NDP MP Charlie Angus has publicly called out
the Conservatives on Bill C-32, calling for compromise on the copyright bill. Angus says the bill ignores the needs of consumers and is attack on artists. He indicates the NDP plans to bring forward amendments on artists’ royalties and to develop a more balanced approach to digital locks. The release concludes that “we are bringing forward language and Minister Moore will have to either compromise or face losing the bill. The question is whether the Conservatives are willing to compromise or see this legislation go down to defeat. The ball is in their court.”
I’d be more excited if the NDP were not for extending the levy.
What Angus said is â€œThe New Democrats are firm in our support for consumer protection and artist royalties.â€
I would support levies too if they were viewed as supplemental artist royalties and would go to the artists (not “the industry”).
I am against levies organized as “supplemental revenue streams” for the industry’s executives and shareholders.
“I am against levies organized as “supplemental revenue streams” for the industry’s executives and shareholders.”
Exactly. Has Angus ever addressed this problem?
Hey look at that. Michael Geist calls for “compromise.” And now Charlie Angus calls for “compromise.” Coincidence?
I guess the Angus softballs for Geist didn’t quite make it out of the park at the committee hearings.
Sadly, the NDP has a very poor and inconsistent record of standing up for Canada’s cultural labour force on copyright. I write this as a one-time member of the party who stood for nomination in Etobicoke-Lakeshore.
I’m not sure if Angus has ever even met with the main artist associations and collectives to discuss the issue, and I know I’ve personally extended that invitation a number of times.
I like Charlie Angus, but I’m not at all impressed with how he’s handled the copyright file. Canada’s cultural workers have been suffering economic decline for years, and have been forced into a defensive posture on numerous fronts, forced in fact to justify individual rights the UN considers fundamental. When we appeal to Canada’s “labour” party for support, we hear a lot of recycled rhetoric about the consumer — recycled from the very source of most of our problems.
I invite the NDP to compromise on their own copyright position by remembering their actual constituency and focusing on the workers.
@Degen: “I’m not sure if Angus has ever even met with the main artist associations and collectives to discuss the issue”
You mean like CRIA? Or maybe those that Tony consulted with? (“Hollywood told me…”)
Please be more specific and name those organizations.
“What Angus said is â€œThe New Democrats are firm in our support for consumer protection and artist royalties.â€ ”
Yeah that’s what he said. Reading the press release though, it really sounds like it’s just an extension to the current levy system and less of something that actually makes sense with regards to actually making sure creators are compensated for the things the levy is suppose to compensate them for.
Plus I’m more likely to support increased government support for the Canadian creative industry rather than extra fees on anything.
A slightly longer thesis …
@Chris “Plus I’m more likely to support increased government support for the Canadian creative industry
rather than extra fees on anything.”
Agreed, most of the people I know who care about this issue really are supportive of creators but not so
much the content holders. I would think there are some organizations/individuals who are really working
for the benefit of the creators but there are also a lot of industry players who are much more
interested in the next financial quarterly report for the stockholders and how to squeeze as much life
out of creators in that pursuit.
On the consumer side there are those of us who enjoy music, books, video & art realize that creators are
valuable and need to be paid just like anyone else if we are going to continue enjoying their works.
Then there are those who choose to file share willy nilly that are both immature in their world view and
thoughtless in their actions.
That is four major ‘groups’ that exist in today’s digital media environment, two proactive and two
predatory. In a perfect world it would be the simple solution to get rid of the two latter groups, but
alas a perfect world we do not inhabit.
Solutions are thus hard to come by, but just for fun if I was king of the world what would I do?
1) Support Canadian Atrists and Creators – Sometimes it is hard to define exactly what Canadian culture
is but we do have have innovative and talented people that reflect our views and values. Personally I
think we should be supporting those people to help them succeed. Now there are some who say they should
stand on their own two feet but the economics of the real world, in regards to small players like
Canada, does not quite work that way. Besides, there are a lot of industries that rely on government
regulation and subsidies, just look at the price of dairy in Canada. The USA also heavily subsidizes
it’s farmers. Anyways, Canadian Artists are a national resource and I am OK with offereing them some
direct fiancial support through programs and direct payments to be competative but I am not intersted in
padding Lady Gaga’s well .. anything, with global levies.
A slightly longer thesis part 2 …
2) Discourage Infringement – There is no doubt that copyright infringement does have an impact on artists. The type and degree of that impact is a topic of debate as studies bounce somewhere between devastating and slightly beneficial. There is a lot of rhetoric from both camps as well such as ‘a download = a lost sale’ or ‘I’m just trying before I buy’ both positions are to some degree false and self serving. Where I think things have gone off track is in the remedies that have been put forward. In this regard I am highly critical of such organizations such as the RIAA and other ‘professional representative groups’ who have taken a shock and awe approach to the problem. To continue the metaphor in fighting the ‘insurgents’ they have embittered the ‘civilians’. The insurgents (mindless downloader’s) you will never win over but average media consumer is quite willing to act fairly if they feel they are being treated the same. The ‘war footing’ of the media industry though has pushed the allegiances of many towards the enemy camp. So what is the solution? Well, I think the ‘building bridges and schools’ approach would be more successful. In this regard I would limit TPM to rental/subscription models and offer full fair use rights such as format/time shifting & backups on purchased media. Infringement where the infringer is making a monetary gain would need to be compensated or prosecuted.
