Canadian Music Industry Wants Its Own Lawful Access: Subscriber Disclosure Without a Court Order

Last week I wrote about the astonishing demands of the Canadian music industry as it seeks a massive overhaul of Bill C-11, the copyright reform bill. The Canadian Independent Music Association is seeking changes to the enabler provision that would create liability risk for social networking sites, search engines, blogging platforms, video sites, and many other websites featuring third party contributions. If that were not enough, it is also calling for a new iPod tax, an extension in the term of copyright, a removal of protections for user generated content, parody, and satire, as well as an increase in statutory damage awards.

CIMA and ADISQ, which represents the Quebec music industry, appeared before the C-11 committee last week and the demands only seemed to increase.  For example, ADISQ is asking the government to add a requirement for Internet providers to disclose customer name and address information to copyright owners without court oversight. Conservative MP Paul Calandra rightly noted the obvious parallels to Bill C-30, where the government wants similar disclosures to law enforcement. In this case, however, ADISQ wants the information disclosed to a private party based on nothing more than an allegation of infringement. Calandra’s comments suggest that the government recognizes the dangers of such an approach.

The proposed lack of due process is not limited to the disclosure of subscriber information. During its appearance, CIMA said it wanted a takedown system without any due process.

Mike Lake, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, took the organization to task for the proposal. In response to Lake’s concerns, CIMA replied:

Don’t get us wrong there. We believe that there should be some due process. What we don’t believe is that it’s practical to expect.

In other words, CIMA believes in due process, but doesn’t think Canadians should expect any.

As for where proposed mandatory disclosure of subscriber information in copyright claims and content takedowns might lead, the industry also wants unlimited damage awards for individuals. When asked for a figure, CIMA responded:

Quite frankly, we’d rather see no limit on statutory damages, but in the spirit of the act, I don’t think, as an association, we’ve talked about a specific ceiling. We were hoping to engage in more discussions on that with folks on your side of the table to talk about what is an appropriate level, if it is deemed that there should in fact be a level.

The comments bring to mind assurances from movie industry representatives last year that there no plans to file lawsuits against individuals, only to launch dozens of lawsuits against individuals over the alleged downloading of the Hurt Locker movie a few months later. The Bill C-11 hearings continue this afternoon.


  1. I was wondering …
    … when those pushing for C-11 would start drawing from the ideas of C-30.

    Guilty until proven innocent.

    They damned near want the penalty to allegedly illegally downloading a movie to be worse than for first degree murder.

    Yup, Stevie better build a LOT more jails & prisons. With the exception of these racketeers, nobody else will be on the outside.

  2. If the government can’t get the same rules passed into law for law enforcement due to public outcry, what makes these people think that they’ll be allowed to pass for private companies? It seriously makes me question the intelligence of the people proposing these things (it also makes me think that they are outdated and should be left to die if that’s their fate).

  3. nice to know…
    our furher is setting the bar for how we relate to one another. complete disclosure, no rights, no due process, the idea alone will have you arrested and waiting for the leniency – ooops sorry minimum sentence – of the state… i really like Van Halen’s 1984…

  4. Hooray for Hollywood says:

    Once upon a time, long before CIRPA became CIMA, it was a useful and reasonable organization that actually provided an independent and informed voice for the Canadian indie music business. Those days are long gone.

  5. Simple …
    Lobbyists = big $$$. Stevie listens to big $$$.

    Unless the public outcry is so great, public is ignored, and big business is catered to exclusively.

    The copyright holders and recording industries are doing their damnest to hang on to a dying business model.

    Why do you think C-30 was introduced when it was? The timing was right to be the smokescreen for C-11. They’re ramming consultation through on C-11 right now, whilst everyone’s attention is on C-30. The reverse will then come true. We’ll end up with both draconian bills becoming laws, whether we like it or not.

    It’s the shell game, and we’re the losers.

  6. From the demands of the music industry, I guess the best thing we, as consumers, can do is to go only to live performances, listen only to news radio, and wait until the musician has been dead a hundred years to start buying, playing and singing their material.

  7. Ms
    Nothing would surprise me about Canada’s Music Business wanting access to more bounty based on bogus bureaucracy. Time to make it more widely understood that the majority of musicians never collect any $ collected on their behalf. this sector of the economy is truly a Bolshevik marvel where we all give up our individual rights to the appointed leader who represents our interests for us, and gets paid coming and going.

  8. Harptards beware
    Up a long ladder and down a short rope.
    For Harper, the assassin of freedom and hope.
    The voters in Canada must have been plastered.
    To give a majority to this fascist bastard.
    For Internet freedom a general strike.
    Might send a message to him and his Conservative 4th Reich.
    We pray for the day, when our children we tell
    That they are where they belong, rotting in hell.

  9. fair open interent
    this is not nazi germany

  10. The only solution I can see is to only buy music produced independently, direct from the creator. Since most of the concerts I attend have “product” available, and the artists I choose wouldn’t know from digital locks, I can effectively circumvent the traditional music industry and its arcane business model.

    Now, if only there was a good way to do this for books and films.

  11. What the hell are they thinking?
    They really don’t want us to have any rights whatsoever.

    I want to start a protest against these potential changes, or a petition anything that would get people’s attention and make them aware that our rights are at stake

  12. old thread
    In case anyone is be interested, I have been having a back-and-forth in the comment section of an old post on C-30 that has fallen off the front page. I think it relates to this.

  13. The problem with an “iPod tax”, as it were, is that it essentially amounts to taxing people for doing something that doesn’t actually *COST* society anything. At all… The *ONLY* problem that can remotely be argued to surface by permitting unrestricted private copying is when people abuse it by engaging in the privilege, and then end up actually ignoring the notion of “private” at their own convenience. Of course, bearing in mind that this is copyright infringement and illegal, this otherwise “private copying” tax is inevitably perceived as a “it’s okay to break the law tax”.

    If you simply decriminalize the action, however, you undermine the entire concept of copyright, which is a social contract agreement between society and the rights holder that the rights holder retains exclusive perogative to decide who may legally copy the work, for its duration. The incentive that the public has to respect this is so that the creator is encouraged to produce additional works for them, further enriching society, and society promised that the works will, after a finite amount of time, become public domain so that, again, society can benefit from the free and open distribution of them. In fact, it is *ONLY* because such continuous creation and distribution of artistic works was seen as beneficial for society that copyright was invented in the first place! It was an attempt to strike a balance, where both the creator and society could benefit, enjoying an almost symbiotic relationship.

    But truthfully, there is absolutely *NO* reason within the copyright framework that copyright holders should receive compensation for private copying, since that does not actually have any net impact on the exclusivity they possess to determine who may make a copy, since as long as a person is making a copy from a legitimate copy of the work (such as a CD they bought in a music store), and the copy is genuinely for private use of that person, then they already actually *HAVE* a copy of the work – and the net impact on the rights holder’s exclusivity is not actually affected by the copying. Copyright, literally being the “right to copy”, or more specifically, the right to determine who else may make a copy, simply doesn’t have any bearing on private copying, unless the work they are copying from is already infringing… and it stands to reason that copying from an infringing work should, itself, reasonably be considered copyright infringement as well (so people who copy materials private thus would inherently be doing so at their own risk, from a legal standpoint).

    Finally, it is worth noting that the actual amount of private copying that happens is not impacted that much by the quantity of such works, but rather entirely by the convenience of the copying. With the amount of private copying being independent of the amount of works the content producers have made, and because they are essentially enjoying a continual income stream from the levies, they effectively are being given *DIS*incentive to keep trying to create new works – especially in light of how long copyright lasts, and compounding it even further by lengthening the duration of copyright. This is entirely counterproductive to the entire point of why copyright was ever invented.

    Although I know that copyright has been badly scarred recently by abuses on both sides of the issue, I do not believe the damage is irreparable. Returning to the reason that copyright was invented, which again is to benefit society by encouraging the publishing of artistic works, I think, would be a healthy starting point… one that is sorely needed.

  14. We need an Eliott Ness to fight this new MAFIAA…
    … And get us rid of these criminal organizations, that have absolutely no shame flouting our basic rights in the name of the mighty dollar.

    Before that happens, however, our job as citizens is to continue to educate our politicians to recognize these organizations for the criminals they are, by reminding them that people elected them to champion their rights, not those of these organizations that have subverted democracy through influence peddling, and that the methods employed by these organizations will not be tolerated anymore, just like with any other intimidation, like we did with the MAFIA, whose level of extortion was nowhere near as high as that which these organizations practice (ask any artist how much he makes on each CD he sells).

    The renewed demands from this Entertainment Crime Syndicate will only serve to alienate the ‘industry’ more from the public.

    As for myself, not only have I curtailed my purchase of media (I’m quite content with what I purchased 10 years ago and more, thank you), I have also started to boycott movie releases and industry sponsored concerts as well and am quite content using Netflix and listening to online radio. Just like the legal alcohol and cigarette gouging practiced by government (at least we can believe those taxes actually go towards the increased societal costs of drinking and smoking), I simply cannot make myself pay these criminals good money so that they may better enslave me and my family.

    Before going to watch the next blockbuster, folks, remember the harm the industry is causing not only to ordinary people, but to the whole of society as well.

  15. C-30, C-11 and all the rest are merely the way for Canada to give force and effect to ACTA, the international agreement negotiated in secret, that effectively strips everyone, globally, of any right to privacy or due process. Despite our current government’s assurances since 2007, when Canada first became involved in ACTA negotiations, that there would be openness to the process, there was none.

    Our once-free and democratic country is no longer free or democratic. Our rulers no longer represent the views of their constituents (unless you count corporate constituents and foreign governments). The invasive and punitive public policy now in effect has had a chilling effect on freedom of expression. And I will expect to, once again, be harassed by The Authorities for speaking out.

    We can only hope a groundswell of public support AGAINST these pernicious bills will prevent them from being passed into law. But there’s been lots of public support against Putin and other dictatorial rulers getting into office, and that didn’t matter a whit.

  16. Cease
    “They don’t want us to have any rights whatsoever.” – Rights are inconvenient for capitalism, we know already that China has been a perfect human rights sinkhole for capitalism. Rights are constantly being defined so they can be taken away. The NDAA and the war on terror is a perfect example of this at work. This is utterly factual and it sickens me how blind people are to that.

    The internet makes buying music directly much easier. That scares the industry. And that’s what I want to see. Less shit mass-produced music. If Hollywood and big media want its gigantic profits, they’ll have to fucking work for them now. Update your model with a more open approach, simplify purchasing and I guarantee people will trust the industry once again.

    If any of the “anti-piracy” political supporters are reading this, find another purpose in life, you’re doing life wrong. Buy a boat, go fuck off to the Bahamas or something, you’re literally trading your soul for money and destroying the human race at the same time, not exactly a prosperous act, which is what you guys at the top should be prone to.

  17. Capitalism?
    ‘Rights are inconvenient for capitalism.’ What are you talking about? This has nothing to do with capitalism. These companies hire lobbyists to go to Ottawa/Washington to sway elected representatives with $$$ to pass bills that will help their respective businesses. That is not capitalism. That’s crony-capitalism or corporatism. We haven’t had true capitalism for over 100 years. With true capitalism and a free market run by the people with no government intervention these companies would either adapt or die.

  18. I’ve been thinking…
    If these changes are made to c-11,I believe that there will an huge uproar made by the public. It was kinda like that back in January when Canadians thought that C-11 is the next SOPA (I’m worried that it WILL be like that, however)
    If a law like this passes, I don’t think I’ll ever go on the internet again. 🙁

  19. Door in the Face
    This actually works out extremely well for the government. What’s basically happening is a “Door-in-the-Face” negotiation: the music companies are asking for demands so unreasonable, that nobody would ever be able to accept them. But in doing so, we will feel more agreeable to accept a lesser demand. At the end of this, the government is probably going to basically say “Look, we didn’t give the music industry all the things that they wanted, but we can’t give consumers all the things they want either,” and will use that as cover to pass through C-11 more or less as-is with the digital lock provisions, which was the original problem with this legislation to begin with, intact. And instead of being outraged that the digital lock provisions were kept, most people will be patting themselves on the back for fighting off an iPod tax, three-strikes, notice-and-takedown, and warrantless disclosure of subscriber information.

  20. This is not electricity, gasoline, bread or butter.

    Cut your “arteestec” expenses to half this year, they’ll get the message.

  21. To ABarlow
    You make an excellent point, by reading what the music company wants, the current bill c-11 and it flaws don’t seem too bad in comparison and therefore would be more willing to accept it (althrough we’d still be complaining about it, if such demands have never been made)

  22. Too late
    Software like this will soon lay waste to their paid for laws

    and web sites like this one will give me access to free to listen/share to music for a long time to come.

    I’m going my part to expedite the demise of the media companies. I haven’t been to the movies since Iron Man 2 came out where I use to go and see three moves per month (depending of there were 3 worth viewing). At $60 per visit with my kids we saved quite a bit. Now while I wheene myself off movies I buy them at pawn shops for $2 and mass download old shows while I can.

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  24. Rights & Freedoms for only the Rich & Powerful
    This is what the Harper agenda is all about. If you are not in his exclusive club then you are a little disposable minon to do with as they please. Sorry, but copyright has become just another means of income for Big Entertainment. Despite all thier hysterics to the media and pirating, it’s never been about the artists, it’s been thier own profit and power.

  25. Internet & Music
    @Sam – “The internet makes buying music directly much easier. That scares the industry. And that’s what I want to see. Less shit mass-produced music… Update your model with a more open approach, simplify purchasing and I guarantee people will trust the industry once again.”

    Digitized music is no longer a product. The internet is merely the medium through which music is distributed, now. As a musician, sure I can put up a Paypal “donate” button on my band’s website for fans inclined to toss me a buck or two, but technology has destroyed the inherent value of anything digitized. In the case of music, recorded content is just advertising, like the radio/TV has been in the past. The income for musicians is strictly in the live show, now. The value of recorded, distributed content is consumer-determined.

    That is what scares the corporate facet of the music industry; a massive part of their entire market paradigm has been surrounded & undermined by other, more competitive market niches. The had control of the radio waves, the TV signals – they used to have a big influence on the one-way flow of information, but the internet has supplanted this. Now, rather than roll with the punches, they are seeking to legislate the continuation of a market niche which has been destroyed by natural, open-market forces. Basically, the music industry is saying that citizens should not be allowed to leverage new technology brought to market by competing niches, because it damages the music industry’s ROI and business model.

    Personally, I’m stunned that our -ahem- right-wing government (Con and Lib) see the industry’s demands as necessary societal and market controls.

  26. Doug Webb says:

    Save the Public Domain campaign is needed
    I agree a Save the Public Domain campaign is in order. I have created a blog to organize under Save the Public Domain

  27. Kevin Wilson says:

    Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    C-11 and C-30 are in direct violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If you aren’t fluent in it, let alone familiar with it, take some time out and give it a read. It is the silver bullet that can be propelled by the Internet’s gunpowder.

  28. Evolve or die ?
    all theses bills seem to serve only the music industry who seem to think we are all using CD and DVD. They need to wake up and offer more attractive content, more way to reach peoples and… give more money to the artists…

    I’m working in IT and if this kind of bill is passed, i’m sure alot of people will be innocently accused of copyright infringment. Look at how much people get “hacked” or infected by malware/spyware and theses kind of software can be used to download stuff into your computer without your knowledge.

    A few years ago, I’ve heard that video game industry was earning more money than entertainement industry (music, video, etc…). Did you see what happen with them? They are using stuff like Steam, App store, DLC, etc… In a few years, no more software on CD/DVD… everything will be downloadable. Some software developpers offer their full game for free and you can purchase content to get full experience of the game. By doing this, they put an end to software piracy and still earn money!

    I really hope theses bill will not pass. Or at least they will not give too much power to the music industry…

  29. @end user
    If C-30 passes, you may not be able to run RetroShare, Tor, Freenet, or any P2P application without a backdoor.

    You would probably be seen as operating a “transmission apparatus,” as defined in the bill, and so would likely be deemed a “telecommunication service provider.” You would either need the backdoor, or face jail or fines, for what I can tell.

  30. Charles The Great says:

    Would this Apply to VPN software?
    I use this all the time to get Hulu Plus and American Netflix in Canada. So they would want to ban something that even companies use all the time?

  31. Charles The Great says:

    using VPN software I even got Google Music. I just wonder would this be illegal as well?

  32. South of the Border says:

    How about..
    How about a compromise? We’ll give you what you want, with one caveat. In every case where you are wrong, you pay the accused 50 Million Dollars, and if your corporation doesn’t have it, we’ll confiscate all the wealth of every officer of the corporation and their descendents for the next 100 years to pay it.

  33. Canoe76 said: @end user You would either need the backdoor, or face jail or fines, for what I can tell.

    I wouldn’t mind being the first jailed for right that have been taken away while exercising those rights. Half of my family spent time in jail as political prisoners and its why we came to Canada. Now the corporations and the Harper Gov. are trying to take away what we came here for.

  34. Fools rush in!
    @Danux I totally agree with you! Record labels are dead as far as I’m concerned. These days I support musicians that are on bandcamp or by going and seeing them live. Example, Dead Mellotron I can buy his entire album for 3$ in either mp3 or flac. Now that is a reasonable price for digital music, with no DRM crap. If he ever comes around my city I’ll definitely see him live.

    Musicians can make good money if they price their music accordingly, and perform live shows. Recently I saw Portishead, I paid 65$ for the ticket. The band performed in front of 11000 people, you do the math -and this was only one city!

    The artists that don’t sell well, it’s because their prices are too high on digital music, they don’t tour (they’re too lazy, -it’s so much more convenient to record something, sit on your ass and expect the money to roll in), or simply the music they make isn’t great.

    The same applies to the movie industry. Selling a movie on a piece of plastic for 40$ is insane! Also I can’t believe they didn’t learn anything from the mp3’s in the 90s. Now that mkv is the equivalent of mp3’s in video, why did they even bother with bluray discs? They should just sell the movies online in mkv format, no drm, at reasonable price, and people would buy like crazy. Selling movie for 5$ on the internet without DRM would be perfectly reasonable. There is no manufacturing and distribution cost involved. People would buy, because of convenience and guaranteed quality.

    Music and movie industry did just fine before the labels, the TV, VHS, and Bluray.. They need to change their business model because their current model it’s not working in the digital age. They need to adapt, not the people.

    By the way, recently cinema sales are down because the industry releases a lot of mediocrity. A lot of films these days are driven by visual effects and not by a good story. I still have 4 free movie theatre tickets left, hopefully they will release something decent for me to see!!

  35. Step right up folks …
    OK, these ‘demands’ are so out of line with what the public sees as reasonable I can only wonder as to their motive.

    Is it …
    A) They live in fairy castle land?

    B) They are still using the tried, true bargaining model of ‘ask for the moon’ not realizing the internet has made that back door smoke room tactic obsolete.

    C) They have nothing to lose?

    D) All of the above.

    If you picked D, claim your prize 😀

  36. Supreme Court Ruling
    Can’t someone get a supreme court ruling on having access to an internet connection, thus saving the arguments on what the CMI can or can not do with that connection. This also applies to C-30.

