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In Response to Graham Henderson of CRIA

In Response to Graham Henderson of CRIA

Graham of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) recently went to Washington to speak about Canadian copyright laws. He had one particular comment that is worth responding to.

The story comes from the Toronto Star which shows Graham Henderson saying:

“There is a certain set of bloggers out there who think music is nothing more than a hobby, that it should be free. But I think Canadians as a whole are more open to supporting their creative industry and so we’re finally at the point where Ottawa is going to act. I refuse to believe that this brand-new digital era is going to make beggars of creators and send them back to the 1800s.”

This particular comment made my blood boil. It’s as if there are a couple of bloggers who are saying this, but Canadians think otherwise and thinking along these lines is somehow old fashion.

I am a Canadian artist and I know for a fact that CRIA does not even come close to representing the interests of Canadian content creators. There is a good reason why the popular Canadian record labels left CRIA when the Liberals Bill C-60 came around. The attitudes expressed by CRIA makes me proud to not be associated with them because I do not believe that suing your own fan base is a step in the right direction nor do I believe disconnecting users, instituting internet wide filtering, or locking everything down in copy protection will even begin to help creators in such a fluid time.

Henderson characterized those who give away their music for free as beggars from the 1800s which is completely untrue and creeps close to the defamatory line. Artists who give away their music for free are not simply beggars, but rather, fueling their own independent business model. Should artists choose to actively act on that business model is exclusively up to them. As an example, Toby Emerson gave away his own music for free for quite some time. He posted his music on sites like MySpace and several other free music hosting sites. His audience grew and grew and soon, he was one of the more well liked Canadian artist online. After a while, he started selling his music while growing his fan base. Today, he is one of the most popular Canadian House producer getting spots on Above and Beyond’s popular internet radio station, “Trance Around the World”

Toby Emerson is far from alone. Hundreds of thousands of artists are doing the exact same thing every day online. Are they all multi-millionaires? Hardly. Are all artists under the big four record labels multi-millionaires? Definitely not. The difference here is that artists who post their own music online for free actually own the rights to their own music while artists who sign a record label contract with the big four record labels have absolutely no control of their own music and even face censorship from their own record labels (Just ask OK-GO when they tried to allow for embedding of their music video on blogs)

Mr. Henderson, you are correct that Canadians are willing to pay for peoples music, but you are dead wrong if you say that the changes you want in the current legislation on copyright reform, Bill C-32, is the answer Canadian creators across the country (not just those signed under Sony BMG) is looking for when it comes to suing music fans for millions of dollars. I also think that the current road Bill C-32 with regards to digital locks is completely unnecessary.

Don’t you even go there if you say that this is merely about people downloading big four record label music without authorization. I own the rights to my own original creations. What I do with my own music that I created is my own [expletive]ing business. Characterizing creators like me as 1800s style beggars is an insult to music creators across this country and I am personally offended by this blatant attack on creators.

If you even consider trying to attack my business model by legislative or other means, I say this to you: Your failed business model is not my problem. Canadians will never tolerate any attempt to censor creators. If we choose to distribute our own creations on BitTorrent, we have every right to do so. Shutting down sites like this is an attempt to censor artists like me because we have one less vehicle to distribute our creations to the masses while choosing not to use big four distribution channels.

Henderson insulting creators like this was completely uncalled for and I say that attacking things you don’t even have a clue about is not very wise.

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Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson is perhaps one of the more well-known file-sharing and technology news writers around. A journalist in the field since 2005, his work has had semi-regular appearances on social news websites and even occasional appearances on major news outlets as well. Drew founded freezenet.ca and still contributes to ZeroPaid. Twitter | Google Plus
Laurel L. Russwurm
Laurel L. Russwurm

@Come on Funny choice of name, that, since the phrase "come on" is one sometimes used to denote the hook to a scam. There has yet to be any credible evidence that what is now called 'piracy' -- non-commercial personal use copying -- has caused any harm to any digital industry. In fact it seems to aid sales the same way radio play used to. Even p2p filesharing serves as an advertising platform. Piracy isn't the issue, it's the red herring being used to promote legislation that could prevent independent artists from distributing their work. That Independent Artists can distribute their own work digitally is the real threat to CRIA. @Anonymous The anticircumvention of digital locks provisions of Bill C-32 will certainly intrude on the rights of Independent creators to distribute their creations in digital form. Bill C-32 criminalizes circumvention of digital locks even for non-infringing uses. Which would make it illegal to circumvent digital locks on your ebook reader, even if it prevents you from reading a public domain book digitized by Project Gutenberg. Particularly since there is not even any requirement to warn consumers of the existence of DRM/TPM on software/hardware they purchase, this is ludicrous.

