Kofi's hat

Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Canadian Musicians Group: "Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical"

Several Canadian musical artists who favor "a fresh approach to copyright law reform" have formed The Canadian Music Creators Coalition. They will advocate legislative changes and programs that support artists while bringing an end to file-sharing lawsuits against their fans.

Sloan, Stars, Broken Social Scene, Sarah McLachlan, John K. Samson (of The Weakerthans), Dave Bidini (of Rheostatics), Raine Maida (of Our Lady Peace), Chantal Kreviazuk, Bob Wiseman, Andrew Cash, Barenaked Ladies, Billy Talent, Sum 41, and Avril Lavigne are among those who have signed on thus far.

Coalition members including Broken Social Scene, Barenaked Ladies, and Andrew Cash are holding a press conference Monday, May 1st, from 10:30 AM until noon EST at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. They will reveal the identities of additional Canadian musicians joining their cause, speak about the issues, including their "demands for a face-to-face meeting with government Ministers responsible for these issues."

The coalition has named three principles it feels "should guide the copyright reform process":

1. Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical

Artists do not want to sue music fans. The labels have been suing our fans against our will, and laws enabling these suits cannot be justified in our names. We oppose any copyright reforms that would make it easier for record companies to do this. The government should repeal provisions of the Copyright Act that allow labels to unfairly punish fans who share music for non-commercial purposes with statutory damages of $500 to $20,000 per song.

2. Digital Locks are Risky and Counterproductive

Artists do not support using digital locks to increase the labels' control over the distribution, use and enjoyment of music or laws that prohibit circumvention of such technological measures. The government should not blindly implement decade-old treaties designed to give control to major labels and take choices away from artists and consumers. Laws should protect artists and consumers, not restrictive technologies. Consumers should be able to transfer the music they buy to other formats under a right of fair use, without having to pay twice.

3. Cultural Policy Should Support Actual Canadian Artists

The vast majority of new Canadian music is not promoted by major labels, which focus mostly on foreign artists. The government should use other policy tools to support actual Canadian artists and a thriving musical and cultural scene. The government should make a long-term commitment to grow support mechanisms like the Canada Music Fund and FACTOR, invest in music training and education, create limited tax shelters for copyright royalties, protect artists from inequalities in bargaining power and make collecting societies more transparent.

To put that last part in a bit of context for those not from the land of the Tragically Hip and Leonard Cohen, to promote Canadian music, Canadian Content Rules (or "CanCon") require that 35% of the music aired on both AM and FM stations every week be "Canadian". To qualify as "Canadian" at least two of the following "conditions" must "generally" be met (generally?):

M (music) - the music is composed entirely by a Canadian.

A (artist) - the music and/or the lyrics are performed principally by a Canadian.

P (production) - the musical selection consists of a live performance that is (i) recorded wholly in Canada, or (ii) performed wholly in Canada and broadcast live in Canada.

L (lyrics) - the lyrics are written entirely by a Canadian.

It's called the MAPL system! 'Cause... they like syrup. So, on some level, it makes people more likely to find the system appetizing? Somewhere a consultant or a committee said that, you just know it. There's more, but Canadians are well-familiar with it, and non-Canadians who didn't know about this business are likely either shocked because they thought you guys were more sensible than to come up with such schemes, or feeling smug that you're no better than us Americans in that respect at least. MAPL? PLZ.

The idea of artists having a good deal of say in copyright law makes sense. One can only hope the people who thought up MAPL have retired and the new folks will listen.

Sloan - Out To Lunch (from the Japanese edition of Navy Blues)

Stars - Krush (from The Comeback EP)

The Weakerthans - Aside (from Left & Leaving)

Rheostatics - Saskatchewan (from Melville)

Barenaked Ladies - The Old Apartment (from Born On A Pirate Ship)

Sarah McLachlan - Fallen (live) (from the Live Acoustic EP)


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