    The internet was designed to be free and open, bills C-11 and C-30 destroy that. Captialism is creating a police state within a networked environment.

    The consumer has rights, because the consumer pays for the connection.

    When the Canadian music industry, or the movie industry bureaucracy pays for the consumer to have an internet connection, then, and only then should they have rights to that internet connection.

  37. @Charles The Great
    It is not clear to me that computers themselves would even be excluded under the broadest interpretations of the bill. I am not a lawyer, and I am only presenting my understanding of the bill, but I don’t think it contains the safeguards needed to prevent those types of interpretations. In my experience, it doesn’t seem like a leap to expect the language to be interpreted quite broadly for the convenience of those doing the interpreting.

  38. Hermano deSolo says:

    Yes, well…
    A possible explanation for the behavior of CIMA and ADISQ:

  39. Martin Hawthorn says:

    Simple really
    start spoofing their IP and force them to be subject to the same terms of law their trying to impose, if you have your own copy right work and it keeps coming up with their IP address, well same laws apply to them as anyone else 🙂

  40. baizhongtang says:

    Ah, the “we can be crazier than the US” attitude we’ve been seeing from Corporate Canada is reaching new heights!

    How do you feel about direct transfer of personal information to copyright holders without due process? I mean, the rich control everything anyway, we might as well skip due process and allow then to privately arrest citizens and send them to privately owned prisons while we’re at it. The justice system is so uneffective with all it’s “rights” and “procedural fairness” and”possibility for poor people to win once in a while”…

    When are we going to band together and short-circuit these parasites out of ALL of their profits by going around the “system”…

  41. And their house isn’t clean either!
    Isn’t this the same Canadian Music Association that collects a huge amount of HIDDEN TAX on every blank CD, DVD, and other computer media – and has yet to pay a dime to the artists?

    When they start paying me for MY copyrighted works, then I may consider them legitimate. Right now, they are thieves!

  42. Bush Puppy says:

    “Door in The Face”
    I understand people on this forum already know about this classic weasel technique used by politicians called, “The Door in the Face”. Wikipedia it and I promise you won’t be sorry. Harper is a master user of this technique for all his unpopular proposals.

    Don’t forget the Liberals wanted similar yet less draconian bills and ask yourself how easy will they be accepted in the future after this government has been given the door in the face.

    Wikipedia the phrase and please tell everyone you know about these two brain washing techniques and see if knowledge really is power and maybe something good will come from this so we can start standing up to this new bully called Harper.

  43. Smart enough not to post my real name... says:

    Greed wins out of citizen rights to due process…
    We need a Smart Politician (I know, don’t hold my breath) that will stand up to the Big Media Lobbys and say,

    “Okay, we will meet you half way Big Media Groups, we will process the people who are illegally Downloading your Media Content in our legal system, but the money you receive in fines we charge the guilty parties (fairly, no more than the cost of buying / renting the media) that we find with due process goes directly to the Music Artists, Movie Producers, etc. who actually creatively make the media you so greedily defend and that you take no profit as a business, association, etc. from.”

    “Oh yes”, the Smart Politician would continue, “all the court costs are yours; so every court case you bring in front of us, including all legal fees, IP’s expenses, police envolvement, processing fees, court costs, defence lawyers, lost wages for the defendants etc. come off the top of your granted earnings, and if you are in the hole for the balance, we charge back the difference to your or your shady Media Associations; now matter how thickly veiled they are.”

    That would put an end to all this nonsense, once and for all…

  44. Joe Public says:

    Words to Ponder:
    If I was part of the Canadian “music” crime-mob pushing this piece (and other pieces) of pure fascism, I’d be focussed on putting my affairs in order before I crossed that invisible line.

    Say hello to Osama, Saddam and Kim Jong Il once you’re down there fellas. Oh, and it’s a dry heat.

  45. Calandra’s comments suggest that the government recognizes the dangers of such an approach.
    Last Kings Snapback