My first ever royalties cheque! by Tama Leaver (CC BY 2.0)

My first ever royalties cheque! by Tama Leaver (CC BY 2.0)

Committees / News

Copyright and Culture: My Submission to the Canadian Heritage Committee Study on Remuneration Models for Artists and Creative Industries

The Canadian Heritage committee study on remuneration models for artists and creative industries, which was launched to support the Industry committee’s copyright review, wrapped up earlier this month. I appeared before the committee in late November, where I focused on recent allegations regarding educational copying practices, reconciled the increased spending on licensing with claims of reduced revenues, and concluded by providing the committee with some recommendations for action. My formal submission to the committee has yet to be posted (the committee has been slow in posting submissions), but it expanded on that presentation by focusing first on the state of piracy in Canada, followed by an examination of three sectors: (i) educational copying; (ii) the music industry and the value gap; and (iii) film and television production in Canada. The full submission can be found here.

Of particular note may be the recommendations for action and the appendix, which features links to relevant posts on all issues raised in the brief. The recommendation section states:

Recent Canadian copyright developments have addressed many of the key concerns from the creative industries and artists. For example, the extensive Copyright Board of Canada reforms contained in Bill C-86 comprehensively address longstanding concerns with the administration of copyright. The bill received royal assent on December 13, 2018.

Moreover, the copyright provisions in the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement significantly alter the copyright balance by extending the term of copyright by additional 20 years beyond our current law and the international standard found in the Berne Convention. By doing so, there is a need to recalibrate Canadian copyright law to restore the balance.

There are additional reforms that would benefit the creative sector. The government should work with Canadian publishers to ensure their works are available for digital licensing either in bundles or through transactional licenses. Given that digital licenses are sometimes the only source of revenue – Access Copyright’s Payback does not compensate for older works and print sales of old books is typically non-existent – embracing the digital opportunities with a forward looking approach may be the only revenue source for some authors.

 Governments should continue to pursue alternative publishing approaches that improve both access and compensation. For example, the government’s recent announcement of funding for creative commons licensed local news should be emulated with funding for open educational resources that pays creators up front and gives education flexibility in usage. This would be consistent with a study commissioned for the Association of Canadian Publishers, which found:

“The OER movement continues to grow and is becoming a cornerstone of the Canadian K–12 educational system. The proliferation of OER content is evident across the country and there are numerous initiatives that support the development, access, and distribution of content.”

Further transparency in creator remuneration is also needed. This would include greater transparency for payments from Internet platforms and streaming services as well as from payments and the administration of copyright collectives.

The committee should also recommend greater support for artists in addressing the contractual imbalances between creators and publishers or record labels. For example, Bryan Adams’ recommendation on reversion rights should be adopted to address one-sided creator-music label contracts. Further, a closer consideration of author royalties from publishers arising from new digital licences is needed.

Non-copyright policies should also be examined. For example, Canadian content rules for film and television production currently treat Canadian book authors as irrelevant for Cancon qualification. Reforms to the criteria of qualification for Canadian content are long overdue to ensure that the benefits designed to support Cancon creation accrue to all Canadian creators.

Relevant links include:

The State of Piracy in Canada

Canadian Piracy Rates Plummet as Industry Points to Effectiveness of Copyright Notice-and-Notice System

Government-Backed Study Finds Piracy Fight a Low Priority for Canadian Rights Holders

Fake Data on Fakes: Digging Into Bell’s Dubious Canadian Piracy Claims

The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 2: Weak Evidence on the State of Canadian Piracy

The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 3: Piracy Having Little Impact on Thriving Digital Services and TV Production

Springer Nature Opens Up on Educational Publishing: “E-Piracy” Sites Do Not Replace Traditional Subscription Services, Business Risks Primarily Stem from Marketplace Changes

Why Canada is Now Home to Some of the Toughest Anti-Piracy Rules in the World…And What Should Come Next

Canadian DMCA in Action: Court Awards Massive Damages in First Major Anti-Circumvention Copyright Ruling

Canadian-backed report says music, movie, and software piracy is a market failure, not a legal one

Educational Copying and Fair Dealing

Canadian Copyright, Fair Dealing and Education, Part One: Making Sense of the Spending,

Canadian Copyright, Fair Dealing and Education, Part Two: The Declining Value of the Access Copyright Licence

Canadian Copyright, Fair Dealing and Education, Part Three: Exploring the Impact of Site Licensing at Canadian Universities

Canadian Copyright, Fair Dealing and Education, Part Four: Fixing Fair Dealing for the Digital Age

Misleading on Fair Dealing, Part 1: Access Copyright’s Inconsistent Claims on the Legal Effect of the 2012 Fair Dealing Reforms

Misleading on Fair Dealing, Part 2: Why Access Copyright’s Claim of 600 Million Uncompensated Copies Doesn’t Add Up

Misleading on Fair Dealing, Part 3: Data Shows Books Are Rapidly Declining as Part of Coursepack Materials

Misleading on Fair Dealing, Part 4: The Shift from Coursepacks to Digital Course Management Systems

Misleading on Fair Dealing, Part 5: The Multi-Million Dollar Educational Investment in E-Book Licensing

