My name is Luc Fortin and I am the president of the Guilde des musiciens et des musiciennes du Québec. I am joined by Éric Lefebvre, the secretary-treasurer of our association.
We are pleased to appear before you this morning to share our comments on the remuneration models for the work of the musicians we are representing.
First and foremost, it's important to say a few words about our association.
The Guilde des musiciens et des musiciennes du Québec is an artists' association that brings together instrumentalists, conductors and musicians who perform certain related functions. It is affiliated with the American Federation of Musicians, as Local 406, and has over 3,200 members. Our association is also affiliated with the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec.
Finally, the Guilde is legally recognized under federal and Quebec legislation on the status of the artist to represent all professional musicians in Quebec, while acting collectively on behalf of musicians, when it considers that their interests are affected.
We understand that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage must look at the remuneration models for artists in the context of copyright. It is important to note that the designation of the performers' performances as a copyright category is relatively new. Actually, since September 1, 1997, the Copyright Act provides for certain rights that performers can exercise over their performances. Those rights were improved in November 2012, when new exclusive sound recording rights were introduced.
To that end, we know that the Copyright Act provides for two categories of rights for performers. First, there are the so-called exclusive rights, which mainly deal with the fixation, reproduction, distribution and the making available of the artist's performance in certain situations. Second, there are two rights to remuneration, one for the public communication of marketed sound recordings, also known as equitable remuneration, managed by the music licensing company Re:Sound, and the other for private copying, managed by the Canadian Private Copying Collective.
Of all those rights, the equitable remuneration is still now the most significant, having given rise to several Re:Sound tariffs certified by the Copyright Board of Canada.
It should be noted that, in addition to the royalties paid by collective societies, the Guilde negotiates remuneration for the use of musicians' recorded performances under its collective agreements, mainly in audiovisual productions, with producers and broadcasters such as Radio-Canada or Télé-Québec.
The royalties for performers under collective agreements have been negotiated for several decades. The 1997 and 2012 amendments to the Copyright Act changed part of the legal framework, but our concerns have not subsided.
What are the concerns? It's simple: musicians are getting poorer every year. We see that the new rights granted to performers do not improve their remuneration. Either the structural changes of the music industry initiated by Google, Amazon, and Facebook, among others, are ensuring that the middle class of musicians has now become a class of poor artists, leaving a few ultra-rich artists and producers with 95% of the revenues generated by the industry, or the new rights that benefit performers still have no impact because of legislative provisions or regulations being passed that have the opposite effect.
As an example, what is the use of the right to remuneration for private copying of sound recordings if the plan applies only to blank CDs, which no one uses for reproduction any more?
The Supreme Court has already indicated that the legislation is technologically neutral. Why is there a double standard when it comes to regulatory amendments to benefit artists and creators? It is important to ensure that all reproduction media, such as SIM cards, USB sticks or hard drives, are covered.
Similarly, in 2012, new exclusive making available and distribution rights for performers were introduced to enable the enforcement of the rights on the Internet and on existing media, such as CDs. One wonders what those rights are for, if the money from streaming remains at subsistence level and the responsibility of Internet service providers is still not recognized because of their intermediary status.
Finally, what is the point of the new exclusive distribution rights if the main source of music listening is now streaming, as confirmed by the survey on online consumption of copyrighted content, commissioned by the Canadian government in 2017? In fact, in the three months leading up to the November 2017 survey, 11.2 million Internet users streamed music online. Clearly, this reality has an impact on the sale of sound recordings, both in the form of CDs and online downloads. It is important to obtain compensation from Internet service providers, which are taking unfair advantage of the situation.
Furthermore, when collective agreements are negotiated, we are affected by the web giants, who now dictate the rules. Take, for example, a television program: broadcasters now impose additional unpaid uses on producers because of the decline in revenue associated with online services. In turn, producers demand unpaid uses from artists because of pressure from broadcasters. As a result, artists' earnings decline.
We can look at the various remuneration models based on a number of parameters—we would be pleased to share them with you—either because they were presented to the Copyright Board of Canada or because collective agreements already incorporate certain models. For us, the best applicable model is based on copyright law drafted simply to be effective and to allow rights holders to obtain reasonable remuneration for the use of their works and performances.
