Motion No. 4
That Bill C-32, in Clause 10, be amended by replacing lines 33 to 41 on page 14 with the following:
"(2) A person who for private and domestic purposes commissions the taking of a photograph or the making of a film has, where copyright subsists in the resulting work, the right not to have a ) copies of the work issued to the public, b ) the work exhibited or shown in public, or c ) the work broadcast or included in a cable programme service, and a person who does or authorizes the doing of any of those acts, without the consent of the person who commissions the photograph or film, infringes that right.''
Madam Speaker, I take issue with some of the comments made by certain members of the Reform Party, which I found to be in extremely bad faith, especially with respect to the danger radio stations will face with the introduction of neighbouring rights.
The aim of neighbouring rights is to afford performing artists and production houses the protection enjoyed by the citizens of the countries that signed the Rome Convention and to ensure that performing artists and producers receive fair and equitable royalties when they work, whether they are interpreting the works of creators or authors or producing their own works.
This has long been awaited and requested by artists. They were totally forgotten in Quebec and Canada when 50 countries signed the Rome Convention, which provides artists with a salary. I do not need to remind this House, and particularly my Reform colleagues, that the average annual salary of artists is between $7,000 and $13,000 per year.
Our objective was to ensure that the introduction of neighbouring rights did not penalize certain stations with lower revenues or facing difficult financial situations. We in the official opposition would have preferred the government leave the matter with the Copyright Board. The government preferred to set a floor or a ceiling in order to exempt a number of radio stations.
Our Reform colleagues make no mention of this important element of the bill, which provides that radio stations with $1.25 million or less in advertising revenues will pay only $100 a year in neighbouring rights. When I hear our Reform colleagues talking about the risk of stations closing and of jobs being lost, I think that is bad faith.
Neighbouring rights, I remind you, are those paid to performers and producers. They have been ignored for decades, although they are recognized by over 50 countries. We must at least understand that there is a whole category of artists called performers, who work and are not getting paid. They get no return on their work, because it is played on the radio or elsewhere.
These people are entitled to a fair income for their work, like everyone in society who works and is paid a fair wage. I have a hard time understanding the Reform Party's objection to people living or trying to live off their work as artists. The Reformers are defending the radio stations at all cost, crying wolf, saying that neighbouring rights will force stations everywhere to close, causing a loss of jobs.
This is crying wolf, because, after evaluation-and my own and others' discussions with representatives of radio stations-this significant $1,250,000 exemption means that the bulk of stations will simply be charged $100 annually, which does not jeopardize them in any way. Let us be clear on this: it does not jeopardize them in any way, contrary to what the Reform Party claims.
I would like to focus particularly on the Bloc's amendment in Group No. 3 of motions, reminding the government that it is merely intended to ensure that photographers are recognized as the author, on the same footing as other creative artists are by the bill.
I would like to point out this extremely important aspect, because the photographers themselves have been trying to gain recognition as artists for decades.
I invite the government to support my amendment on this. There is even a museum of photography here in the national capital. We know how the magazines use professional photographers for exhibitions. We know how some photographers have earned international acclaim as artists on the basis of their works. How can it be that the government has not yet lent an ear to the photographers, and included them in the bill and recognized them as artists?
In order to ensure proper attention to this, the Bloc motion provides that, when a person has a series of photographs taken of the family, the children, etc, it is clearly stated that the person who pays the photographer has ownership of the photos and therefore owns the work, and not the photographer.
In all cases, however, where photographers take pictures with a view to displaying them as works of art, it strikes me as completely logical in 1997, after decades of efforts to gain recognition, that photographic artists finally be recognized in the bill.
We moved this amendment because the bill lacked any clause recognizing photographers as artists and creators, and I hope the government will support our amendment and give recognition to photographers.