My series on why the Industry committee rightly chose to ignore the Canadian Heritage committee study on artist remuneration took an unexpected turn yesterday. Hours after I posted an analysis demonstrating that the Heritage committee had ignored its mandate by tabling its report in the House of Commons, the Industry committee issued an unprecedented news release confirming that it did not consider the Heritage report and that its report is the exclusive copyright review. The news release states:
Since INDU presented this report, some stakeholders who participated in INDU’s proceedings have expressed regret that the committee did not consider a report from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (CHPC) as part of the review of the Act.
In March 2018, INDU invited CHPC to contribute to the review by conducting a study on remuneration models for artists and creative industries, and by providing INDU with a summary of its findings.
As master of its own proceedings, CHPC chose instead to present a report to the House of Commons and ask for a response from the Government of Canada.
Reviewing the Act was INDU’s sole responsibility. INDU honoured that responsibility by conducting the review in an extensive, rigorous, and transparent manner that provided anyone the opportunity to express their views on matters of their choosing.
The release continues by noting that INDU heard from a broad range of stakeholders with many also appearing before the Heritage committee. It adds that “the Statutory Review of the Copyright Act thus recognizes every perspective expressed during the statutory review, notably on the remuneration of artists and creative industries.” In an upcoming post, I will unpack this comment as INDU is correct to note that it heard from far more stakeholders – more than triple the number of witnesses and submissions – including more artists and creators than the Heritage committee.
With the Canadian Heritage study now thoroughly discredited by the House of Commons committee tasked with conducting the copyright review, chair Julie Dabrusin’s apparent bet that she could create a shadow copyright review has failed. When the Canadian Heritage study was first released, I dubbed it the “Bulte Report Redux”, a reference to the one-sided 2004 Canadian Heritage committee (chaired by MP Sarmite Bulte) copyright report that was rejected months later by the government. In this case, the Dabrusin report did not last even that long.
Interestingly, the parallels between Bulte and Dabrusin do not end there. Months after the Bulte report was released, Bulte attracted attention for a pricey fundraiser held on her behalf by the heads of the major copyright lobby groups including Graham Henderson of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (now Music Canada). The fundraiser became an election issue in her Toronto-area riding and Bulte lost the 2006 election. As for Dabrusin, she will be appearing next week at the Economic Club of Canada to engage in a “fireside chat” on the so-called value gap and potential reforms. The sponsor of the event and lead speaker? Music Canada and Graham Henderson.