the point of leaving when contracts are up. Time, effort and money these acts have had to put into their profiles (when organizations such as the AFM need to be doing) is then met with DMCA notices. This also speaks volumes to your understanding of the “beat” of the industry right now.

    “User Rights” – The thing I have to say on that is read what’s being said with respect to the consultation process. The vast majority of creators responding to this consultation, including after threats from rights organizations to get involved because their livelihood is being threatened, wants to get paid, but also wants law to be inline with user rights. This isn’t about AFM or rights collectives no matter how hard you scream at people. It’s about talent, and users. This consultation has for the first time, put creators and users together to discuss the situation without organizations such as AFM screaming bloody murder on their main source of income!

    If you think Geist is your problem, then AFM has maybe 2 years left in this business, and I’ll be more than happy to handle the overflow, and I won’t scream at panels of experts as means of protecting my interests, I’ll just put those not willing to change out of business.

  12. A little reminder…
    You know as the saying goes Dan…”old habits die hard.” Don’t get me the wrong impression, I know how your organization like other recording organizations do with the current situation at hand…you complain too much and wanted to squeeze every penny off of others by letting lawsuits get the best of accusers. You know by doing those lawsuits onto those who have been accused will lose their jobs because they have to pay a ridiculous amount of money for just a CD. Sure, there must be a balance of copyright but unlike for most people you and other recording industries wanted more out of it and that could result to such disputes and even hatred among society itself. After all in my opinion, the RIAA and the MPAA are the most hated companies / organizations in North America…hell maybe in the world. So, do yourself a favor, stop with the “decline CD sales due to online” BS because it’s not only what’s online that causes it but also with other contributing factors such as the popularity of Video Games and other entertainment alternatives, poor taste of artists, and other factors. Another thing, what we want as part of national interest…please keep your backdoor tactics in your own country and enough interfering with ours.

  13. Oh BTW Danny boy…the so-called “Accusers” are mostly innocent people with family members who aren’t aware of what’s really going on. Greed consumes the innocent.

  14. One of the things I’ve learned when it comes to the music industry is there is a lot of emotion because music is an emotional art. All sides need to get past that emotion to come up with better solutions for this and other industries. Throwing up laws that do nothing for the creator, unenforceable, and in act responses like Anobe’s is exactly to my point, and Anobe’s response should be well received. This industry has done tremendous damage globally through actions it has taken in the US. How are you going to sell product to this guy Dan? It’s not the job of industry to force stuff down his throat.

    The dynamics have changed here in Canada over the past year or so. It would be wise for AFM and the CRIA to get up to speed on it. The dangers right now, is to basically enact legislation that can’t be enforced and only serve to push creators and consumers away from organizations such as AFM, and major labels which isn’t good for talent. I don’t even think our Government can even understand or strike the balance needed to fix this. It’ll be up to industry to move forward, but the “unpaid” royalties stated above is cause for great concern, and that needs to be investigated to the fullest extent by the feds. That shouldn’t be used by AFM as a ploy to sign on with their belief system around reform.

    The music industry and talent can not afford another decade of BS. We need to stop with the screaming at P2P or at Geist’s blog for the problems suffered, and we need to bring creative talent back in so they are promoted the right way, and remunerated properly within the industry by professionals that know how to do this, and conveniently forgot a decade ago. It’s time to end it now, or those waiting in line as your replacements will do it for you.

  15. Jason – loved your reply to Dan, because I so enjoy fiction. Now here are the facts.

    With your “years of experience” with artists, and you name drop the Junos, how is it that you have never heard of AFM? All through the years, AFM has had 2 agreements in place for every event – one to pay the musicians (who are members or under work permits) to play the showcases leading up to the event, and another to pay the musicians (all of whom are members or under work permits) for the broadcast. Where were you during all this? I see – forgetting to collect money for your clients.

    Another fact, Jason – the largest revenue streams for independent musicians/artists comes from 2 places – the Copyright Act (through the collective societies, i.e. SOCAN, CMRRA, SODRAC, CSI and NRCC), and from fees, royalties and residuals under contract law, through AFM. If you are advising your artists to forget making money from touring or TV, and concentrate on being merch monkeys, then you have costs your clients a lot of money.

    The biggest problem for musicians/artists is NOT the traditional organizations, but the so-called “agents/managers” who know something about Facebook and Twitter, but have no clue about, or respect for, the history or function of established entities. You don’t know us, so you are afraid of us, and your clients pay the price. I’ll be you don’t even discount that 25% for not knowing, either.

    Regarding ISP liability and DRM – these things must exist to protect intellectual property. If a musician/performer/creator chooses to make a sample of his product available, or even all of it, for free, that’s HIS CHOICE. You cannot rid the world of copy obstacles because a few people wish them to go away.

    And stop using the term, “Users’ Rights”. There is no such reference in the Copyright Act – it was a US term repeated by a judge in this country. It belongs only when referring to the guarantee involved when buying a car or refrigerator. In terms of music, THE ONLY TRUE USERS’ RIGHT IS THE PRIVILEGE TO HAVE LIBERAL AND GENEROUS ACCESS TO COPYRIGHT MATERIAL, WHEN APPROPRIATE, AND AT A REASONBLE COST.

    Both you and Anobe have linked us to RIAA – I presume because you make the arrogant presumption we are American. We’re not. The 17,000 members of the Canadian division of AFM are Canadians, with an interest in Canada. The fact that we are international union allows us to petition on behalf of members for visas to tour the US – again, something you should know about, but don’t. That tells me that either you artists don’t have access to the US market because you don’t know how, or you are using an immigration lawyer for each and every tour, milking thousands of dollars from your clients for something we do for nothing. And you had the gall to suggest you were going to replace us? What did you do with that capital “L” I sent for your forehead?

    More on RIAA and CRIA – both of you fail to understand that we sit on the other side of the table from those folks when we negotiate the AFM Sound Recording Labour Agreement. Another fact that you choose to ignore is that Graham Henderson from CRIA has gone on record time and again to state that they have NEVER sued a fan in this country, and that they never will. Stop using BS for arguments.

    Another item of BS is stating that the argument is about creators vs. users. That is the dynamic that the anti-copyright side wants to set up, to gain support from students, teachers and librarians. Copyright infringement is illegal, and always has been. The fact that the internet has made infringement easy is no reason to legitimize theft. The issue is first how to properly monetize the internet to allow stakeholders to be properly compensated, and then to change public perception where they believe that everything on line is free.

    In addition, if you are as experienced as you say, you would understand that it’s not just the consumers in this country that we need to please. In order for us to negotiate reciprocal agreements with other countries for royalties and protection of our artists work, we have to enact the WIPO treaties with at least equal national treatment. If you disagree, then you are not only cutting off potential revenue streams for your artists from airplay in other countries, but exposing them to theft of their product overseas in countries that think our level of copyright protection is laughable.

    I have no issue with Michael Geist’s position on Copyright. He comes from the academic world, and he believes what he says. I don’t say I agree, because I have a different perspective, being a creator/performer. What I detest are folks supposedly with the creator/performer point of view who wish to diminish the core principles of copyright to fit into their own, current business model. Those folks are self-serving and short-sighted, and I doubt even Mr. Geist would have time for them.

  16. “What I detest are folks supposedly with the creator/performer point of view who wish to diminish the core principles of copyright to fit into their own, current business model.”

    That I completely agree on that, and from the way AFM has acted recently, one needs to question that statement as it relates to AFM, considering the obvious failure to adapt with respect to what’s actually taking place in the marketplace. It’s obvious that I touched a nerve with the AFM, and that an organization that is supposed to be acting in a professional manner rather than engaging in personal attacks on people that disagree with their positions, which is pretty consistent industry wide with respect to the old establishment:

    I’ve never linked to you with respect to the RIAA, I stated the industry has a PROBLEM globally due to the way the RIAA has acted, and it’s important for groups like the AFM who represent talent to focus more on customer service, and “user rights” with respect to the consumer market if they plan on having a future in it. It’s your job to connect with consumers, and too often than not, artists have to do this themselves while leaving the industry, because groups like AFM are making it impossible for artists to connect directly with consumers, and when they try, they are often left with attitudes as such displayed in these responses from AFM, and this is why they leave the old establishment to search for green pastures. If what I’m saying isn’t true then why come on a blog from someone who’s supporting the other side of this debate, and personally attack posters who disagree with your position. Are you afraid I actually might be right?

    It’s also remarkable that the AFM as no issue with Geists Position around copyright reform as of today, after the above responses seem to attack that position, and AFM just a few months ago was screaming at him in a forum in which Dr. Geist attended in Toronto. If you have no issue with Geists Position then why don’t you adopt it?

    I’m not going to continue this verbal sparring on here. I think AFM has done a wonderful job at presenting the type of attitude displayed by the old establishment when confronted with people who are on the forefront of positive change. I’m glad not just Geists followers have had a chance to read this, but several in the industry as well that now may think twice on who they have representing them, and to steer clear in the future of other talent agents, or labels that display this type of behavior, because this is exactly what’s hurting the industry right now. The inability for those to adapt, and those that have different opinions are constantly being attacked rather than listened to. It’s those organizations that will not be around for much longer, due to their inability to let go of a dying business model, and represent talent and take care of their needs in the digital marketplace.

    Dan, you are an indie artist, let’s see those 12 profiles that you have created, and need to create in order to reach your audience. List them. Let’s take a look at your twitter account. Maybe I have some suggestions for you with respect to how to maximize your profiles in order to obtain new fans, and service the ones you have in order to generate income. Lets see what AFM has done with respect to this, to see if they are actually following the consumer, and marketing talent correctly.

  17. “Both you and Anobe have linked us to RIAA – I presume because you make the arrogant presumption we are American. We’re not. The 17,000 members of the Canadian division of AFM are Canadians, with an interest in Canada. The fact that we are international union allows us to petition on behalf of members for visas to tour the US – again, something you should know about, but don’t. That tells me that either you artists don’t have access to the US market because you don’t know how, or you are using an immigration lawyer for each and every tour, milking thousands of dollars from your clients for something we do for nothing. And you had the gall to suggest you were going to replace us? What did you do with that capital “L” I sent for your forehead?

    More on RIAA and CRIA – both of you fail to understand that we sit on the other side of the table from those folks when we negotiate the AFM Sound Recording Labour Agreement. Another fact that you choose to ignore is that Graham Henderson from CRIA has gone on record time and again to state that they have NEVER sued a fan in this country, and that they never will. Stop using BS for arguments.”

    Then why the hell you making it difficult for us to come in a listen to what other organizations are saying regarding the current issues in our country? We have a voice too you know, and with that door closing to the public move tells me that you are more likely to shut us up and having a one-sided argument. And for the record…I’m not an musician, I am a consumer just like the public.

    As far as the CRIA concern about suing people, do a little research on them vs. Isohunt…a google-like search engine for torrents. Do you find that odd that what they say that they couldn’t do yet they still do it…”hypocrisy” at its best.

  18. Mr. require the services of a promoter:

    Not even 1 link to a myspace account from your label, or other profiles essential for competing in todays marketplace. Once I get all set up, I’ll be more then happy to update that black and white photo of yours and prepair you for the digital age. Common, lol…even indie artists and labels are doing way better then this.

    Anobe – It doesn’t seem like this right now, but actually the public is totally and completely in control of where this will end up. If Canadians at large see their rights being stripped away by the next bill, they will mass as they did before. We vote, these guys just swindle, and they need to becareful on what they ask for.

  19. “It doesn’t seem like this right now, but actually the public is totally and completely in control of where this will end up. If Canadians at large see their rights being stripped away by the next bill, they will mass as they did before. We vote, these guys just swindle, and they need to be careful on what they ask for.”

    I get the feeling that this whole consultation process will be thrown out the window at the last minute because of lobbyists going for the kill before becomes billed. Once again this whole argument will commence after that and the same old BS will come in for the kill.

    Soon or later this will go ugly, and people will have to get violent over this…just like Iran. Hopefully, I don’t see this happening.

  20. Just a few points
    First, the CRIA have attempted lawsuites in the past… that’s right, plural. Here’s a link to add to the isohunt case:

    If you don’t like my link, just google news it.

    Next, sounds like Afm did a lot of great things in the past, but, aren’t infaillable either. Just think about all the pollution cd’s make. All the wasted plastic. It’s a done medium, and not just because of piracy. It is possible for you guys to be wrong.

    I just think it’s sad that here we have another case of an oligopoly fighting against the actual consumer demands. How any orgnanizations do artists have to choose from 3?

    Just like I get to choose any ISP in the Ottawa region, as long as it’s using a Bell, Rogers, or videotron networks.

  21. Anobe – No I don’t think the violent way is the Canadian way at all, and that’s not how to solve this. They’ve already been spanked pretty hard over the past year. It’s actually kind of humorous to see they are calling for the same things as they did in C-61. They will get spanked again if the bill isn’t inline with what the public wants.

    It will get ugly though, it already is, but in the end no matter what this bill states, the market is driving towards a consumer friendly approach in music. They don’t have a choice, and my concern is with my peers who are listening to groups who are not engaged at all in the new marketplace they way they should be, nor have an understanding of it. Other industries will follow suit, and it’s those who have an understanding on how to actually sell product to people in the digital environment that will reign. Let the chips fall as they may.

  22. Jason, Jason, Jason. The reason I’m on a blog debating with you, is that I am attempting to set right the horrific inaccuracies you put forth. I don’t want some young musician visiting this site, only to be poisoned by misconception. For instance, you state “it’s important for groups like the AFM who represent talent to focus more on customer service, and “user rights” with respect to the consumer market if they plan on having a future in it. It’s your job to connect with consumers, and too often than not, artists have to do this themselves while leaving the industry, because groups like AFM are making it impossible for artists to connect directly with consumers”. Can you BE more wrong? First of all, you pretend to know what our job is – again referring to us as some kind of management company. We ARE the musicians you speak of; try and accept that. YOU are the manager/agent, who is supposed to do the marketing and make them a star. WE negotiate the fees, conditions and benefits under which they work in the industry, plus all the other services, all for about a buck fifty ($150) per year in dues. I doubt you work that cheap, or provide anywhere near what we do for ourselves. Oh, and BTW, in terms of putting our members in touch with the consumer, we have an international referral web site – So touché, we soon will put YOU out of business.

    Now, on to more about what you claim to know all about. I said I had no issue with Mr. Geist, because I understand he comes from the academic world, and has made it clear what his objectives are. I didn’t say I agree with him, as I’m sure he does not with me. But more about this Olivia Chow meeting in Toronto, where you accuse me of screaming at Mr. Geist. Had you been awake, you would know that I did not scream. In addition, it was not Mr. Geist I teed off on, it was the representative for libraries. In fact, the person with the loudest voice at that event was Dave Basskin, president of CMRRA. Perhaps in the future you should have someone take notes for you.

    Your next paragraph again alludes to the demise of AFM, because of our inability to adapt to the new business model. Once again I remind you, we are NOT some company. We are 17,000 Canadian musicians who have chosen to be linked to each other through membership for the purposes of bargaining power and collective services. After 113 years of existence, we’ve been doing this long before you, and will be here long after you are dust. Do you think the internet is the FIRST challenge musicians have faced in the last 113 years? We have grown, adapted and persevered. In the 1940s, it was necessary to be a strong “union”, and we therefore conducted 2 successful recording strikes. In 2009, it is more important to be a service organization. Our structure allows us to survive, since we are constantly pulling young minds from our ranks to serve in leadership positions. And don’t misconstrue – I say this not to validate our existence, but to help someone on the outside understand.

    Why do I make it difficult to hear what other organizations are saying you ask? Because when it comes to musicians/creators/performers, along with ACTRA and UDA we are the one voice you need to listen to. We ARE the music. No one else speaks for the musicians – ESPECIALLY not provincial music associations, such as Music Manitoba, because they represent the industry, not the player. In addition, they exist on tax dollars – yours and mine. We exist because musicians pay dues for us to be here for them. There’s a BIG difference in raison d’être.

    And one for Anobe – don’t make the mistake that because we are an old, established organization that we have no idea about technology and “new” business models. I reiterate – we ARE the musicians. Each of us has their own business model – for MARKETING. Each of us has too little time in a day to think about anything but writing songs, practicing and playing shows. We join AFM to provide the services and benefits we require, and protect our product.

    Too many musicians are wrapped up in the term “indie”, and lost sight of what that means. It used to mean a recording artist who was not signed to a major label. Now it seems to portray someone who ventures out along, independent of everyone. If that’s the new business model, then it’s certainly not a model for business. Players STILL need to join SOCAN for their composing and publishing royalties, CMRRA for their mechanicals and sync fees, NRCC (through AFM, ACTRA or UDA) for their performance and fixation royalties, and AFM for the industry agreements, immigration and other services. It’s not like shopping for an ISP provider – there are no choices, because no one else can do it better. These are the entities prescribed by law. Accept it, live with it. It’s the only way to get the money you deserve as a musician/performer.

  23. Allan:

    Jason wanted me to respond to this. I’m currently representing talent in the industry and his agrument does hold weight. I’ve tried to post links to to research Jason in trying to quote, but I think the spam filters are not letting the post through due to the amount of links involved.

    There currently is a cycle of “Creative” destruction within side the music industry which was confirmed through research at the UNCTAD a few years ago, and than confirmed with the PRS study out last month.

    DRM was effectively declared a dead issue in the industry last month, and will just to serve to piss off users rather than being any use to creators. It wasn’t just a “few” people, it was the entire market. DO YOUR RESEARCH!

    There is ample evidence to prove that legalizing the file sharing networks and making P2P legal is the way to go, and appropriate and will create income for talent which the AFM seems to disagree with. That’s future income for yourself, and the talent you represent that you would be effectively turning down.

    WIPO is current holding consultation meetings with the UNCTAD with respect to balancing the rights of creators with the rights of consumers. Reports are readily available on the UNCTAD website.

    It would help on both side of this debate if the “bravado” of this industry was turned down, and we focus on the actual research out there to make sure talents best interest is served in this industry.

