The Canadian Music Industry on C-32: A House Divided

Musician Carole Pope has an op-ed in the Globe and Mail today calling on the government to reform Bill C-32 by extending the private copying to MP3 players.  That approach was derided by both Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement as the iTax last spring and Clement tweeted a response today.  Regardless of your view on the levy, the op-ed highlights just how divided the music industry in Canada is on Bill C-32.  While sites like the CRIA-backed Balanced Copyright for Canada seek to project an image of strong support for the bill, the reality is that the Canadian music industry is deeply divided on many aspects of the proposed legislation.  In fact, in recent weeks it has turned increasingly critical, touting the need to pass the bill, but simultaneously offering mounting criticism of its provisions.

For example, the uneditable letter now being used by the Balanced Copyright for Canada site tells MPs and Senators that “unfortunately Bill C-32 falls short of meeting the government’s stated intentions. The core message, ‘thou shalt not steal’ is diluted by such a bewildering array of exceptions that if anything the situation for creators will grow worse.” This represents a significant change from earlier letters that did not include such criticisms.  In fact, the initial BCFC consumer letter stated:

I believe the Copyright Act amendments proposed in Bill C-32 do a good job of balancing the right of artists and creators to benefit financially from their work, and the ability of consumers like me to make copies for non-commercial use and personal enjoyment. If Bill C-32 passes, it will give me the peace of mind of knowing that when I take music I’ve purchased and downloaded online, and copy it to my player, it’s legal. There will be no doubt in my mind that the PVR copy of a movie or the episode of my favourite TV show that I’ve made for later viewing doesn’t infringe copyright. And, I will know that my favourite singers, musicians, and film makers have been financially and fairly compensated for their work and creativity.

The new criticisms from the BCFC are just the tip of the iceberg:

Organization C-32 Public Comments
Canadian Recording Industry Association Strong support for the introduction of the bill.  Criticisms of the statutory damages provisions.
Canadian Independent Music Association Strong support for the introduction of the bill.  Criticisms of format shifting provisions.  Say the bill “pales in comparison to the British example” [which includes three strikes].
IFPI Welcome introduction of the bill but say changes are needed, arguing “it simply does not go far enough to protect creators and producers in the digital environment.”
Canadian Council of Music Industry Association Strong support for the bill.  Chair critical of format shifting and user generated content exceptions.
Songwriters Association of Canada Rejects C-32’s digital lock support as a meaningful way to support musicians and songwriters.  Calls for legalized peer-to-peer file sharing together with optional monthly licencing fee.
Canadian Music Creators Coalition Disappointed with C-32. Criticizes DRM restrictions on format and time shifting and failure to identify alternative means of compensation.
SOCAN Support for introduction of the bill.  Criticizes format shifting provisions in the bill.
ACTRA Very critical of C-32.  Call it a “blow to artists”.
Canadian Private Copying Collective Very critical of C-32.  Say the bill “fails Canadian artists.”
Canadian Music Publishers Association Critical of the bill.  Say it falls well short of striking a balance and is a direct attack on compensation.  Criticizes new exceptions, including for parody and satire.
SODRAC Critical of the bill.  Say balance is “completely absent.”

There are undoubtedly more criticisms coming on issues such as ISP liability. The criticisms are notable since they suggest that the bill is in for a rough ride once it gets to committee and confirm that many within the Canadian music industry are unhappy with the proposed legislation. I would take issue with many of the criticisms given they tend to argue against some reasonable exceptions in C-32, but it is worth noting that while BCFC supporters (and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore) are often quick to label critics as anti-copyright, many of the those critics are actually more supportive of the bill than those within the music industry.


  1. Canadian artists
    Carole Pope: “Since I began performing in the mid-1970s, Canada has always valued its artists.”

    Sure Canada does. I have nearby Amanda Martinez album “Amor” (yes I do legally buy my music) and it has imprinted the logos of “The Canada Council for Arts” and a Canada gov. logo, and the text “We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada…”. This is taxpayer money spent to help artists to record their debut albums, and I think it is money well spent. Just to give the example of Lhasa de Sella – who benefited from the same help and left a formidable heritage to all us Canadians and the whole world. And I have many Canadian albums bearing these logos.

