Evidence of meeting #5 for Bill C-11 (41st Parliament, 1st Session) in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was copyright.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Stuart Johnston  President, Canadian Independent Music Association
  • Robert D'Eith  Secretary, Board of Directors, Canadian Independent Music Association
  • Janice Seline  Executive Director, Canadian Artists Representation Copyright Collective Inc.
  • John Lawford  Counsel, Canadian Consumer Initiative
  • Janet Lo  Counsel, Canadian Consumer Initiative
  • Jean-François Cormier  President and General Manager, Audio Ciné Films Inc.
  • Suzanne Hitchon  President and General Manager, Head Office, Criterion Pictures
  • Sylvie Lussier  President, Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma
  • John Fisher  Chief Executive Officer, Head Office, Criterion Pictures
  • Yves Légaré  Director General, Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma

4 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

Thank you, Mr. Lawford.

Now we will go to our first round of questioning, for five minutes. Up first is Mr. Moore.

February 29th, 2012 / 4 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Fundy Royal, NB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to our witnesses. Having listened to everyone as we went across the table, I think it illustrates the balancing act that's required as we try to craft future legislation for the country that balances the rights of creators with those of consumers.

I have a couple of questions. One issue that was raised by the Canadian Artists Representation Copyright Collective was the issue of moral rights. We hear about these from time to time; I usually hear about them in the context of political campaigns. I think it comes up once in a while.

You mentioned it in the context of a political campaign. Can you speak a bit more about that? As you know, those rights are enshrined in this piece of legislation. Why is it important, and what are some examples that would illustrate its importance?

4 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Artists Representation Copyright Collective Inc.

Janice Seline

It's funny, because English law called copyright “copyright”, the right to copy. The French call it droit d'auteur, which is deeper; it's the artist's right. The inclusion of moral rights kind of makes it that. It's your right to be credited or to remain anonymous, your right of the integrity of the work. People can't mutilate or overprint or crop your work or print it badly or destroy it without your approval. There's the right that I mentioned that K'naan invoked, that you can refuse to have your work associated with causes you don't approve of, which might damage your reputation. These are protections for an artist's reputation.

Regarding the photography instance I brought up, I said that if you give control of your work away to someone else so they can make copies without your input, it goes to the moral right if you can't control the quality of your work. If a bad copy is circulating and there are many bad copies around, you look bad. Similarly, with the user-generated, non-commercial content business.... I've seen artists where somebody has taken works and done things to them and put them back up on the Internet, and the artist's name is attached to them still. Yes, they've credited that artist, but the artist looks ridiculous, and they're not happy about it.

These are instances of moral rights infringements. Some of them are enormous, and some of them are very small, but it has to do with the artist protecting their reputation.

4 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Fundy Royal, NB

Thank you, Ms. Seline.

Mr. Johnston, we've heard the analogy before of the person who wouldn't walk into a CD store and steal a CD, but we hear about piracy, about artists and creators losing control over the material they've produced, and the impact that has. To what do you attribute that? I know there's been a lot of discussion about it, but why is it that some Canadians, some people, would be willing to engage in some acts that would take away that opportunity from artists but certainly not others, when in the end it amounts to the same hit?

4:05 p.m.

President, Canadian Independent Music Association

Stuart Johnston

Quite frankly, that's a difficult question to answer. It's hard for me to put myself into the shoes of any individual Canadian. What we are seeing, though, are the enablers out there who are making it possible for people to download music illegally. I'm talking about the isoHunts and the Megauploads, and those of that ilk.

Really, what we're talking about when it comes to stealing copyrighted material is talking about those so-called commercial entities that are basing their business model on stealing copyrighted material. We're not, quite frankly, interested in the young man in his basement who is downloading. We want to get to the source of it. We're not concerned about that young man himself at all.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Fundy Royal, NB

Could you speak quickly to the impact on your members, the impact on individual artists, of piracy?

4:05 p.m.

President, Canadian Independent Music Association

Stuart Johnston

Certainly. I'd like to pass that over to Bob, since he's in the trenches and he can answer it directly.

4:05 p.m.

Secretary, Board of Directors, Canadian Independent Music Association

Robert D'Eith

Absolutely, we feel it every day. The entire industry has globally gone from $30 billion a year to $14 billion and smaller in terms of sound recording. That has all to do with free downloading. The fact is that there are some great services out there, like iTunes. For me, personally as an artist, I still sell on iTunes, but it's probably one-tenth of what the sales were when CDs were still viable. What we've seen—

4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

Sorry, we're well over the time. You might be able to get that part out in another question. Sorry.

Thank you, Mr. Moore and Mr. D'Eith.

Now to Mr. Angus for five minutes.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Thank you.

It's a very interesting discussion.

Mr. Johnston, what do you want to raise the statutory damages to?

4:05 p.m.

President, Canadian Independent Music Association

Stuart Johnston

Quite frankly, we'd rather see no limit on statutory damages. But in the spirit of the act, we have not talked about a specific ceiling as an association. We were hoping to engage in more discussions on that with folks on your side of the table to talk about what is an appropriate level, if it is deemed that there should in fact be a level.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

I guess my concern is.... You know, I come from the music business, but I've seen how it was done in the United States, where we had multi-million-dollar lawsuits against individuals. You're telling us you're not against a kid in the basement, but Jammie Thomas-Rasset was hit with a $1.5 million fine for downloading 24 songs. Joel Tenenbaum was fined just under $1 million for a bunch of songs when he was 17.

That puts a really bad taste in the mouth of Canadians. We want to make sure that people are not doing piracy, but how do we know, if we raise this to unlimited damages, that you're not going to be going after kids? Because that's what the companies have done in the past, and Canadians are concerned about that.

4:05 p.m.

President, Canadian Independent Music Association

Stuart Johnston

Part of the language is so broad in the act that we really don't know what the definition of “individual” is versus “commercial” or “non-commercial”. That's part of the reason we approached this in the way we did: because we find that the definitions in the act are not specific enough to actually define who that kid in the basement is. Then we can sort of bypass that and go after the enablers.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Well, wouldn't you think it would be better to come to us and say let's define the act so that we're not going after the kids, as opposed to saying let's have unlimited damages? We want to make sure that the enablers are not getting a free ride here, but if you're saying “unlimited damages”, I'm hearing that could include kids. So if you're not sure who it is you're going after, I would suggest that if you could find some clarifying language, that would really help.

I am concerned about outlawing parody and satire. I've been a member of SOCAN for 30 years, and I've seen the industry change dramatically. Most of the bands—and I still hang out with bands now, although I'm getting a lot older and the bands are getting a lot younger, I have to admit that—talk about factor: they talk about touring support, and they talk about mechanical royalties, which is an excellent point that you raise, and the loss of the mechanical royalties. But I've never heard any band say they want to get rid of parody and satire, because bands do parody and satire. I've done parody and satire. Are you saying that should be against the law?

4:10 p.m.

President, Canadian Independent Music Association

Stuart Johnston

Well, what we're saying is that if we have a clause in there that does permit the use of parody and satire, first, there is no definition of that. Where are the boundaries? What do we really mean by parody and satire? And I think my—