    Thus far from the responds from AFM, AFM is failing to acknowledge a lot of the research that has been presented to industry over the past 2 years. I will be in contact directly with your organizations head office, and I will be providing them with this research, along with the responses you have posted in here.

  24. Actually it was backed up personally by a UNCTAD researcher in Geneva through a comment in a blog posting in which Bridget Anderson (one of the researchers for the 2007 Industry Canada Study on the effects of file sharing) was rebutting industry criticism:

  25. Institute of European Media Law with respect to the legalization of file sharing:

  26. Chad, I thank you for your comments and information of various studies being conducted worldwide. Here is some more information which you may have overlooked in your condemnation of AFM Canada’s position. Some 18 months ago, when the Songwriters’ Association of Canada (SAC) proposed a levy at the ISP level to subsidize creators/performers for illegal file sharing, AFM Canada went on record, and sent a letter to SAC of support (in principle) of their initiative. On the surface, the notion is great – pay a few dollars more for internet, and have unencumbered access to all content – with the stakeholders being compensated. I continue to support research to find ways and means to accomplish that. Paul Hoffert and his company out of Harvard University – NOANK – developed such a system independently and are selling that service throughout the world, most significantly in China.

    In a perfect world, it seems such a simple solution. Yet it is fraught with danger and obstacles. For instance, how do you deal with our “indie” friends who choose to opt out of such a collective? How do you deal with subscribers who opt out, refusing to pay the surcharge, and then proceed to download anyway? More importantly is the internet content that is NOT Canadian. Royalties must be collected on behalf of foreign creators/performers, and either paid into a collective in their home country, or a deal has to be cut with every single foreign creator whose work is available. Making a deal with a collective in each country is the key, but as I stated in a previous post, that’s not possible when Canada is not WIPO-compliant. Still, we are not averse to working toward that goal.

    I never stated that file sharing would not generate income for some artists. I am cognizant of those who choose to make their materials available, because it sells merchandise, widens their fan base, increases attendance at shows and generates more interest in their music. Many of our members do that. What we are adverse to is making that the law. Copyright is not about balancing anything, as you want others to believe. The Copyright Act is a federal law put in place to protect creators and performers – that’s it! There should be no mitigation or watering down of the laws. Creators and performers ALWAYS retain the right to assign their rights – exclusively or non-exclusively – or forego their rights entirely, but it must not be forced upon them. Again, these are core principles of copyright in every country in the world.

    Making P2P legal in the absence of the appropriate collective in place is unacceptable. It’s legalizing theft. And Chad, you’re another one coming at me with consumers’ rights. There is NO such thing when it comes to music, books or software. It’s up to the creator/performer to GRANT such rights, when appropriate, for a reasonable cost.

    For folks who profess to “represent talent” in the music industry, it’s unconscionable that you come out on the side of anti-copyright lobbyists. You’re selling away the rights of your artists. While you may believe there is bigger, better, technological way of doing things, until sufficient safeguards are in place to properly protect and remunerate the creator/performer, there is no way you should be advocating a lightening up of copyright law.

  27. Hi Allan,

    AFM has a different position on that I can respect, however there are groups out there as you stated that are currently using P2P and experimenting with business models that also need to be protected, and have money invested in this system as well. Let them experiment with it. Innovation is what drives this industry forward, and laws need to respect the wishes of those innovating for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

    Not everyone considers legalizing file sharing as theft, neither does our Government and Courts who has implemented a levy system to compensate you for it. It’s not theft in Canada and this was also debated on and agreed upon by our law makers, public, courts, and experts. You are getting paid! So stop misleading, and spreading industry propaganda. You’re making an emotional argument that doesn’t hold weight in the current debate of facts.

    Our group must be protected and remunerated as well, and in fact historically the music business is built around the sharing of creative works. Those of us in the industry who have promoted before the age of Napster used “Free CD’s” and still do to bolster interest in talent, and the same should be going on with groups like AFM, and learn how to do that through scene release groups on the P2P networks. This has gone on for a decade now, and there are some that are currently using P2P with respect to reaching audiences, their income is tied into this now and it’s important that those interests are presented at the table and protected as well. If you have talents best interests at heart as a whole then our rights as creators and what system we have chosen also need to be respected.

    While arguments can be made with respect to “look at us and how much money we have, and we are the better system” as displayed by AFM in their responses here, kind of depletes the purpose of your arguments that AFM’s talent is suffering, and is not representing of the problem you currently face with talent and the reason why they are leaving, and what’s being presented by leading experts. You are also making profits from P2P as well indirectly according to the experts and the shift in income as stated in Jasons’ links. In fact you’re in areas where you are setting up talent with concerts around the world, tv exposure, global fm radio, and stand to also lose a significant amount of exposure for your talent globally if we chose a system on what you are asking for. Giving up a little bit of control, to allow a system of remuneration that will more than offset the amount of abuse you are worried about is what we should be talking about here.

