Conferences / News / Video

Why Copyright Reform Is Not the Cure for What Ails the Music Industry

This weekend, I was pleased to deliver a keynote address at the Nova Scotia Music Week conference. While groups like CRIA (Music Canada) position themselves as industry-wide representatives, discussions with many in the industry in Nova Scotia revealed considerable disagreement. My talk – Why Copyright Reform Is Not the Cure for What Ails the Music Industry  – focused on CRIA’s conventional talking points and assessed Bill C-11 provisions on statutory damages, ISP liability, the enabler provision, and digital locks. See this post for links to the supporting documents, additional articles and sources on each issue.


  1. It’s a Ruse
    The music industry has already admitted that it’s a ruse. It knows that unofficial copies of its music isn’t killing it. But it is using this as an excuse to gain control over the internet. It wants laws like the DMCA that allow it to remove any competition. Telling the music industry how it can improve itself just falls on deaf ears because what it wants are laws that alllow it to create a monopoly without being accountable to anyone.

  2. leecher_scum says:

    It’s the cure for what ails me… just not reform you speak of
    It’s funny, when I read the words “copyright reform”, the first thing I think of is an extremely drastic reduction in copyright terms. 200 years ago 10 years was more than anyone got, and as time has marched on, the speed at which information moves around the globe has increased by many, many orders of magnitude. There is no justification for copyright terms to have increased in the past, or to continue being increased.

    When I read article titles like this one, I have to remind myself that “copyright reform” is actually a complete misnomer not remotely based in reality. I illegitemately downloaded 80 albums in pristine FLAC format over the weekend, and I have no qualms about it whatsoever. /Actual/ copyright reform is a prerequisite for my resumed participation in above-board music retail, and to my eyes, that /would/ be a cure for what ails the music industry.

  3. I really enjoyed this talk –
    thank you for posting it. Would it be possible for you to post a transcript of your notes alongside the video?

  4. @leecher_scum
    “the speed at which information moves around the globe has increased by many, many orders of magnitude”

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. What for me is making the crucial difference is the shake-up in traditional roles of Creator -> Publisher -> Factory -> Distributor -> Consumer. In the Digital, Inter-networked age, consumers can assume any of these roles. But instead of “enabling” legislation, we see more and more restrictive legislation. I call this the Great Copyright Wall. Behind it are a large number of (if not most) 78 rpm records, every 33 1/3 rpm vinyl recording commercially released ever, and everything in every format that came after that. Strange isn’t it, that the more the public is technically capable of doing (create, publish, “manufacture”, distribute…) themselves, the less they are legally allowed to do. Yes you can, but you may not. Everything is copyighted! Hands off! Now THAT will for sure create a warm, positive feeling towards copyrights…
    TPM are just the nail on the coffin: any copyright that might eventually expire “when hell freezes over”, will effectively never enter the public domain because of the digital lock.

    What really ails the music *industry*?
    1. People can spend an “entertainment” dollar only once. The latest music albums compete with DVD/BluRays and video games (both retail as DLC and other in-game purchases) as well as cell phone/data plans. This is all coming out of the same budget.
    2. Bieber. Gaga. Rap. R&B. Notice how all these 80s bands are able to make a comeback?