SOCAN’s Secret Copyright Submission Posted Online

The government has now completed posting all the submissions it received during the copyright consultation (I'll be posting a final summary shortly).  Interestingly, the final submission to be posted was from SOCAN, but it came with some controversy.  Sources say that SOCAN requested that its submission not be posted online.  The terms of the consultation clearly indicated that all submissions would be posted, so it is difficult to identify the grounds for non-disclosure.  Ultimately, the government posted access to the submission, though not the submission itself.  This means that anyone can obtain a PDF copy of the submission via email, but it will not be searchable like every other submission.  Note that this also raises privacy concerns as interested Canadians are required to provide personal information in order to obtain a copy of the SOCAN document, creating a list of everyone who has requested a copy.

As for the substance of the submission, it is the usual laundry list of demands including anti-circumvention legislation, copyright term extension, making available right, notice-and-takedown, broadening of the private copying levy, and no further exceptions.  The submission includes some indirect criticism of Industry Canada and an industry-focused approach to copyright reform.  SOCAN criticizes Bill C-61, expressing a preference for the C-60 approach to the making available right.  It also argues that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage should have sole responsibility for considering a copyright reform bill.  This recommendation suggests that it is less than comfortable with Industry Minister Tony Clement and the Industry Committee, despite the fact that the Copyright Act clearly grants the Minister of Industry responsibility for copyright.


  1. …broadening of the private copying levy…
    Let me guess, giving nothing in return?

    More “raise taxes and cur services” political style.

  2. To get your copy…
    Just use a mailinator email address, or some other annonymized email service (there are a few out there, I just only know mailinator). Another option is to set up a dummy email account somewhere (Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, take your pick). In any case, you shouldn’t be using your actual email address anywhere if there’s a privacy concern.

  3. Just create a free hotmail, gmail, yahoo account and request it then delete the account
    I think it is kind of stupid to put that kind of block on the “transparent” government process. It should be posted like all other submissions that we put in. No one should have preferential treatment, especially a lobby group like SOCAN (RIAA).

  4. Free email redirect

    Jetable will redirect to something else for a brief period.

  5. Not surprising
    They need these submissions to be secret because SOCAN knows how ludicrous their demands are to the general public. The more restrictions they place on IP the more regular people go to alternative channels for content. Copy protection for movies, high prices and close formats? Solution: BitTorrent, streaming sites, file sharing, etc.

  6. Then post it yourself, Michael
    And why aren’t you using the fair-dealing provisions of the Copyright Act to post the submission yourself?

  7. They haven’t posted everything,
    My submission has not been published; sixteen pages of carefully thought out reasons and causes for copyright reform (IIRC), and how to do it. I’m sure it’s just an oversight though and it’ll be up in a few days.

    Anyone else?

  8. They have not all been posted.
    Mine has not been posted either. It was a two page response which I thought about quite a bit — it did not follow any of the form letters.

  9. Re: Joe Clark
    “And why aren’t you using the fair-dealing provisions of the Copyright Act to post the submission yourself?”

    I was just about to ask that question as well.

  10. Laurel L. Russwurm says:

    Does SOCAN actually represent its membership?
    Guess the Songwriters Association of Canada ( ) and SOCAN have something of a difference of opinion.

    @JohnD and GlennW: try looking for your submission under other dates… i didn’t realize mine was posted because they put it online on the 13th even though it was only submitted it a few moments before midnight on the 14th.

  11. Some please just post the thing on wikileaks or SCRIBD.
    For research and criticism purposes….

  12. its online here
    Its on p2pnet here:

    Direct link to PDF here:

  13. @Laurel L. Russwurm
    @Laurel L. Russwurm

    Checked +/- a week, it’s simply not there, and Google isn’t bringing up anything either. I’ve contacted them and am waiting for a response.

  14. why is it a privacy concern if you have the option of not obtaining the document?

  15. @Bob, the municipality just called. They are putting up fences around all the city parks and they are not letting anyone in who does not identify themselves first.

    But it’s OK. There is nothing to be concerned about as long as you have the option of not going to the park.

  16. @Laurel L. Russwurm – The submission is simply missing
    I did a thorough check of all posted comments and mine is not there. Perhaps I will be contacting them as well – GlennW.

  17. A little ridiculous don’t you think? What could they possibly hope to accomplish by having the document only available on request instead of directly? We already knew what would be in it anyway… “Give us more and the people less”

  18. Joe Average says:

    62. Human longevity has increased since the 19th century when the 50-year term was established, and many countries have extended the term of copyright protection to reflect the fact that people now live longer. For example, European countries provide for a minimum term of 70 years following the death of the author.

