Urgent action needed as rampant digital piracy and counterfeiting
undermine music in Canada
TORONTO, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - Four leading music industry organizations,
representing Canadian artist managers, music publishers and record labels of
all sizes, today urged the federal government to make copyright reform and
other intellectual property rights measures priorities in its upcoming Speech
from the Throne.
The Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA), Canadian
Music Publishers Association (CMPA), Canadian Recording Industry Association
(CRIA), Music Managers Forum (MMF) Canada are united in the call for
"Canadian music companies are developing some great new talent," said
Duncan McKie, President and CEO, CIRPA. "But selling recordings in most cases
does not provide sufficient income to support new artists, so there are fewer
opportunities for them today."
McKie added, "Large scale unauthorized downloading continues to
cannibalize the legitimate marketplace. And contrary to what some have
suggested, the legitimate sales of digital tracks are not making up the
The four organizations, which together represent the vast majority of
Canadians who work in music, also seek to explode the myth that piracy and
counterfeiting affect relatively few industry players, and that most artists,
smaller labels and others are otherwise thriving.
"Faced by file sharing of their work on an unprecedented scale, many of
the Canadian artists we represent - and the many people who work with them -
are finding it increasingly hard to earn even a modest living from music,"
said Brian Hetherman, President of the Music Managers Forum and President of
Cerberus Artist Management and Curve Music. "The Throne Speech marks a new
chapter in the government's agenda, and that agenda must include intellectual
"We need clear legislation immediately to protect the right of Canadian
music creators and copyright owners to be fairly compensated for their work in
the digital world," said Catharine Saxberg, Executive Director, CMPA. "The
vitality of Canadian culture is undermined when it becomes tougher to fulfil
the dream of a career in music."
The organizations behind the Throne Speech call join a growing chorus of
public and private sector voices demanding decisive government action on IP
rights. These include the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian
Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, Entertainment Software Association and Canadian
Motion Picture Distributors Association, among others. This spring, reports by
two Parliamentary committees - Industry, Science and Technology (INDU), and
Public Safety and National Security (SECU) - joined previous Heritage
Committee calls for government reforms.
In 2007 to the end of July, wholesale sales of CDs, music DVDs and other
"physical" music formats fell 20 percent to $183 million, from $230 million a
year earlier, according to CRIA figures, which represent the vast majority of
music sales in Canada. This follows a 48 percent drop in retail sales of
physical formats since the advent of widespread unauthorized file-swapping in
1999 and the proliferation of CD and music DVD counterfeiting in recent years
(from $1.3 billion in 1999 to $679 million in 2006).
Sales of digital music - downloads, subscription services and mobile
music - comprised an estimated 6 percent of the Canadian market in 2006 - far
short of the level needed to replace lost physical sales. In contrast, digital
sales in the US, where robust copyright laws and other measures against piracy
are in place, comprised 17 percent of the total market last year. There, per
capita digital music sales are nearly four times those in Canada.
Faced with the continued impact of piracy and counterfeiting on its
sales, Canada's music industry seeks a Throne Speech that includes specific
plans for tougher laws and enforcement in line with the recommendations of the
INDU and SECU committees. These include ratification of the World Intellectual
Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and
Phonograms Treaty; legislation imposing liability on individuals who
distribute pirated digital works and who manufacture or distribute
circumvention devices for commercial gain; new criminal provisions making it
an offence to make, import and sell counterfeit goods; and adequate resources
for police and prosecutors to address counterfeiting and piracy.
Such measures would bring Canada in line with almost all of its major
trading partners in the developed world. Governments in countries like
Germany, the UK and the Netherlands have proven that better protection of IP
rights not only is doable, but also is effective in stemming counterfeiting
and piracy. Plus, as the Industry Committee pointed out in its report, the
adequate enforcement of IP rights "facilitate(s) and encourage(s) the pursuit
of innovation" - a fundamental building block of economic growth and
prosperity in the 21st century.
"By now, the solutions to counterfeiting and piracy are becoming as well
understood as the problems," said Graham Henderson, President, CRIA. "For the
sake of artists and everyone trying to earn a living in music, and the goal of
a bright future for Canadian music, it is imperative that the Government
signal its intention to act on IP rights in the Throne Speech."
About the Canadian Independent Record Production Association
The Canadian Independent Record Production Association is the trade
organization representing the independent sector of the Canadian music and
sound recording industry. For 30 years CIRPA has been the collective voice of
independent music in English-speaking Canada.
About the Canadian Music Publishers Association
Since 1949 the Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA) has ensured
the views of music publishers working in Canada and its members are heard. It
is our mission to promote the interests of music publishers and their
songwriting partners through advocacy, communication, and education.
About the Canadian Recording Industry Association
The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) promotes the interests
of Canadian record companies.
About Music Managers Forum Canada
The Music Managers Forum is an international not-for-profit association
that was founded in 1992 in the U.K. Its formation was intended to give
managers an opportunity to discuss, educate each other and create a
much-needed voice within the industry. Inspired by the UK example, the MMF
Canada was launched as an ad-hoc organization in 1994, and was federally
incorporated as a not-for-profit association in 2000.
For further information:
For further information: Duncan McKie, CIRPA, (416) 485-3152 x232,
firstname.lastname@example.org; Catharine Saxberg, CMPA, (416) 926-7952,
email@example.com; Brian Hetherman, Music Managers Forum, (416)
596-6793, firstname.lastname@example.org; Don Hogarth (for CRIA), (416) 967-7272,