    If Mr. Moore wants more money from me to do the same in the future, I’m all for it. But if he wants more money from me to support stupid DRM schemes through police and justice, my answer is no. I have no use for them.


  2. Nice table…
    …but I’d love to see our political parties included there too.


  3. Michael,

    I’m just not sure who you are trying to convince anymore. Surely, everyone can see through your muddy-the-water, divide-and-conquer strategies by now.

    What? Artists have a range of opinions on many of the details of digital copyright reform? You mean a whole bunch of creative individuals thinking and speaking for themselves might say different things from time to time?

    I find the range of discussion on the creator side refreshingly complex. Far more interesting than the standard “consumers are your customers,” “the law shouldn’t protect your obsolete business model” talk that goes on – endlessly – over here.

    And as divided as the musical house may seem to you, I hear one thing over and over again – creators need to be protected.

  4. Heh
    Count on Degen to get hung up on the article title. HA!

    “A house divided” maybe the state of affairs, but not Michael’s point. Learn to read please.

  5. @Degan
    About the only people I see on the “divide and conquer” are the people who ware for the bill and don’t want to have any sort of discussion about what the problems are for either the creators or the consumers, or deem any sort of discussion that doesn’t agree with their own (narrow) point of view and wrong and worthless without actually really backing it up with anything.

  6. “And as divided as the musical house may seem to you, I hear one thing over and over again – creators need to be protected”

    As a former member of the Canadian music industry I don’t hear this coming from creators at all. They are more concerned about getting paid for the sharing of music rather than being protected from their fans and consumers.

    Another thing I have heard a lot lately is the disappointment by the industry as a whole, and damage this industry has caused towards their careers in the past 10 years globally. A brewing divided house is also fed up with organizations who claim to speak on behalf of creators, when creators themselves are shut out of any democratic processes by contract.

    Many creators within this industry are basing their own personal opinions on research they do on their own time on both sides of this debate. They are no longer basing their opinions on the subject of copyright on what the “industry” tells them to support.

    The musical house has been very well divided since Mr. Henderson’s group tried to bring in law suits on fans in Canada about 8 or 9 years ago. The divide has grown substantially over the past 2 years even within those that are with member CRIA labels.

  7. I hope this isn’t too complex for you Degen …
    “I find the range of discussion on the creator side refreshingly complex. Far more interesting than the standard “consumers are your customers,” “the law shouldn’t protect your obsolete business model” talk that goes on – endlessly – over here.”

    I won’t lecture you on occam’s razor but for some added complexity read on …

    On the topic of the music industry, this article talks about how the effects of market saturation of the LP album and the 1st oil crisis recession had similar economic/loss patterns to today [CD album saturation, 2nd oil crisis].

    The same article states that the global music sales loss in 2008 was 8.3%. A separate article (of which I have to find again, I will post it when I do) does a deeper analysis of the causes of the industry losses and concluded than copyright infringement [aka ‘piracy’] account for 20% of those losses.

    The other 80% was due to changing technology, market saturation, competition from other entertainment sources (video games, social networking, you-tube, “1000” TV channels etc.), rise of the single and decline of the album, and finally the worldwide financial crisis.

    You will notice that in the same time period movie studios were recording RECORD profits. Although you wouldn’t know it by the constant crying of huge ‘losses’ due to piracy. Movies more so than music are a escapism form of entertainment that prospers in harder financial times. Just to clarify, profits are UP, in a RECESSION, and the studios are expecting that they are still loosing huge potential sales? Yeah .. right, whatever keeps you up at night.

    Now for some math 20% of 8.6% = 1.72% financial losses in the music industry due to piracy in 2008.

    1.72%? Jeepers, that sure is a huge amount! I wonder how much money was spent on legal and ‘educational’ campaigns that were both ineffective and massively detrimental to the relationships between artists and their audiences. I bet it might have been more than the 1.72% that was lost.

    Artists and creators would do well to rethink their relationships with their traditional contractors and consider adopting more customer friendly methods of distribution. Your fans WANT to connect with you, social networking, direct internet sales, live performances are just some of the ways to accomplish that.