Misleading on Fair Dealing, Part 6: Why Site Licences Offer Education More than the Access Copyright Licence

Misleading on Fair Dealing, Part 7: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage

Misleading on Fair Dealing, Part 8: The Access Copyright Fight Against Transactional Licensing

Misleading on Fair Dealing, Part 9: The Remarkable Growth of Free and Open Materials

Misleading on Fair Dealing, Part 10: Rejecting Access Copyright’s Demand to Force Its Licence on Canadian Education

Fair Dealing and the Right to Read: The Case of Blacklock’s Reporter v. Canada (Attorney General)

Fair Dealing Support for News Reporting and Public Debate: The Case of Warman and National Post v. Fournier

Why Fair Dealing Safeguards Freedom of Expression: The Case of the Vancouver Aquarium

Why Fair Dealing Benefits Creators: The Case of a Room Full of Spoons

Access Copyright Calls for Massive Expansion of Damage Awards of Up To Ten Times Royalties

Value Gap and the Music Industry

Music Industry’s Canadian Copyright Reform Goal: “End Tech Companies’ Safe Harbours”

Who Needs an iPhone Tax: Canadian Music Industry Instead Calls for $40 Million Annual Handout

Music Canada Data Confirms Huge Increase in Streaming Revenues and Sharp Decline of Music Listening from Pirated Sources

SOCAN Financial Data Highlights How Internet Music Streaming is Paying Off for Creators

Broken Record: Why the Music Industry’s Secret Plan for iPhone Taxes, Internet Tracking and Content Blocking is Off-Key

Canadian Music Industry Seeks New Fees, Content Blocking, and Right to Renegotiate Deals Despite Generating Record Digital Revenues

Canada’s Tough Anti-Piracy Copyright Law: Federal Court Awards Millions in Damages Against Unauthorized Streaming Site

Film and Television Production in Canada

No Panic: Canadian TV and Film Production Posts Biggest Year Ever Raising Doubts About the Need for Site Blocking and Netflix Regulation

The Netflix Effect?: Foreign Sources Outspend Canadian Broadcasters and Distributors for English TV Production

The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 1: Canada’s Current Copyright Law Provides Effective Anti-Piracy Tools

The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, The Finale

UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression: Website Blocking Plan “Raises Serious Inconsistencies” With Canada’s Human Rights Obligations

Coalition Featuring Google, Amazon, GoDaddy and CogecoPeer1 Warn Against Canadian Site Blocking Plan: Lost Jobs, Stifled Innovation

No Need for New Internet Injunctions: Why Canadian Copyright Law Already Provides Rights Holders with the Legal Tools They Need

Global Internet Takedown Orders Come to Canada: Supreme Court Upholds International Removal of Google Search Results

Recommendations for Action

Cuts Like a Knife: Bryan Adams Calls for Stronger Protections Against One-Sided Record Label Contracts

Australian Copyright Scandal Points to the Need for Greater Oversight of Copyright Collectives

From Copyright Term to Super Bowl Commercials: Breaking Down the Digital NAFTA Deal

USMCA sends Canada back to the drawing board on copyright law

Canadian Publisher on the Term of Copyright: Life Plus 50 Years is “Already Too Long”

Why Copyright Term Matters: Publisher Study Highlights Crucial Role of the Public Domain in Ontario Schools

The Trouble With the TPP’s Copyright Rules

Canadian Government Commits $50 Million to Creative Commons Licensed Open News Content

Digital Trends and Initiatives in Education: The Study the Association of Canadian Publishers Tried To Bury

Canadian Copyright, OA, and OER: Why the Open Access Road Still Leads Back to Copyright

Canada’s National Digitization Plan Leaves Virtual Shelves Empty

Canada May Be Nearing the Open Access “Tipping Point”

Swartz’s Death Places Spotlight on More Open Access To Information

Setting the Stage for the Next Decade of Open Access

Why the Government’s Commitment to “Open by Default” Must Be Bigger Than Open Data


  1. Kelly Manning says:

    Corporate music and print media keep going on and on about online file sharing being a bane to artists and writers. There is a lot of evidence to the contrary, digitial distribution allows them to bypass the Corporate and retail sales hierarchy and avoid paying anything to the corps. Buyers pay less and artists and authors sell more copies and get more income.

    When Buffy Saint Marie appeared on CBC recently she spoke of how she had been “held underwater” by companies refusing to release her music. She even spoke of someone who decided that he needed to apologize to her for acting in a way that prompted LBJ to send him a letter commending him on working to suppress music from BSM, at which point her lawyer told BSM that it was time to ask for a copy of her FBI file.

    Now artists can deal directly with customers selling copies of their music, bypassing the Corporate toll charger and censor.

    A few years back I read that the best selling author in the USA sell e-editions for about 1$ as his primary form of distribution. Once again, bypassing the corporate toll charger and dealing 1 on 1 with customers.

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  9. New copyright laws is what we need! Artists simply don’t get enough for the work they do. Great job!

  10. I am an artist myself and I am glad someone understands the industry and its issues. Piracy should be eliminated.

  11. As Andy in the comments says, being an artist is more popular than ever. Therefore, more attention should be given to the industry and the individuals and the representatives of it. Well done!

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