    It bugs me that Some Dead Author stills gets a from of protection even though Some Dead Author will never make or create another work again.

    And why is it a recognized fact that people live longer, therefore we (collection agencies) deserve to make a little more money but the recognized fact that we all have supercopying machines in our pockets is something to be willfully ignored.

    SOCAN’s Submission
    tl;dr – More control, less freedom.

    I wish all of these agencies the best of luck in the future. They’re going to need it.

  19. copyright term
    How come I don’t get to be paid for my father’s work in my profession! I want to be paid for what my dad did 130 year ago. This working myself stuff sucks.

  20. Why I terminated my membership
    This is precisely why I terminated my membership with them- I really don’t think they have the interest of most artists in mind, only the interests of a select handful at the top of the game, and, more importantly, the labels that handle them.

  21. Matthew Skala says:
    crade, what they get from having it by-request instead of posted normally is that no officially-posted copy appears in Google. That may be of some valueHowever, bear in mind that it probably wasn’t SOCAN’s choice to have it distributed in this way. They wanted it not distributed at all, and it sounds like it was Industry Canada’s idea to do the request-but-not-posted thing. It was most likely a diplomatic move to say, look, we gave you *something* even though we didn’t grant your request to have it sealed. In that case it’s not necessary for it to have any actual benefit to SOCAN.

  22. Concerned Canadian says:

    Who works for who?
    Did you know that a certain percentage of our population will commit:

    Jaywalking is commonly considered an infraction but in some jurisdictions it is a misdemeanor or requires a court appearance. The penalty is usually a fine. In some cities, although prohibited, “jaywalking” behavior has been so commonplace that police generally cite or detain jaywalkers only if their behavior is considered excessively dangerous or disruptive.

    I also believe a certain percentage of our population will commit copyright infringement, willfully or, in most cases, not. Piracy does happen. It is a shame. Jaywalking does happen. It is a shame. How much will it cost taxpayers with this War on Pirates? Is it worth it? Aren’t there better ways? Why does copyright last for centuries? Why do corporations get to own creative content? Why do they get a government-enforced monopoly? On our shared culture?

    There are a lot of issues to deal with where copyright is concerned. Does our political class have what it takes to deal with these issues in a fair and transparent manner?

    Guess not.

  23. @Bob Morris
    said: “Why is it a privacy concern if you have the option of not obtaining the document?”

    More specifically, why is an email address required to obtain or view *this* submission, but not any of the others? Why the special treatment?

    If you can answer that one to my satisfaction, you will have made your point.

    I tend to agree that it’s a misguided attempt to keep the document from hitting the search engines, while still keeping within the bounds of the submission requirements. Fat lot of good it will do. There are already over 47,000 hits on Google, and it’s climbing every hour. It just illustrates how little the people involved understand the technology, and the societal reach of the “internet”. They might have money to burn, but their understanding of society is still entrenched in the 50’s..
    I have this mental image of a set of industry executives raging around blindly, trying to turn the clock backwards to something they can understand and control.

    Everyone vote for you country’s Pirate Party. We have then around the world and Canada’s getting set up as we speak for being legalized. find ur local country 🙂 lets do this

  25. Good
    Good on the people responsable for outright denying the secrecy request. Somehow, I get the impression that people feel copyright is not supposed to be for the benifite of society as whole, but only for creators and distributors of content. Hell, even if it was for the creators only, i would not have a problem with it. Middle men are just that, people there to facilitate things until they can be done without them.

  26. Wow, they got it all wrong.
    Legal protection for DRM:
    No, because we must be allowed to circumvent to exercise fair use, to provide for format shifting for the disabled, or for providing interoperability.

    Extending term to 70 years: No. Term is too long. Why should the heirs of creators get royalties? THey didn’t, and probably won’t, create anything. There is no incentive past death. I say 5-25 years, OR death (whichever comes first), then its all public domain.

    Notice and takedown: Dead wrong. It is inevitably abused for censorship, and assumes guilt rather than innocence, violating some of our most basic legal rights.

    Go to hell SOCAN. And hurry.