    Again, think, innovate, create. Don’t hand over 85% of your pay to the labels, no need anymore. Technology can be your friend, instead of the ‘demon’ the labels make it out to be. People have new expectations of you, from you. The Labels know they will have little part to play in this. Are they fighting for you or possibly for themselves? Consider.

  8. Edgar J Twilligar says:

    But Moore stated that anyone who is opposed to C-32 are “those people who don’t believe in copyright reform at all.”

    Well, well, well; CRIA, Balanced Copyright for Canada and CCMIA (among others) have now criticized this Bill. So, according to the Honourable Minister of Canadian Hertiage, these groups must be “dressing up copyright” and “must be confronted whereever they speak”.

    CRIA, CCMIA, CMPA are “anti-copyright” now!?! Hell hath frozen over!

  9. Logic .. the key to complexity.
    This was pulled from the SODRAC letter linked above, interestingly I was not able to cut and paste from the PDF and had to type it out, isn’t DRM wonderful?

    “As regards ISPs, the proposed requirements in Bill C-32 are therefore insufficient, ISPs derive significant benefits from revenues generated by the cultural content transmitted via their networks”

    Okay, lets apply some ‘complex’ logic shall we?

    1) ISP income comes from one main source, customer subscriptions. A Internet connection is such a essential tool in peoples lives today that the number of customers that would be lost if there were no ‘cultural content’ transmitted over their networks would be negigible. So no revenue loss/gain there.

    2) The ISP provides the information ‘superhighway’ for data. Do municipalities pay any retailer that complains if infringed goods travel over their asfault?

    3) ISPs neither desire or promote high data usage on their networksand those caps are getting lower [just in time for Netflix Canada 0_o], but another marginal source of income for ISPs are charges for going over a monthly data cap. At anywhere from $1 to $10 a gigabyte it would cost more to download a HD movie than to buy the Blu-ray. Not many people are willing to do that. No big revenuse stream there either.

    This is just more of the self-important nonsense that the ‘creator side’ likes to delude themselves with.

    On the topic of ‘creators’ that Mr. Degen references I notice in the submissions above I find it both amusing and revealing that the majority of submitters in support of DRM/Digital-locks are from industry, while the ACTUAL creators [Songwriters Association of Canada/Canadian Music Creators Coalition] are opposed.

    I think we can easily see whose bread is buttering whoms. It’s really quite amazing what simple truths come out of complex data 😉

  10. ISP Liability
    This is something I just don’t get. How can an ISP be held liable for anything? They are just providing a service conduit much like a cable or telephone company and are often run by the very same cable and telephone providors. This is much different than a specialized service on the Internet such as Pirate Bay or the original Napster. These services are specially designed to enable sharing. I still consider it aruable as to whether file sharing sites should hold any liability, but they’re much easier prey than individual file sharers and shutting down a site produces much less negetive press than suing an individual user.

    If VCRs were illegal, it would comparable to holding a cable company liable for someone using a VCR to record a shoe. Can a telephone company be held liable for people making crank phone calls? How about making them legally responsible for all those stupid call center and telemarketer calls I get? Rediculous, right?!?!?!? ISPs CANNOT be held responsible for how their subscibers use their service. Why? When you sign up for an ISP service you generally sign service agreement agreeing to not do anything illegal or untoward. Also, in part, in Canada, it is illegal for ANYONE, including ISPs, banks and government agencies (Without a court issued warrant), to spy on encrypted traffic. This will remain so after C-32 as it would likely require changes to the “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” as well as “FOIP – Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy” to become legal. Lobby groups such as bank and insurance groups, much more powerful that those of the **AA’s, would oppose any such changes. Just because someone is using up a lot of bandwidth on P2P (Which is about all an ISP can legally track on an encrypted connection) does not mean they’re doing something illegal. Many organizations use P2P for legitimate purposes. Linux is a prime example.

  11. Ninja’d by Crockett

  12. …correction
    “If VCRs were illegal, it would comparable to holding a cable company liable for someone using a VCR to record a show.”

