Artists’ coalition wants you to pay up

by Mathew on January 21, 2008 · 9 comments

(cross-posted from my Globe and Mail blog)

As the federal government draws closer to introducing a new copyright law — a proposed update was expected before Christmas but was withdrawn at the last minute, after a vocal protest> involving a Facebook group set up by University of Ottawa law professor and fair copyright advocate Michael Geist, as well as other activity — various groups are jockeying for position.

The latest entry is a formal “platform” statement from the Creators Copyright Coalition, an alliance of 19 professional associations representing writers, musicians, actors and other performers whose work appears in print, on stage, on TV and radio, in movies and in galleries. The document isn’t online at the CCC website (at least as far as I can tell), but there is a copy of the platform here.

From the looks of the copyright coalition’s platform, its vision of the future is one in which everyone pays more in fees, and Internet providers are liable for any copyright infringement that is transmitted over their networks. Among other things (including a request that schools pay a fee to put on plays, something they are currently entitled to do for free), the coalition wants artists to have the explicit right to forbid — or to charge money for — the transfer of their work to another medium.

The CCC’s platform also wants the private copying levy, which adds a charge to the purchase of every blank CD in order to reimburse artists for illegal copying, expanded to include not just music but visual art, video, written content and other forms of art. The coalition recommends that “new tariffs be levied for the new categories.”

Finally, the group says that it would be “only fair” to require Internet service providers or ISPs to “assume the responsibilities” of ensuring that content on their networks doesn’t infringe copyright. The CCC recommends that Canada adopt a notice-and-takedown process similar to that used by the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, making the ISPs liable for infringement.

Note: The federal Privacy Commissioner has some concerns about the copyright legislation as well — in particular, the fact that some digital-rights management or DRM tools used by content companies can record information about people’s behaviour, in breach of privacy protections, as well as the fact that a “notice and notice” process being contemplated as part of the law for ISPs would require those ISPs to retain information about their users, in contravention of privacy laws.

  • Vincent Clement

    What is with the sense of entitlement within the content creator community? Why should I pay a levy on blank CDs when I already have paid for the music I put on them? Why should I pay to transfer my paid content to another medium? What will prevent the content creators from supporting a new medium every decade?

    Content is meant to be used. I'm sick and tired of the content creators dictating what we can and cannot do with paid content. Content creators should be embracing new business models that add value to non-scarce goods.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I think those are some good points, Vincent. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://scrawledinwax.com scrawledinwax

    This may be a little tangential but I can't help but think of this in light of the recent Guardian piece on Facebook. In it, Tom Hodgkinson states that the VCs funding FB are ultra-right wing 'capitalist philosophers' who believe the next wave of business is the commodification of human relationships.

    I raise this because it's at least plausible that online music and video will move towards an ad-supported model of some kind if the labels crumble. The choice then becomes what one wishes to support – a sort of new online version of 'voting with your dollars'. My participation in Facebook funds an ideology I oppose. If music and video move to the same model, does that mean that every time I download a track – be it fluffy pop or neo-Marxist hip-hop – that I also *have* to fund an ideology that I may or may not agree with? I guess what I'm saying is that I'd rather pay the artists, even if, as Vincent Celement points out, their desire does stem from a sense of entitlement. I dunno' though – too 'Soviet Russia'?

    -Nav

  • Vincent Clement

    What is with the sense of entitlement within the content creator community? Why should I pay a levy on blank CDs when I already have paid for the music I put on them? Why should I pay to transfer my paid content to another medium? What will prevent the content creators from supporting a new medium every decade?

    Content is meant to be used. I'm sick and tired of the content creators dictating what we can and cannot do with paid content. Content creators should be embracing new business models that add value to non-scarce goods.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I think those are some good points, Vincent. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://scrawledinwax.com scrawledinwax

    This may be a little tangential but I can't help but think of this in light of the recent Guardian piece on Facebook. In it, Tom Hodgkinson states that the VCs funding FB are ultra-right wing 'capitalist philosophers' who believe the next wave of business is the commodification of human relationships.

    I raise this because it's at least plausible that online music and video will move towards an ad-supported model of some kind if the labels crumble. The choice then becomes what one wishes to support – a sort of new online version of 'voting with your dollars'. My participation in Facebook funds an ideology I oppose. If music and video move to the same model, does that mean that every time I download a track – be it fluffy pop or neo-Marxist hip-hop – that I also *have* to fund an ideology that I may or may not agree with? I guess what I'm saying is that I'd rather pay the artists, even if, as Vincent Celement points out, their desire does stem from a sense of entitlement. I dunno' though – too 'Soviet Russia'?

    -Nav

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  • http://twitter.com/leann2nb/statuses/5936137640 leann2nb (Leanne Tran)

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