No Reform until Fall

The success of the Canadian Music Creators Coalition (CMCC) has been nothing short of a success story.

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

The landscape for copyright reform may be set after a shaky budget bill was passed, but it seems that a guarantee for copyright reform also means that it’ll have to wait until at least the fall.

The CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association) suffered a disastrous turn of events while attempting to lobby to government and the general public to put a stop to file-sharing. While advocating the WIPO treaties, the lobbying does not come without its share of controversy. While some may agree on Graham Henderson’s ‘lawlessness’ comments, the resistance to DRM (Digital Rights Management) and litigation without evidence, among other things, in Canada was spearheaded recently by the CMCC (Canadian Music Creators Coalition.)

Starting just last month, the CMCC gained a lot of public support including the support of an entire political party. The success was also apparent by the expansion of the CMCC’s list of supporting artists. The list is now: “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, Bob Wiseman (cofounder of Blue Rodeo), Sam Roberts, Greg Keelor (Blue Rodeo), Bob Ezrin, Feist, Arlen Thompson (Wolf Parade), Randy Bachman, Metric, The New Pornographers, Bill Henderson (Chilliwack), Ronnie King (The Stampeders), Lionel Dean Jarvis (Music Director/Bassist for Nelly Furtado), Ashwin Sood, Lighthouse, Luke Doucet, Blair Packham, Chris Tate, Craig Sheppard (Johnny Favourite Swing Orchestra), Chris Hogan, Golden Seals, Aaron Soloman, Dennis Ellsworth (The Little Pilgrims), Likewater, Neil Layton, The Johnny V Trio, Oneeyedjacks, Moneyshot ” according to the CMCC’s home page.

Try as many sides might, it looks like Copyright reform isn’t going to really happen right away. David Fewer of CIPPIC (Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic) told, “The government is actively consulting on copyright issues. They wouldn’t be doing that unless they were looking at legislation. We don’t believe the government has yet taken a position on copyright or given drafting instructions, and no one has said we are going to see a bill in the fall, but all indications are that the government is looking to get itself in the position to do something along that timeframe.”

David Fewer isn’t alone. An article in the Globe and Mail said, that copyright reform “isn’t likely to come until the fall,” claimed an unnamed insider.

With copyright reform seeming to be a good distance away yet, it seems likely that the CRIA will have some time to get back on their feet after the six major Canadian labels left them. Recent movements in the media from the CRIA suggests that they aren’t wasting any time. One critic titled a recent entry, “Protect artists – From Graham Henderson

With so much lobbying, there is plenty to indicate that the debate won’t let up between now and even after the new copyright reform bill is tabled. Still, the question is, what will the Conservatives end up tabling? The only clue in existence currently is what was mentioned in a blog posting by Howard Knopf. According to the transcript, Bev Oda said, “we will be introducing a new copyright bill that will expedite meeting our international obligations but also making sure that we have a copyright regime and a copyright framework that’s appropriate.”

While not necessarily saying that it’ll be about implementing the WIPO treaties, she also didn’t say specifically that there will be file-sharing friendly legislation either. A surprisingly neutral comment in a debate with very entrenched sides.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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