    NOT, “Shoe” LOL

  13. @Degen
    “What? Artists have a range of opinions on many of the details of digital copyright reform?”


    “You mean a whole bunch of creative individuals thinking and speaking for themselves might say different things from time to time?”

    Yes. Are you trying to make a point? Michael is kindly summarizing the factual state of affairs regarding this bill. If you think he is slanting things in this article then say so and explain why. Otherwise, please quit wasting the life of my scroll wheel.

  14. Breaking news – C-32 not needed anymore
    No need for C-32. US will just shut down any computer:

    I can see some lucrative racketeering.


  15. Additional revenue stream
    Here is our rootkit that you can license for $99/year:

    and if you don’t install it we will report your IP as non-compliant and your computer will be shutdown.

    The folks from CRIA, can you comment on this? It’s coming from your mothership RIAA? Is this what you want to implement in Canada too? Of course you’ll need a bilingual rootkit, so make it $149 to compensate for translation costs?


  16. Scary stuff Nap!!! On top of this, it’s yet another attempt to kill Linux as a consumer level OS.

  17. The RIAA would have us turned in to a police state. I say be careful what you ask for. Such blatant infringements of privacy and rights that if successful can do no good but turn everything in to a police state. When given such power to invade one’s privacy it’s not a far stretch to paranoia, false accusations, dictatorship…police state. In 1887 Lord Acton made a state statement in reference to the totalitarian control held by the Pope and kings.

    “I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    We as a civilization have spent millennia climbing out from the totalitarian control of ruthless kings, dictators and radical religious leaders. Now, we have another group vying for that kind of control. This time in an Orwellian “big brother is watching” sort of way and on a global level. It cannot be allowed to happen.

  18. Rev Pat Martin, Esq. says:

    False Markets
    Bill C-32, ACTA or some other new fang-dangled US law with a clever pro-IP acronym, these attempts are all inherently flawed as they are reactive pieces of legislation. By the time they’re on the books script kiddies, torrent freaks, pimple faced teens and soccer moms alike are all using a new technology that is ahead of these laws.

    When, if ever, are these supposed artists and creators going to stop lobbying governments to enact laws that attempt to monetize their inferior, mediocre talents? Lily Allen, Maia Davis and Randy Bachman, are you getting this? Odd, I haven’t heard much whining from Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber, Ke$ha or the myriad of other immensely popular acts of today that bit torrent is preventing them from making rent this month or cyber lockers are eating away at their gas money? Usher isn’t calling for an iPod tax and Drake isn’t lobbying Minister Moore for an update to The Copyright Act. For those confused artists beating down a path to Moore’s office or getting media briefings from CRIA, might I suggest a little more time focusing on creating consumable intellectual properties and a little less time with your lawyer or MP or writing Op-Eds?

    Just ask the likes of Katy Perry, unless of course she is too busy performing concerts, making network TV appearances, updating her MySpace page or promoting her brand. You know, the things that artists do to make money now a days…..or do you?

  19. walled gardens
    exclusive content areas and the personal-service era.

    they DON’T work. An artist that relies on legislation to protect their interests is already dead.

    mickysoft had 4 illegal copies for every legal one to corner their market. Entertainers will have to follow suit.

    ARTISTS without media-mongol skills are gonna hav’ta stay crafty.
    a call-up in the NHL gets 50,000 a game.That’s Booker prize level, right?


  20. A very accurate accretion made by Carole Pope
    “we also feared such a bill would try to create a fake divide between creators and users. We worried that, rather than put forward a balanced approach, the government would try to pit musicians against fans in order to score political points. And that’s just what it has done with Bill C-32.”
    Yes, the damage is being done

  21. More US news,2817,2369402,00.asp

    I can see how someone could post here some copyrighted material (e.g. music lyrics) then RIAA takes the site down.

    This should be a signal to Europe and Asia to set up their own DNS servers.

    The funny thing is that it’s the same US that are pointing fingers at China for “censoring the internet”. Bwahahahaha. Look who’s talking….


  22. The Mad Hatter says:

    Creators Need to be Protected
    Degen is right. Creators need to be protected. From the ‘industry’.

