Independent Labels Create Own Coalition

In sharp contrast to recent events in the USA with the proposed legislation known as DMCA 2.0 (coupled with Unanimous disapproval) Canadian artists and labels have taken the exact opposite rout and created the Canadian Music Creators Coalition.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Earlier this month, 6 major labels signed an open letter (PDF) that has more then likely left more then a scar on their reputation last month with their study backfiring on them.

There’s then the formation of the Canadian Music Creators Coalition. Some of the major Canadian bands that are now under this coalition include: Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sum 41, Stars, Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace), Dave Bidini (Rheostatics), Billy Talent, John K. Samson (Weakerthans), Broken Social Scene, Sloan, Andrew Cash and Bob Wiseman (Co-founder Blue Rodeo).

Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies appeared on Canada AM for an interview (MOV). He addressed some of the issues facing consumers such as DRM and potential litigation for statutory damages.

According to the home page (and mentioned in the press release),

1. Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical
Artists do not want to sue music fans. The labels have been suing our fans against our will, and laws enabling these suits cannot be justified in our names. We oppose any copyright reforms that would make it easier for record companies to do this. The government should repeal provisions of the Copyright Act that allow labels to unfairly punish fans who share music for non-commercial purposes with statutory damages of $500 to $20,000 per song.

2. Digital Locks are Risky and Counterproductive
Artists do not support using digital locks to increase the labels’ control over the distribution, use and enjoyment of music or laws that prohibit circumvention of such technological measures. The government should not blindly implement decade-old treaties designed to give control to major labels and take choices away from artists and consumers. Laws should protect artists and consumers, not restrictive technologies. Consumers should be able to transfer the music they buy to other formats under a right of fair use, without having to pay twice.

3. Cultural Policy Should Support Actual Canadian Artists
The vast majority of new Canadian music is not promoted by major labels, which focus mostly on foreign artists. The government should use other policy tools to support actual Canadian artists and a thriving musical and cultural scene. The government should make a long-term commitment to grow support mechanisms like the Canada Music Fund and FACTOR, invest in music training and education, create limited tax shelters for copyright royalties, protect artists from inequalities in bargaining power and make collecting societies more transparent. ”

While this may all well be a file-sharers dream come true, there is still no telling what the Conservative government plans on doing with copyright reform. With major influence still coming from the CRIA (as witnessed by Canadians last year) Whether or not there will be a repeat performance is difficult to say at best, but with almost every major Canadian artist at odds with the CRIA, the playing field has shifted in favour of the Canadian consumer.


To clarify, there is no formal link between the 6 labels that left CRIA and the CMCC. Though Arts & Crafts – Social Scene/Jason Collett – and Nettwerk – Barenaked Ladies – were two of the labels involved in the CRIA departure. Both, if not all 6 labels are still members of CIRPA (Canadian Independent Record Production Association).

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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