After several weeks of delays, the Balanced Copyright for Canada site revealed its funding and advisory board late on Tuesday night, hours before the Canada Day holiday. The primary source of funding is not a surprise – as I suggested in my first post on the site – this is a Canadian Recording Industry Association production. As the public questions about the site mounted, the regular response was that this was an effort of "employees, unions, artists and creators" and that the all-Canadian Advisory Board would be announced soon. The fact that the site was really a CRIA attempt to create "grassroots" support for C-32 was not acknowledged.
The composition of the advisory board is interesting. First, of the 13 members, more than half are either record company executives, former record company executives, or lawyers who represent record companies. No surprise given the site's backing, but not exactly the promised "employees, unions, artists and creators." In fact, it is notable that there are very few prominent creators and not many representatives from creator groups outside the music industry such as authors, performers, directors, or artists. In fact, despite an earlier claim that Loreena McKennitt would be on the advisory board, those plans apparently changed.
Why so few creators? Quite simply, CRIA's interests are not closely aligned with many other creator groups. ACTRA and AFM Canada quickly distanced themselves from the effort and most other musicians have been focused on the private copying levy, not digital locks. Moreover, the site briefly hosted a "consumer letter" that fully supported extending fair dealing to education, a move strongly opposed by some copyright collectives and authors' groups.