    Seriously. I’ve been doing research on ‘Corporate Copyright Scofflaws’ and the stories I’m digging up are terrifying. All too often artists are being ripped off, most commonly by the record labels, but also by the MPAA member companies.

    Since Bill C-32 doesn’t address this issue, it won’t do anything to help the artists.


  23. “about front”

  24. Creators Need to be Protected
    @Mad Hatter: “Degen is right. Creators need to be protected. From the ‘industry’.”

    True. Check MPAA and RIAA (CRIA’s mothership) accounting:



    Very creative.


  25. @Degen

    Yup, now even those ‘anti-piracy’ crusaders Metallica are giving their songs away for free and crowing about how great direct to consumer profits can be!

    Truly, there are pools of lava & brimstone freezing over at this very moment.

  26. Honestly guys, know who you’re talking to. I released my novel for free over the internet two years ago. All your lectures about obsolete business models are obsolete themselves.

    This is, and has always been, about the right of artists to make their own choices. I don’t care what choices they make; I just want them to have the right.

    Now, back to your conspiracy theories about the corporate entertainment cartels and police states. Feel free to go as far in that direction as you like. Dr. Geist will almost certainly not dissuade or correct you.

  27. @Degen
    “Honestly guys, know who you’re talking to. I released my novel for free over the internet two years ago. All your lectures about obsolete business models are obsolete themselves.”

    I did know that. You, one author, are forward thinking and I commend you for that, but such things need not be free to be forward thinking. Even if you charged, that would be fine with that. Big media companies have NOT be forward thinking…backward thinking if anything, fighting technology every step of the way.

    Where I start having problems is when you, as a copyright owner, decides to invalidate, disable or automatically erase something I purchased. One good example is the Kindle fiasco regarding the Orwell book 1984. Strangely appropriate selection though. A police state is, perhaps, a bit of an overexageration on my part, as I, self admittedly, am apt to do, but “Big Brother IS Watching”.

    I also have issues when you say I don’t have the right to protect my investment. i.e. Making backups of downloaded content incase a primary disk drive fails, or copies of DVDs so my kids (Age 2 and 5) don’t scratch the originals. Copying purchased content to an MP3 player is another perfectly reasonable expectation. Within my own house, I should have unlimited “PRIVATE” use of any book, eBook, music or movie I legally purchase and I should be able to convert, play and/or read such things on any device I want. If I were to start selling illegal copies, you’re more than welcome to come and slap the cuffs on yourself.

    Aside from the sheer cost, HDCP DRM limitations are one of the reasons BluRay movies have been very slow to be adopted. Many people I know are afraid of getting locked out of content they purchase or being forced to purchase upgrades for content they already own.

  28. @IamME: “A police state is, perhaps, a bit of an overexageration on my part, as I, self admittedly, am apt to do, but “Big Brother IS Watching”.”

    If you’re not paranoid it doesn’t mean they’re not after you. Here’s what the French HADOPI is planning:

    For the non-bilingual Canucks, here’s the short version: they plan to rootkit all their citizens computers.


  29. IamMe,

    Not being contrarian; just trying to be factual. Please don’t reference the Kindle Nineteen Eighty-Four removal episode without reference to the complete facts. They did not have the rights to sell that e-book. They removed it in order to respect the rightsowner. The greater scandal, IMO, is that they were selling a work they had no rights to — an all too common practice in the Internet age. The removal “scandal” was more a matter of PR. If they’d explained themselves ahead of time, who would have complained? They returned all the money from the illicit sales; their mistake was removing prior to explaining. Their larger mistake was selling without the right to do so.

    The very fact that we have access to the real, complex history of this event speaks against the potential for actual police state interventions in this day and age. Not saying it’s not possible; just saying that’s not what happened in this case.

  30. John…we agree…a momentus occassion. 😉 Yes, in the case of Nineteen Eighty-Four, I don’t disagree with what they did because they WERE in the wrong…like you say, it could have been handled better. Where they were selling without the right, I tend to be an optimist and like to think this was not intentional on their part.

    Nap, in regard to the HADOPI case, are they planning to rootkit at the hardware level? How do they plan to force it? You can easily remove even the most invasive rootkit by reinstalling the OS and formatting the drive. Short of doing hardware, the only way they could really force it would be to have the rootkit some how be a mandatory part of the Internet connection…it might connect through some proxy server. Even in this case if you used a firewall (Which you can build for less than $300 these days) with the rootkit installed and had all your other deviced attached to the Internet through the firewall it would be easy to avoid being tracked. In fact, this is exactly what I would do…just on principle…since I buy all my software these days anyway. It would cause a big boom in hardware sales as everyone runs out to buy hardware to build a firewall. How does this affect Linux, Apple…or even mobile devices? Rootkits are generally only applicable under Windoze. In short, I think this entire approach is doomed to fail and, like most other appoaches, only harms those who are already trying to be legitemate.

    I don’t agree with such approaches since they assume EVERYONE is a criminal with a guilty until proven inocent standpoint. You’re punishing the entire population for the activities of less than. Granted in a study I read in the UK version of the Times the software piracy rate in France, at 42%, much higher than that of the UK and Germany which hovered in the 27% range.

    One paragraph that stands out for is:

    “CeriseClub, a French internet company, said that illegal file sharing was a “national sport”. Noting that Gallic copyright legislation was among the most repressive in the world — it includes a law enabling authorities to suspend internet access for illegal downloading — it added: “The French take a sly pleasure in getting round all the systems put in place, and it’s very difficult to persuade them to do otherwise.””

    Governments and media giants should take this to heart. If someone wants something bad enough and really doesn’t want to get caught…they will find a way. If the rootkit thing is pushed through how long do you figure it will take them to find a way around it? Hours? Days? My money is on within a matter of hours. In fact, I’d be willing to bet many are already set up to handle it.

    When 2K came out with the game Bioshock, it arguably had most restrictive TMP (Probably still to this day) in the business and they touted it was unbreakable. 23 hours after the official release of the game, a fully working cracked version appeared on the Internet. I have no solid stats, but I’d bet that TPM alone cost them millions of dollars in lost revenue on what otherwise was a fantastic game. No one wanted to buy it and even most of those I know who did buy it still ended up downloading the cracked version…because it worked better. The retail TPM version was plaqued with all kinds of issues related to the TPM. The lesson here, at least in the gaming industry, is that if you’re THAT concerned about piracy, don’t release games on the PC. Someone, somewhere, will crack it. Hackers and crackers will always be way ahead of the technology curve and they KNOW how not to get caught. It’s an unfortunate fact of life in the software industry.

  31. rootkit
    @IanMe: “Nap, in regard to the HADOPI case, are they planning to rootkit at the hardware level? How do they plan to force it?”

    By extortion/racketeering. The plan is that if you “voluntarily” install it, you will be declared “compliant” and “exempt” from their lawsuits (i.e. you get on a whitelist).


  32. RE: Rootkit
    “By extortion/racketeering. The plan is that if you “voluntarily” install it, you will be declared “compliant” and “exempt” from their lawsuits (i.e. you get on a whitelist).”

    Ahhhh, so you build the afore mentioned Firewall, get on the whitelist and continue on your merry way. 🙂

  33. @IanMe: “Ahhhh, so you build the afore mentioned Firewall, get on the whitelist and continue on your merry way. 🙂 ”

    Except that now they control your computer and can block any content for any reason.

    Remember the thread about censorship/suppressing dissent?


  34. Yes, they can block any content, for any reason…only on the firewall machine and only if they know what it is. If you’re using strong encryption, they can’t easily block it…unless you’re in China of course, where I believe it’s illegal to use encryption. Like I say I don’t have much that would be considered illegal anymore and anything I do have would be at least 7 or 8 years old, or older, and probably not found by the rootkit but I’ll be damned if I let them track me. Even on a bare-bones machine, I would use this setup just out of principle.

  35. @IanME: I’m actually not concerned by them blocking or finding “illegal” stuff on my computers. I’m concerned about them peeking through my personal or business files, some of which may be classified material.

    This is racketeering of the most despicable flavor. “You let us spy on you or we’ll put you on the list of persons to be randomly sued”.