A slightly longer thesis part 3 …
3) Protect Consumers – The large amount of infringement that occurs is in part due to mindless greed on some people’s part but for others it is a result of product dissatisfaction and a feeling of being ‘gouged’. The content industry in it’s pursuit of profits would like to monetize as many different streams of media use as possible. They are a business and so that is their obvious purpose and desire. The problem is when cost fixing is brought in the form of government legislation of business models that the public is already rejecting. This creates a skewed and unfair landscape that leads purchasers to feel less ‘guilt’ about their behavior and justification for infringements. It also has the unfortunate and serious side effect of creating a disrespectful attitude towards the very concept of copyright as it is seen as a tool for the elite and of little benefit to the public. So what is the solution? I think there needs to be more accountability to the content industry. In Brazil for instance, it is a criminal offense for industry to limit fair use, how’s that for turning the tables? Both public commercial infringement, and industry abuses must be opposed to enable balanced fairness.
It is not possible to fix all the complex issues of copyright in the digital age in 3 short paragraphs, but I hope thoughts like these, and continued input from all of the players, can help in finding a equitable solution.
Based on past experience, I have a sneaking suspicion that the conservatives would rather lose this bill than compromise on the issue of digital locks. They will then go back to the drawing board, and come up with something new that is even worse… and they’ll keep on doing this crap until such point as they might have a majority government, then they will just pass whatever the goddamn hell they want.
@Crocket: “In Brazil for instance, it is a criminal offense for industry to limit fair use, […]”
Sounds fabulous, lets make C-32 to state that:
1. DRM/TPM technologies that limit fair use are illegal and you are not allowed to sell such products in Canada
2. All other kinds of DRM/TPM technologies are protected by law and it is illegal to break them
Mr Angus’s call for compromise sounds a bit uncompromising. I hope the political bravado and rhetoric do not poison the opportunity.
@Mark: “and they’ll keep on doing this crap until such point as they might have a majority government, then they will just pass whatever the goddamn hell they want. ”
Don’t forget that consumer protection laws are in provincial jurisdiction. Can you imagine a conservative majority in the AssemblÃ©e nationale du QuÃ©bec?
A slightly longer thesis part 4 …
4) Protect Creators – Finally it is not all about protecting the consumers, Artists too need to be treated fairly. One area that needs to be looked at more closely is the contracts the industry forces on creators. If fair uses (shifting/backup NOT sharing) were worked into the initial prices of media then a larger compensation share passed onto the creator would solve two problems at once. Personally I would be happy to pay a slight premium for up front fair use if I knew the remuneration for that was going back to the artist instead of the shareholders. In the case of iTunes and digital music the market, along with the industry clout of Apple, forced the removal of DRM from their products. Unfortunately for the creators, the price point of $0.99 was already set in the minds of the public and I suspect the contracts already were in place. There is still time on other media such as video, books etc. to negotiate a better deal before the inevitable shedding of DRM on those formats as well.
If industry is not willing to go down this road then there are emerging technologies and models that could enable creators to distribute their own works and keep a larger share of the profits. This I think is a real possibility and should be a threat and leverage to creators to leverage a better deal out of the traditional publishers. Personally, I see this model as the future and of great benefit to the well being of artists, but in the least it should be pushing for change to the Artists’ benefit.
“Canada’s cultural workers have been suffering economic decline for years, and have been forced into a defensive posture on numerous fronts, forced in fact to justify individual rights the UN considers fundamental.”
The big question here is, “Why?” The answer is the people have become imbitered by the industry, in particular the music industry. The people have spoken and embraced new technology. If piracy is so bad and so devastating that everyone and their grandmother is downloading music, then why is iTunes doing so well? In February, they surpassed 10,000,000,000 song downloads. Here is a breakdown of the last few years of revenue for iTunes
2006 : $895 million
2007 : $1.20 billion
2008 : $1.59 billion
2009 : $1.80 billion
Napster revenue is in the 100s of million, I can’t find data for anything other than 2008 where revenue was $122,000,000, not unsubstantial.
With all this revenue, is it not obvious that the consumer is heading in a different direction than the industry.
