Report – CRIA Goes Through Name Change

It may have been the most controversial name in the entire copyright debate, but a report is saying that you won’t be able to call it by its standard name anymore. The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) has reportedly changed it’s name to Music Canada.

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

Back room deals, hundred dollar a plate dinners, attempting to sue customers, threatening websites on questionable legal grounds, trying to import the DMCA to Canada, sued for billions for commercial scale piracy of music, tried to import a three strikes law in Canada, threatening politicians with deadlines to implement laws it wants, holding companies at ransom as a pressure tactic to implement a Canadian DMCA (i.e. Pandora), and having Canadian record labels abandon it for strategic differences. Indeed, the CRIA has made numerous headlines – many for all of the wrong reasons. For many, in Canada, CRIA was little more than the Canadian arm of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) whose influence comes from primarily and, almost exclusively, the big four multinational record companies. Salvaging the public relations reputation of such an organization might seem to be a lost cause by now since their record sometimes sounds more like a rap sheet than a list of accomplishments. For some, this latest move pretty much was an admission of that.

According to BillBoard magazine, the organization has decided to scrap its own name. The report says that the new name will be Music Canada. From the report:

“CRIA has been very focused on copyright reform for many years and we fully expect that our efforts will be rewarded with a modern copyright framework in Canada,” Henderson told Billboard. “But our role is also evolving and it was felt that in order to best support our members as they rebuild the marketplace, we needed an invigorated brand and direction.

“Music Canada will champion the music industry, beginning with a new music portal that is a very positive reflection of the music community in Canada and will become a comprehensive resource for those inside and outside of our community.”

According to the CRIA-issued press release, this music portal is the first effort of Music Canada. Beyond the music industry, it is expected to provide information and resources to its partners in government, media and business. “Consumers will also find valuable information guiding them towards effective and legal ways to access and use music,” it states.

If their word is anything to go by, it is a very different attitude from before where CRIAs stance was essentially that no marketplace can flourish unless copyright laws are in place to their liking. As a case-in point, Pandora said that licensing barriers have blocked their efforts from entering Canada which, at the time, debunked the myth suggested by CRIA that it was copyright laws stopping Pandora from entering Canada.

Russell McOrmond, in the mean time, wasn’t really convinced about the prospects of a change in policy. He commented on the move noting that many controversial organizations changed their name in an effort to cast off bad publicity:

CANCOPY became Access Copyright, and I expect them to change their name again. This name change was spin by an increasingly controversial organization, trying to shed some of the negative feelings associated with the previous name.

I suspect the Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada became Re:Sound as part of the lobbying by “makers of sound recordings” (recording labels) to suggest they are equal or even “superior” copyright holders in the larger music industry compared to actual authors (composers). Saying they are only “Neighbours” to music copyright holders (composers) clarified their intended subservient position in the music industry.Having the lobbiest representing the major foreign record labels calling themselves “Music Canada” is a mixture of both dishonesties. It is a name change from a controversial organization, which will distract people with short memories. The name also invalidly suggests they represent the “Music” industry in “Canada”. This organization doesn’t represent the music industry, but the decreasingly relevant subset known as the recording industry whose interests often conflict with composers and performers who make up the critical parts of the music industry. This organization is also predominantly foreign — they don’t represent Canadian interests so much as representing foreign interests to Canadians.

I personally find myself agreeing with McOrmond here. I find it highly unlikely that an RIAA lobbyist group in Canada would suddenly flip a switch and move on to actually selling music rather than constantly lobbying the government to change the laws so that they look like the highly flawed laws of the United States. Given the most recent push to get a “6 strike regime” in place in the US, such a thing, I would imagine, would be too tantalizing for CRIA to pass up; saying, “Look, the US changed their system. Everything the US does must be good and we need to do whatever the US does!”

One thing is for sure, I don’t see it being impossible that Canadians will be trying to stop this new organization called “Music Canada” from getting ISPs to implement a three strikes regime in the next year or so.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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