Intellectual Property Organizations Deliver Mixed Signals

The CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association) has recently launched another publicity campaign.

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

Their effort seems to be another attempt to drum up support for ratifying copyright with the highly controversial WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Treaties. So what makes this timing interesting?

On the 20th of May, the CRIA published another article that attacks the opposition to restrict copyright in copyright reform. Some may say that words are cheap, but when a large wealthy organization voices more opinion on the subject, all sides can’t help but at least take note.

Even this small effort may have had bad timing. One note that can be taken away from the larger story of six of Canada’s largest labels leaving the CRIA was the fact that the labels were all considered ‘Class B’ labels. One president of the major Canadian labels noted that the CRIA is serving the interest of multi-national labels.

One such ‘multi-national’ label is EMI. EMI recently published their earnings and the outlook has never been brighter. According to the report, business is booming including “Underlying profit before tax increased by 12.9%.”

What about something closer to home? According to an article published by CTV, “Losses to the Canadian economy due to software piracy were $943 million, down $166 million from 2004, [CAAST and BSA] said in a release.” But this is software piracy, wouldn’t the CRIA be more concerned with music piracy?

Going back to the CRIA’s article, the CRIA states, “Canadian sales figures for many emerging recording artists are appallingly low. Some artists are indifferent to this. For them, the sale of digital music files or CDs is unimportant-ancillary to live performance and merchandise sales. But for each one of these artists, there are thousands more creators (musicians, songwriters, inventors, software designers, authors, film producers and so on) who want to earn a living from the sale of their intellectual property.”

Clearly, the CRIA meant piracy in general and not just music specifically. So while the BSA (Business Software Alliance) and CAAST (Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft) say that Canada’s piracy is dropping, the CRIA claims “Canada has become a global pacesetter for movie, music and software piracy.” So which is it? Is Canada undergoing uncontrollable amounts of piracy or is piracy dropping? Clearly, opinions of Canada‚Äôs piracy issues are at odds with reports delivered by Intellectual Property holders.

As for the rest of the article, many key points can be familiarly identified with a speech Graham Henderson, president of the CRIA, delivered earlier this month. It seems as though the CRIA is having difficulty getting their message across, especially when critics are watching every move they make.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: