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September 11,2009

By electronic submission: info@copyrightconsultation.gc.ca

Re: Copyright Reform - Consultation

Please find enclosed the submission of the International Alliance of Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, its territories and Canada (the "IATSE"), with respect to the above-noted consultation.

Introduction

The IATSE was founded in 1893 (1898 in Canada) and now has nearly 120,000 members, 16,000 of whom are in Canada; making it the largest trade union in the entertainment industry. The IATSE has 38 locals across Canada representing workers primarily in the entertainment industry, with the majority employed in motion picture & television production. Our members are integral to the creative and technical production of motion pictures and television in Canada.

The IATSE represents workers, not actors, writers, producers or directors. We represent working men and women who earn their livelihood in the motion picture and television industry. Our members include electricians, set designers, costumers, editors, special effects technicians, camera operators, grips, scenic artists and set builders (to name a few of our classifications) who work on big budgeted foreign service productions from the United States such as Watchmen in Vancouver and Mummy 3 in Montreal, as well as on Canadian television and motion picture productions such as Trailer Park Boys in Halifax, Corner Gas in Regina and Passchendaele in Calgary.

For additional information on the IATSE, I would direct you to our website at: www.iatse-intl.org.

This submission will address the five key questions proposed by the government, namely:

  1. How Canada's copyright laws affect the IATSE and how existing laws should be modernized.
  2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how copyright changes should be made in order to withstand the test of time.
  3. Copyright changes that would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada.
  4. Copyright changes that would best foster competition and investment in Canada.
  5. Changes that would best position Canada as aleader in the global, digital economy.

1. How Copyright laws affect the IATSE and how existing laws should be modernized

For our members, the issues of combating piracy and protecting intellectual property are of paramount concem. Besides the famous actors and actresses, the number of individuals employed on the production of a given motion picture may be anywhere from 200 to 1,000 employees. They are not in front of the camera, but supply the absolutely necessary labour to make the movies.

In 2005 alone, piracy cost the US movie industry an estimated $6 billion. A recent study revealed that in 2005, piracy cost our industry more than 141,000 jobs and $5.5 billion in annual lost wages. The annual consumer spending loss in Canada due to film piracy is estimated at $225 million US dollars. This is not surprising given that an estimated 18% of Canada's movie watching public over 10 years old engaged in some form of film piracy in 2005 — the same percentage as in Germany and Russia, and only 1% less than in Mexico and China.

Our members in the US depend on residual payments to fund their health and retirement benefits; Piracy (whether from DVDs or illegal downloads) is costing our members literally hundreds of millions of dollars in benefit contributions.

The impact to our Canadian membership is seen in the threat of piracy to the overall health of the industry. For our members, there is no job security. They depend on a healthy industry to find enough employment to make ends meet. When the industry suffers because of piracy — i.e., when movies do not get made because of piracy — our members suffer, because they find themselves out of work.

The IATSE rejects the notions that piracy is a victimless crime or that file sharing is a reality that will not go away. We believe that it is theft! And we stand with the movie and music industries in support of strong new legislation to combat digital piracy; in particular:

  • New legislation must conform with WIPO "Internet" Treaties and ratify the treaties, including implementation of the protection of Technological Protection Measures (TPMs). TPMs are not anticonsumer as some anti-copyright interests would suggest; to the contrary, TPMs allow for the creation of new business models with greater consumer choice for how, when and where content can be accessed. In countries that have implemented WIPO compliant legislation, consumers have far more choice in accessing films and television programs online.
  • New legislation must contain a strong legal framework governing the responsibility and liability of internet service providers that ensures they playa role in preventing copyright infringement, including providing rights holders with an expeditious and effective means to stop the widespread dissemination of infringing material. As gatekeepers of the internet, we believe that ISPs are uniquely situated to help prevent the rampant digital piracy taking place on their networks, and we do not believe that they should be allowed to simply turn a blind eye to the problem. Accordingly, the legislation should require that ISPs institute an effective policy to deal with repeat infringers in order to qualify for safe harbor protections. Such a requirement would provide incentive for stakeholders to work together on a framework to address on-line piracy in away that is non-litigious and focuses on education and changing behavior.
  • A notice and notice system is clearly an inadequate solution to the massive problem of online piracy; we strongly disagree with anti-copyright interests which pretend that this system has been used successfully. In our submission, repeated notices without any escalation or consequence do not have any deterrent effect on repeat infringers.
  • Neither notice and notice nor graduated response is a substitute for a "notice and take down" system. New legislation should also contain "notice and take down" provisions to enable rights holders to have an expeditious and effective means to deal with today's commercial-scale piracy involving leech, streaming and video host sites.
  • New legislation must also provide clarity in the laws related to secondary liability. Copyright legislation must clearly enable rights holders to obtain effective remedies against those who intentionally encourage, induce or materially contribute to massive infringement of their works on line. Sites and services, and their operators which engage in such acts have been successfully prosecuted around the world using the doctrine of secondary liability. Lack of clarity surrounding the availability of this doctrine has contributed to a sharp rise in the number and size of illegitimate file sharing services operating in Canada. To give legitimate businesses the opportunity to flourish, the Government must enact strong laws that give rights holders an effective remedy against these illegitimate services and their operators.

2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how copyright changes should be made in order to withstand the test of time

As Canada moves beyond a manufacturing economy, Canadians recognize the importance of the creative industries to the strength of the overall Canadian economy. According to a recent Environics Research Study, 93% of Canadians view intellectual property as essential to Canada's long-term economic growth and prosperity and are seeking government leadership on the issue. According to a study commissioned by the Canadian Intellectual Property Council (CIPC), Canadians understand the impact of piracy on the digital creative economy. 67% of Canadians surveyed say that given the state of the economy today, it is less justifiable to buy counterfeit goods because it hurts Canadian manufacturers, retailers and employees who depend on the sale of genuine products.

Looking beyond the rhetoric of the anti-copyright interests, we see that Canadians want a strong economy with well paying secure jobs. In our submission, the government's role should be to support growth and job creation in the creative industries through strong new copyright legislation. In addition to the submissions set out above under point 1, such legislation should be clear and effective, provide guidance to Canadian consumers and create an environment where new legitimate business models can flourish. Technological neutrality is desirable but should not be used to justify broad new exceptions that would sacrifice the copyright protection that is desperately needed for Canadian creators and participants in the creative economy to continue to earn a reasonable living.

3. Copyright changes that would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada

Further to our other submissions above, we believe that the most significant way for Canada to foster innovation and creativity is to fulfill its obligation to implement the WIPO treaties. In the motion picture and television industry, implementation of the WIPO treaties, and in particular protection for TPMs, will lead to increased production levels and allow our employers to deliver content to consumers in new and innovative ways, thereby leading to increased job opportunities for Canadians including IATSE members.

4. Copyright changes that would best foster competition and investment in Canada.

Further to our other submissions, above, we believe that implementation of the WIPO treaties is essential to stimulating long-term investment in the creative industries in Canada and to enabling our employers to deliver content to consumers in new and innovative ways, thereby leading to job creation for Canadians including IATSE members.

5. Changes that would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy.

Further our other submissions, above; we submit that new copyright legislation must begin by implementing the WIPO treaties. Considering that all of Canada's major trading partners (the EU, the UK, France, the US, Australia, etc.) have already done so, we submit that Canada must as a bare minimum implement WIPO if it is to have any chance of becoming a leader in the global, digital economy, and particularly in the motion picture and television industry.

On behalf of the IATSE, thank you for the opportunity to make this written submission.

Sincerely,

John Morgan Lewis
International Vice President
Director of Canadian Affairs

Cc: Matthew D. Loeb, International President
IATSE Canadian Locals