    The model of remuneration based on physical sales is dying off. There is evidence and solid proof behind this. Regardless of the law, the leading global economists in this debate state that will not change, so organizations such as AFM need to be brought to the table to discuss other means of remuneration. The PRS report that came out in July states industry really needs to think about who will support creative talent in the future. You might want to read the context of that report and rethink your position. If you’re not willing to sit at the table and discuss this now, you will be in a year maybe 2 when you find out that the market cannot be forced back to where you want it to go. The past 10 years is solid evidence of this.

    The economics of this situation is quite clear, and would invite you to fully read the texts that have been presented to industry. You can take a position against these texts that’s fine and respected, but attacking those that represent in this industry and using smoke and mirrors to confuse the situation won’t help your position at all. It will just serve to distance you from the table in the near future. Let’s look at the facts, not the emotions. Implementing WIPO is an excellent idea. WIPO is currently consulting experts who have presented the legalization of file sharing as a means of appropriate remuneration, and fully expect a system of legalizing these systems by 2012 either within WIPO or with Global Governments. That can’t be stopped, it can be delayed causing harm to the industry, but will happen eventually you can count on it.

  28. My final word:

    Users are the main source of income for creators. Like it or not, they have to be protected as well it’s the users that take priority in this case not industry. If you don’t respect their rights, then you don’t respect the source of income for your talent. It’s industries responsibility to adapt to the market as it has been historically in capitalist markets. Those that don’t follow the market die off eventually. Governments can do very little in a free market environment to protect those that don’t follow it, or understand it.

  29. International Representative/Supervisor, Electronic Media and Intellectual Property – AFM Canada

    A last word from your friend Alan, as well. I looked at the CIPPIC site you quoted, regarding CRIA suing their fans, in your attempt to prove me wrong and them liars. It wasn’t some poor 8-year old they were suing, it was a torrent site. There’s a big difference.

    Next, you were quoting research that had been done, and how the public hated DRM, and though P2P acceptable etc. You suggest that we have to sit down with these consumers and come up with a balance.

    That kind of research is like polling thieves to see if they agree with the laws on stealing. Anyone in their right mind is not going to negotiate on something that is already theirs. The public is going to have to get used to the fact that intellectual property is not some abstract, it’s real, and taking it without permission is no different than stealing a car.

    The courts have been reluctant to say that P2P is against the law, and that’s true – because the Right of Making Available extends currently only to books. Be prepared for that right to be expanded to include music, and then P2P of unlicensed content will be considered infringement.

    I agree with you that no one is going to turn back the clock 10 years. The horse is out of the barn. I agree that many performers are using P2P to reach their audiences. Fine! It’s their product, their choice. But cannot and will not legitimize something that is wrong just because many people do it. If that were the case, we would legitimize shoplifting and speeding. You can come up with as much research as you want, conduct polls until you are exhausted, but it will not make a difference in the minds of the creators/performers you are attempting to exploit.

    Here’s some research for you. The average musician/performer in Canada has income below the poverty line – between $15K – $25K. To NOT have laws to protect their work, to NOT find ways to further compensate them (and make becoming an artist a viable way to make a living) is criminal.

  30. Allan, P2P is actually tied into your business model whether you like it or not. As a former software developer, P2P can only be made illegal, but it can’t be stopped. If we were to implement a “graduated” response. How is that going to be tracked in the near future by industry when IP addresses will be masked, and darknet services used to make it untraceable.

    Simply making something “illegal” in law doesn’t do anything. All you have to do is go on the public torrent sites and open up a torrent and count the number of Americans on there compared to Canadians. The number of Americans using P2P far out weighs Canadians by at least 11 – 1.

    Be careful on what you ask for, or you’ll be in bed with the enemy sooner than you think.

  31. President, AFM LOCAL 820
    I have been busy and can see I missed quite a bit of fireworks on this thread in the past few days. No loss really, as Alan is quite capable of handling the misinformation.

    Seriously, Jason, you are right. My management company website IS out of date. Why? Because I found it so challenging to represent independent artists who largely know nothing about business, do not want to know about it, and have a hard time following through. Of course, not all are like that, but many. For this reason, I have shifted my attention and energy to my work with the AFM where there are so many more reasonable people, and attention to real details that benefit all musicians can really pay off and benefit musicians (both members and non-members).

