Canadian artists call on federal government to amend Copyright Act

ST. JOHN'S, April 17 /CNW/ - As Canada's music industry celebrated another year of achievement at the Juno Awards, recording artists and songwriters from across the country today called on the federal government to introduce amendments to copyright legislation that will ensure artists are compensated for private copies made of their works, just as the law originally intended.

At a press conference held in the Junos host city, St. John's, artists including Newfoundland's own Rex Goudie spoke about the importance of the private copying levy to all music rights holders.

"Canadian artists are no longer being compensated for the hundreds of millions of copies made of their works," stated Annie Morin, Chair of the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC), the non-profit organization which collects and distributes the private copying levy. "It's time to bring the Copyright Act into the 21st century and to reflect how copies of music are actually made today, not how they were made a decade ago."

Since 1999, the private copying levy has generated more than $180 million for Canadian artists, songwriters and other music rights holders through a levy on the blank recording media traditionally used to copy music, such as cassette tapes, CDRs and MiniDiscs. It has been an important revenue stream for the artists and has allowed many of them to continue to create. However, digital audio recorders like the iPod have now become the music-copying technology of choice, and they are not covered by the private copying levy. In Canada, 70 percent - and climbing - of the 1.3 billion songs copied annually are copied onto these devices. As a result of this technological change, by the end of this year, revenue due to the artists from the existing levy will have fallen by over 60 percent since 2008. This trend is expected to continue as blank media for copying become obsolete.

"It's about what is right and what is fair," stated Goudie. "My music has value just like any other product or service that Canadians buy. We're simply asking for that value to continue to be recognized so that we can continue to make music."

Artists, songwriters and other rights holders are joining the CPCC in urging the federal government to extend the private copying levy to digital audio recorders when it brings forward amendments to the Copyright Act. The importance of this issue has recently been championed by NDP MP Charlie Angus, who introduced a private member's bill to amend Part VIII of the Copyright Act. Rights holders also applaud the motion presented by Bloc MP Carole Lavallée in the Heritage Committee recommending the extension of the private copying levy to digital music recorders. This motion was agreed to by the Committee and was subsequently passed by Parliament last Wednesday.

"This is about providing fair compensation to our artists, our creators, and balancing that need with consumers' concerns about cost," continued Ms Morin. "We're confident that balance can be achieved if and when the federal government introduces amendments to the Act."

SOURCE CANADIAN PRIVATE COPYING COLLECTIVE

For further information: For further information: Alison Thompson, CPCC, (416) 486-6832 ext. 221, (416) 452-4139 (cell April 17-18), athompson@cpcc.ca

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CANADIAN PRIVATE COPYING COLLECTIVE

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