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I am a Canadian with extensive knowledge of the music industry and work in it. As such, I have a bird's eye view of the time, energy and millions of dollars that are spent in Canada every year in connection with creating and maintaining the careers of recording artists. Ultimately, it is precisely those millions of dollars spent that are keeping thousands of Canadian's (in addition to the recording artists) employed in the Canadian music industry.
The cornerstone of the music industry, like all other entertainment industries, is copyright protection. Without adequate copyright protection, the business model upon which millions of dollars are being spent will crumble.
This is a pivotal time for all copyright-related industries in Canada. The choice for our lawmakers is simple: Either we do nothing and continue to be the laughing stock of the world through our severely outdated copyright laws which allows Canada to be used as a cesspool for online pirates or we modernize our Copyright Act immediately.
According to various studies, the amount of illegal music downloads more than doubles the amount of legal downloads in Canada, and surpasses the rates in most other countries, thus deeply eroding legitimate sales of music, with retail sales having declined in Canada by more than 50% since 1999. The Canadian music market is consistently outperformed by other countries and markets that have been able to combat a decline in retail sales with the advent of new digital services. In Canada, however, the lack of clear copyright laws creates business uncertainty and risk, and a disincentive to invest in innovative new models and services which form a legitimate digital market full of consumer choice. As a result, Canada is missing out on several exciting new foreign services who refuse to launch in Canada, and halting home-grown digital innovation before it even begins.
Furthermore, the government currently requires Canadian broadcasters, as a condition of their broadcast license, to pay a portion of their revenue to fostering the talent of Canadian recording artists (i.e., the Radio Starmaker Fund). Since the government has already decided that the Canadian music industry is worth investing in, the government should be motivated to implement copyright laws which adequately protect that investment.
I, like all the other tax-paying Canadians who support copyright protection, are not looking for some "radical" copyright changes. We are simply looking to receive the same protection that all other developed nations and Canada's major trading partners have long since enjoyed — no more, no less. As such, our copyright reforms must:
By implementing the above changes, this will:
I would like to sincerely thank the government for its attention to the very important issue of copyright protection. I trust that the outcome of the Copyright Town Halls and these online submissions will prove how critical it is for copyright reform to be implemented immediately.
Steve Teixeira — a very proud Canadian