    A lot of the dialogue here is based on misinformation and misrepresentation of what is being stated. Of course the decline in CD sales is not the end of the world, nor the whole story. We know that. A lot is happening in the realm of digital communication, file sharing and new use such as ringtones, video games and synchronization. That’s why our Association sponsored a major national conference on the future of music last August.

    Check out for a sample of what we presented.

    But Alan is right: neighbouring rights, the Special Payments Plan made available through AFM contracts for major recordings, insurance services and visa assistance more than justify your AFM membership.

    Our shared concerns about forms of file sharing do not add up to an attempt to shut it down: downloading and digital file sharing are here to stay. The point is that creators have rights. If they choose not to enforce those rights, fine. But if they do, then some form of control and compensation is needed for the use of their works. We are all scrambling to develop new ways to address this.

    Although some of the people posting want to make it seem they know all about it, how it works and where it is headed, I doubt that they do. The whole thing is too new, and developing too quickly. The dialogue is good: the more the better. But the shallow personal attacks and inuendo are a waste of time.

    Have a great day.

  32. website correction
    Sorry, correct website for last year’s conference:


  33. hmmm, not clickable. try again
    The web address is so try clicking on that.


  34. i Dan,

    Thanks for the level headed response. Creative Destruction is nothing new to a free market economy, nor is this battle or the destruction we have seen in this industry. Historically this has gone on time and time again. Please refer to: for further examples.

    While there are some that resist change, what we should be looking at is how to incorporate that change into the system for everyone’s benefit. You’ll probably agree with me that even if DRM is installed on product somewhere someone will crack the DRM and throw it on to P2P networks. It’s unavoidable, and it would be extremely hard to track the individual down who did this, and in a lot of cases as with the movie studio’s, often those working on production of the DVD’s end up being the culprits with respect to DVD screeners.

    So while creators may preach creative rights, it’s equally important that they know any law presented to protect their inability to move with the market will give them a false sense of security that they are actually protected, when they are not. That’s the reality of the situation. The market has decided the direction on where this will end up, plain and simple, and as I said before, Governments can do very little to help those that don’t follow the market.

    It’s just a matter of time before industry will have to adapt to P2P. As you stated it’s here to stay, so let’s start making money off of it, rather than choosing to fight and depriving income for talent. That reality will sink in very soon with respect to those seriously looking into the situations. It already is with respect to the PRS report, and many leading experts inside and outside the industry. There’s really only one direction to go on this, it’s just a matter of time before that direction is taken.

    As an entrepreneur I can tell you that in order to survive in any business in any industry, at the end of the day, it’s your ability to adapt to the situations in the market that will determine whether you sink or swim. This situation with the music industry isn’t new. It’s 10 year old! It may look to be new, because some in the industry are just starting to grasp the concept of digital, and actually are trying to understand it now, rather than fight it. That’s not our problem, nor should it be governments. As you have stated things are changing at a very rapid pace, as it is with the digital ecosystem, and if you are representing talent in this age, you have to be able to adapt the next day when something new comes up. If you can’t do this, then with all due respect, you shouldn’t be representing talent at all. This is what the market is dictating to you and what you are beginning to see. If you don’t understand it, then you may not have a place in it in the near future. The market will determine that for you.

    The true way of protecting talents interest, is to read and learn where the market is headed, and less on lobbying governments for controls that the market has stated are obsolete and will not protect creators at all.

  35. I completely agree with what the AFM is doing to protect rights of creators in the professional world. That’s what needs to be focused on, but also with an understanding on how income is made in newly born businesses. What I’ve suggested and the copyright board last year almost approved was a tarrif system based on a percentage of net income for things like podcasts/online radio/blogs (extremely important to the creators, and also extremely important to monetize). We need to be focusing less on the consumer end of the law, and more on the professional side to ensure that any new innovations that pop up, don’t take 10 years to squabble over and monetize in order to generate income for talent. That’s where I think AFM can be extremely helpful here in this debate.

    I found David Keeble’s presentation at the Gatineau round table to be very represented of the experts who are currently studying this issue:

    I would invite you to listen to his remarks at about the 65:00min mark. I think it’s people like Keeble who don’t have any vested interests we should start listening to, in order to really put forth the change that’s really needed to properly compensate artistic talent. I think it’s very important for our industry to move past the consumer part of this “war”, and look towards what’s taking place as far as innovation is concerned. The more we focus on driving innovation forward, the more income becomes available for talent.

  36. Dan – I apologize to Allan and you. There is a lot of emotion in this debate, and that’s basically what needs to subside to move forward.

    “Although some of the people posting want to make it seem they know all about it, how it works and where it is headed, I doubt that they do. The whole thing is too new, and developing too quickly.”