Let’s consider candles and light bulbs. Did candle manufacturers get special protection from the government when Edison invented the light bulb in 1879? Of course not!! Should they have? Of course not!!! Would anyone argue different? Perhaps some, especially those in the candle industry. In any case, they were expected to retool or adapt. This is what’s happening today with music distribution. Most no longer want cumbersome CDs and would rather opt to download it. The industry has been fighting this for so long that it has critically damaged that relationhsip. To make matters worse for the industry, with the Internet, it’s much more difficult to hide things, such as the law suits in the US, which was advertising of the worst kind that travelled at the speed of light to all corners of the world like a bad virus. This is truely a case of the candle and the light bulb where the music industry is the candle maker. Consumers no longer want what they’re selling. The industry will HAVE to adapt or they will DIE!! No matter what anyone says, no matter what laws they pass, this is the harsh reality and they have no one to blame but themselves!! In it’s hayday Napster had 10’s of millions of users, this should have raised HUGE red flags that the music industry was facing an imminent epoch in the way people consume music. Personally I prefer CDs since owning the CD lets me rip it to an MP3 at a quality I deem much higher than that I can download. Then I can simply store the CD.
Someone I work with has a poster on her door. It states, “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on mine.”
Here is an interesting article entitled, “Was suing Napster users the biggest music screw up of all time?”
Look at the top 10 at the bottom of the article…3 of them are related to screw-ups in trying to control the digital environment rather than trying to work with it. It ranks sueing Napster as the biggest screwup of all time in the music industry, even higher than Decca Records not signing The Beatles.
1. Major labels squash Napster
5. The RIAA sues a struggling single mom for digital piracy
9. â€œDigital-rights managementâ€ backfires
I personally don’t think piracy is hurting the movie industry as bad as they let on considering the new Harry Potter made $125.1M in it’s opening weekend alone.
IamME -“I personally don’t think piracy is hurting the movie industry as bad as they let on considering the new Harry Potter made $125.1M in it’s opening weekend alone.”
IamME, have faith it will be shown that the movie lost money in the end, like the last Potter movie…
“IamME, have faith it will be shown that the movie lost money in the end, like the last Potter movie…”
Ah, Hollywood accounting.
Oh, and don’t forget how the Lord of the Rings trilogy “lost” money as well. Luckily, with that, there was an insider leak showing just how badly the numbers were cooked to come up with a loss.
This is the very reason the US is so affraid of WikiLeaks. They’re so corrupt that as this data comes out their reputation is going further and further down the rabbit hole. They’re realizing just how incriminating some of this data is. One in particular that struct me has some disturbing stuff related to the Hillary Clinton and UN security councel. It implicated the US in at least two violation of international treaties and could find them bought up on charges in international courts if the UN decides to persue such action. At the very least Clinton should be fired and the US removed from the UN security councel. I can’t wait to see some of the releases related to ACTA. I think C-32 should be put on hold until we can all see what the US’s “real” agenda was with ACTA…not that I think there will be a great deal surprising there.
Assange (SP??) claims the encrypted data package been delivered to over 100,000 “reliable” sources that will continue discemination if he is caught. I don’t condone what Assange is doing and think it will ultimately cause more harm than good, as some skeletons are better left buried. However, the US has bullied the rest of the world with their “do as I say, not as I do” and “holier than thou” attitudes for so long that it’s almost nice to see them get a little sh@t on their face. Bullies almost always get their’s in the end and this is the US royally “getting it”.
@IanME: “This is the very reason the US is so affraid of WikiLeaks. They’re so corrupt […]”
I love it when they publish every year the list of most corrupt states in the world and they’re never on that list…. And there’s always some small African state making the top… With a GDP that’s less then RIAA/MPAA’s contributions to electoral campaigns… Bwahhaaa…
@IanME: And I just remembered I discussion I had some long time ago with a Russian guy. He was trying to explain me why communist Russia was always topping US in corruption. “Look, in Russia it is illegal to pay money to an official to help you with something; it’s called bribery and is an act of corruption and you could spend the rest of your life in Siberia counting polar bears; in US it’s legal and called lobbying or campaign donation or whatever; so when you count “corruption acts” by each country’s laws, Russia will always top US”.
The NDP seem to be the only party, who are
trying to bring fairness into the bill for
The Liberals are helping combat the restrictive
digital lock provisions, as they currently stand
in the draft, but still aren’t helping enough
with trying to help Canadian consumer’s rights.
hello,everybody,what is your hobby in your spare time? I am fond of
listening to music,different styles,it’s really a kind of enjoying for
me.If we have same hobbies,I hope one day we can be friends.do you?
@Please cover this
This is hardly news. There have been reports over the years about the US pushing in trade talks with other countries about implementing DMCA style copyright laws as a condition of the treaty.
In Canada it depends on who you give the money to.
Give it to a public servant and its bribery.
Give it to a politician and its bribery.
Give it to a political party, and you can get a tax receipt for it. And at a heck of a rate. A $1000 donation gives you a $558.33 federal tax credit; the same $1000 donation to a registered charity, it is only good for a $262 tax credit (in both cases I’ve only considered the federal taxes).
@Anon-K: “Give it to a political party, and you can get a tax receipt for it.”
Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but we have a $5000 cap on what corporations can “donate”?
Compare to US, no caps and corporations have “civic rights” like you and me. Soon they’ll be voting too.