  27. Joe Average puts up an interesting dilemma. “Human longevity has increased since the 19th century when the 50-year term was established, and many countries have extended the term of copyright protection to reflect the fact that people now live longer. For example, European countries provide for a minimum term of 70 years following the death of the author.” Can some please tell me how this relates to the extending to 70 years PAST DEATH is related to humans living longer, other than the fact that the inheriting rights holder (assuming the rights ever belonged to the author) lives longer…

    I can see some purpose behind making it until the death of the author or, say, 25 years, whichever comes later (even if I don’t necessarily agree with the length of time), but to extend it for the vulture corporations which buy up the rights from the estate of the author, assuming the author still owned it at death????

  28. I am afraid you are wrong Anon-K. Copy right law has been extended every time the copy right for a Disney property has been about to expire.

  29. Joe Average says:

    Copyright Extension
    While extending copyright has benefited Disney, it should be pointed out that the last time copyright was extended in 1998 was thanks to Sonny Bono. Sure Sonny Bono, as an entertainer, had a vested interest in extending copyright but it was because of his ties to Scientology that it starts to make a little more sense.

    What organization was first to use the “notice & takedown” style of copyright protection via the DMCA? The Church of Scientology. Hollywood and the Scientologists are to be blamed for the dreadful extensions to copyright, effectively starving out the public domain, which acts as a form of competition to the rights holders. Those large multi-national corporations that would rather have the public purchasing their wares and intellectual property than focusing on our shared cultural heritage. For free.

    You can understand why the public domain had to stop growing.

  30. Laurel L. Russwurm says:

    doing my bit for transparency
    If anyone is interested I posted the SOCAN submission in html in my blog for people who hate PDFs.

  31. @jv
    Unwittingly, you just provide my point. The SOCAN submission Joe Average pointed to indicates that the copyright extension was needed because the people are living longer. The problem is that Walt is dead, and has been since ’66. The properties that he had are being extended, not for the benefit of Walt, but for the benefit of a corporation. Now, if a corporation had a natural lifespan… (how long has the Hudson’s Bay Company been around 🙂

    My point was that the increasing extension of copyright terms past the death of the author has nothing to do with increasing life spans… it is about protection for companies such as Disney which own the rights for an ever increasing time on something that they did 60+ years ago. Add to this that Disney in particular benefits from works being in the public domain; they use them as the basis for animated movies (“Aladdin” and “The Littlest Mermaid” come to mind).

  32. Citizen Joe
    Typical political approach… same as everything else politicians try to change they think they have the right to speak for all Canadians even if a minority have put them there to begin with. They are a pathetic vocation anymore and they themselves should be outlawed from changing anything without the only true public forum… the national referendum.

  33. Posted!

    Contacting them is the correct procedure. “The Berne Crisis” is up:)

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    Memorial December 12, 2009 and Celebration December 13, 2009.

  35. taxing buskers and the silent songwriters
    socan has been ripping off buskers for years. the songwriters have gone along with the cash grab. socan collects about twenty five thousand a year from toronto transt for the busker spots. the result was the busker lost almost half their spots. if you look at schedule ten which they cali gives them this power it is very unclear. they refuse to pay the musicians for the performance of their copywrit songs for the same locations. they are not protecting songwriters but they are protecting the big music companies. if they wanted to protect musicians they would make the origional copywrite on creative material untransferable at law. then it could only be leased, but then the centuries of ripping off musicians would end and so would the music industries control of the process.

    hundreds of buskers have lost at least ten thousand a year income to collect the tewnty five thousand. are there no socam member with a conscience?

  36. what are SOCAN’s rights in regards to restaurants and bars, and why do they charge based on what a venue pays an artist or multiple artists throughout the year for live concerts that go through promoters or not?

  37. Kerazy Steve says:

    Copywrite terms, death, and my chair.
    Leaving all the ‘big companies and disney are evil’ stuff aside, I’m not sure i understand all the derision toward extending copywrite terms. Pretty sure Canada is the only western country left with only a 50 year term instead of say, 70 for example. Similarly, i’m not sure why it is that people expect that after a content creators death, the ‘public’ should get to own his work instead of his estate. In general, when a person creates something, it’s theirs. Period. Why is this different?
    If I make a _____, whatever, let’s say its a chair. Well, it’s -my- chair. Unless i chose to sell that chair to someone, then i own it. You want to make a copy of my awesome chair to sit in anytime you want for the rest of your life? Its going to cost one whole dollar… but that’s up to me. Its -my- chair, I own it… Not for 50 years, not for 70 years… forever. Once i pass on, that chair (and -everything- else i made and own) is a part of my estate. Why should artistic works be any different simply because we have the means to duplicate/distribute them more easily??

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