    Be careful! There has been a lot of fighting going on in the mainstream, and the fighting off of digital content, has put your knowledge of the digital economy and industry behind 8 years in the mainstream, while others have been experimenting, learning and succeeding. We may not be visible now, but we’ll be hard to ignore in the next few months.

    AFM is a great option for talent; for now. Let’s see how fast you will be able to adapt. Good luck, and see you out there.

  37. Hey, Chad,

    A lot of what you say is true, regarding these problems being ten or more years old. But there are a couple of fundamental flaws in your logic regarding the solution.

    We have known for years that the moment DRM is created, two heartbeats later someone has developed the device to unlock it. But not EVERYBODY is going to crack that lock. Most will respect the fact that the intent is to prevent copying and modification. The DRM, therefore, is not finite, but a deterrent. Chad – I still lock my car, knowing fully that if a thief really wants it, poof! I still lock my house, knowing fully that the door can be forced or the window broken. But the lock is a deterrent, and my personal statement that I expect others to leave it alone. It’s the same with DRM.

    I don’t buy the philosophy that because the masses want to have access to content that the laws should be changed to make it legal. That would indeed be creative destruction – creators/performers facing the fact that no protection of their work exists, and that the clamor of the consumer reigns supreme. Who in their right mind would bother to write a song or invent something every again, if they are always forced to just turn it over? Yes, monetizing the delivery system (ISP) would go al long way to compensate these folks, but we are not there yet, and will face many years of political obstacles before that becomes a reality. Until then, our members will take copyright protection, thank you.

    Throughout the round table I attended, we heard from students asking, “How can I afford an education if I have to pay for content?” The documentary film industry asked, “How can we make a profit when we have to licence content we use?” It seems like everyone deserves to make money – except the person who owns the content. And while their arguments sound plausible on the surface, the facts are quite different. According to Access Copyright, the cost to license a course pack for one student for a semester is $2.50. So what is it they can’t afford? It’s certainly not the licensing that is expensive. So let’s be genuine – what the students are really after is unlimited internet access – they want free music, books and artwork; a free ride. The documentary film people were the same – they don’t want to pay to license clips from previous shows, or needle-drop (music clip use), but the company executives want their massive wages and bonuses. Big business has historically flourished by screwing over the little guy. Now they want government to condone it.

    I truly believe that protection of works that existed in the analogue and paper world must be superimposed upon the digital realm, or any other technology to come. New ways of delivering product to the consumer must not be allowed to trigger a collapse of existing law or values. Those are the core principles at stake here, and apparently the points we cannot agree upon. While it’s true what you say that innovation can certainly lead to more income for talent, it also seems to exacerbate lawlessness – but only when it comes to creators. Everywhere else, existing laws are extended forward. (“But Officer – the speed limit shouldn’t apply to me! I’m driving a new GRAVITY car!”).

    Jason, Chad, Anobe, Dan – I appreciate the debate we’ve had. There is always something to be learned, and it’s always good to better understand the other side. I can’t say that I will change direction in terms of copyright reform, because I have no membership mandate to do so.

    With regard to the high level of emotion I have exhibited during this debate, I’m sure that if you were an AFM member, you would expect no less from the staff who represent you.

    Best wishes to all.

  38. Everyone’s doing their sign off here, so I guess it should be my turn as well.

    We have seen an extremely huge wave of technological innovations, which has made a lot of the old way of doing things obsolete. I fundamentally disagree with Allan with respect to analogue creative rights can be super imposed on the digital realm. I think that’s representing of the lack of knowledge of what we are currently faced with. We definitely need to revamp the laws so that we have “realistic” creative rights within the realm, and less law that gives the creative community and investors a sense of security that really doesn’t exist in this realm.

    That’s a hard pill to swallow for many because a lot of the analogue rights are no longer relevant and can not be enforced in the digital realm, and if we are to continue ignoring this, it will hold back a huge amount of progress in the creative industries, and potential income for creators. We need to focus less on “We don’t want this change”, to “this change has already occurred, lets get back to business.” Our industry can not afford another 10 years of political squabbling with groups who are trying to position themselves and competing against each other for control of this realm.

    The dynamics of this debate has changed on a global scale even within WIPO and current consultations in Canada from protecting creative rights to Balancing the system within reality. That’s a fundamental shift in this debate, and I think we are a lot closer than many realize to monetizing the networks and getting back to business. Many are currently looking at the “reality” of the situation and to those without vested interests to help solve it since this is an economic situation that must be solved. From the squabbling I’ve seen, it’s now who has the guts to implement this first, before others follow. Will we be at the forefront of that change, or we’ll we be the last. Stay tuned..