Anon
Anon

RIAA should check out this Internets thing I've been hearing a out, it could be HUGE

TerribleTony
TerribleTony

"Forcibly taken by pirates"? You're having a laugh aren't you? The artists still have a choice, and will continue to do so. So what if a few fans want to share music? Haven't they seen increases in revenue over the last couple of years? I think you'll find that music is doing very well thank you very much, and in the depths of a recession you rights-holders haven't even noticed.

slackfx
slackfx

The "real" problem is, that money oriented "selling companies" (do not want to call them labels) face nowadays the phenomenon of exhaustion: the "creative industry" market has grown too fast and in the wrongest possible direction. It is like overfertilizated potatoes: they are huge, but you probably would not eat them, as they are contaminated. So why it is a problem that "selling companies" want to make profits? That was OK in the 19th and first half of the 20th century where only a small percentage of people were able to create culture. In the second half of the 20th century education has become available to much many people in the west, the economy grew and with it the markets. In the creative market this meant, that more people were able to afford the luxury of culture and, on the other hand, many new talents could be discovered. This brings us to the most important point: cultural deployment is many times slower than the growth rates of the market. As the so called "labels" continued to grow and to extensively exploit the "creators", they quickly discovered, that they were failing to fill the market. But there was no supply of new "creators" for the future as the consume grew. They became just to big, but they also were at the point of no return, so they "created" their own "creators", POPularizing less educated, less talented... This is where we hit the boundary of growth for the first time. Time passed... Today I shudder every time somebody of "the labels" cries about file-sharers, pirates and so on, blaming them that they destroy the culture... They are not, this is just the second time the "labels" hit the boundary another time (they became an "industry"). The "difficulty" that they face today, is the human sense of justice: If people decide to spend their earned money they want an equivalent of cultural worth for it. But "culture" is not Culture anymore, so the majority of "creations" "created" by "creators" employed by the "industry" (too many quotes, I know) are just junk. It not because every one of them is a pseudo talent, but it is more because cultural worth does not grow on trees - you have to THINK about creation creation, and you have to UNDERSTAND what you are doing. And because not everyone is genius you have to be educated to do so, you have to COMMUNICATE with people to do so.... But this can never be the case if you have to "create" on monthly basis to satisfy the greedy interests of "the industry" - understandable that some creators want to liberate from that pressure (probably the ones on whom the aforementioned things DO apply). (expect sarcasm from here) At the moment we all are going to hit the boundary another time - the industry is becoming our "most" "respected" "legislator". So why are they doing it? When they say, that they want the "creators" to earn more, they say the truth - because this also raises their profits. Only their profits. More yachts for the management, more advertising, more lawsuits, more. More exploitation of real creators and a magnification more exploitation of the rest of humanity for the sake of profit. Capital punishment for is what they want, for taking without payment of what is not worth to be taken for payment. So what do we do now? Well, there is a solution as long as out governments are not completely corrupted by "the industry". As long there is no such commandment as "Thou shalt consume!" there IS a solution. It so is easy: be honest at least to yourself. Reduce your consume, do not listen to music in the train (speak to the people around you instead), do not buy anything you are not feeling good about - BUT also do not download what you are never going to buy... Well, we are lost otherwise. If I accidentally offended somebody, please forgive me, as it was not intended this way.

Anonymous
Anonymous

And where do you get this nonsense about being "oppressed" for wanting to give your music away for free? Where does Bill C32 say you can't do so? There are innumerate legal, free places you can upload your music to share with people for free if that is your choice. Why don't you just come clean and admit the real problem is you want OTHER peoples' work for free as well?

Come on.
Come on.

Surely you understand the difference between voluntarily giving your music away, and having it forcibly taken by pirates? You have the right to give anything you want away for free. Other artists have the right to charge for it. Piracy takes away artists' rights to choose.

re: Tony
re: Tony

You have no right to "share" anything of anyone else's property unless they give you permission. It is a violation of their rights for you to do so. This is precisely why such legislation is needed. But since when do pirates care about anyone else's civil rights? They just care about their "right" to pirate, free of any punishment or consequence.

ruben
ruben

what a horribly written post @Slack FX. I'm not even sure YOU know what you're trying to say. As for the original post, if the writer wants to give his product away that is his choice, but piracy in Canada has got to be stopped. PS: I agree that Graeme Henderson is a jerk.

D.AN
D.AN

"But since when do pirates care about anyone else’s civil rights?" A copyright is not even remotely at the same level as a civil right. But since this is the basis of your comment, this proves that you have no right mind in discussing about this issue.



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