Mechanisms must also be put in place to rebalance the forces at play, while no longer using legislation to weaken the rights of rights holders through case law that puts the rights of users and creators on equal footing, as in the case of literary works, or that allows an industry to continue to decline, as in the case of music.
We recommend three possible solutions: amend the Copyright Act so that private copying levy applies to all media used to reproduce a recording; amend the Copyright Act so that the private copying levy applies to all reproduction devices and sound recordings; and finally, make Internet service providers liable by eliminating the exemption they enjoy under section 31.1 of the Copyright Act.
In fact, this has become complicated because of the amendments made to the legislation over the past several years, diluting the effectiveness of those rights. Too many exceptions are now in effect.
We are now ready to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you for this opportunity to be here today.
I'm here with Vince Degiorgio. He is the chair of the Canadian Music Publishers Association and owner of CYMBA Music Publishing. Vince, as you will hear, is a music publisher and he is a songwriter. His voice adds much to this discussion.
While some musicians record their own songs, there are many who do not. Instead, they either co-write their tracks with songwriters or perform songs written by other songwriters. Additionally, there are many composers who create the soundtracks of your favourite movies and television shows. They do not have celebrity names but are part of a very important creative economy in Canada.
Canadian Music Publishers Association represents music publishers of all sizes, although most of our members are small or medium-sized businesses like Vince's. These companies all represent and invest in thousands of Canadian songs, songwriters, and composers who are heard daily on the radio, on streaming services, in video games, and in film and television productions around the world.
A music publisher is a partner in the creative process. Music publishers are innovators, and their strong export strategies have allowed these entrepreneurs to compete internationally, with two-thirds of their revenues now coming from foreign sources. Simply put, we can't count on one market alone to be successful.
Music publishing is about championing a songwriter and a song through the lifetime of their career and a song's copyright. Our members take a long-term perspective and work a lot behind the scenes to create value. The most valuable songs can be covered over and over again and continue to be heard in audio-visual productions long after the first recording.
For example, Neville Quinlan of PeerMusic is a music publisher member with both a large foreign catalogue and a Canadian one that includes the songs of The Tragically Hip and Royal Wood. A number of Peer's titles will come into public domain soon because of Canada's copyright legislation not being in line with international standards. Several songs in Peer's catalogues are classics, which are licensed in movies, television shows, or commercial advertisements. These are known as syncs. Day to day these songs may not generate much money. However, holding onto that copyright over an extra 20 years can translate into thousands of dollars if a good deal is in place. One or two songs in a catalogue can make a huge difference to the viability of a music publisher. The strongest and most stable publishers are those who own a balanced portfolio of songs including proven older catalogues and newer creations. The revenues from those tried-and-true songs allow a music publisher to take a risk, to invest in an emerging songwriter. Neville just signed a publishing deal with the members of the Jerry Cans and has already found them sync placements.
For this reason we ask you to extend the term of copyright in works to the life of the author plus 70 years, consistent with the international standards and consistent with our major trading partners.
I would also like to address the value gap that is the result of safe harbour laws and exceptions. It is important that Parliament not introduce new exceptions that play havoc with the lives of creators and small business. We also ask that you re-examine the exceptions that were introduced in 2012 and amend the section on network services to address the value gap by treating Internet intermediaries as more than dumb pipes and making them liable for infringing activities in certain circumstances.
Additionally, if the music publishing sector is to thrive, the private copying regime should be technologically neutral. Meanwhile the digital marketplace has remained anything but stagnant over the last few years. Improving the efficiency of the Copyright Board's processes and timelines and predictability of its decisions through a combination of legislated and regulatory changes is essential. We know that work has started on this and appreciate that this has been prioritized.
The word “transparency” has already surfaced many times in this hearing. I am proud to live in Canada where the collective societies that work for music publishers, composers, and songwriters are some of the best in the world. They deal in the world of micropayments and report back to their stakeholders in a transparent and efficient manner. Our collectives and music publisher members continue to invest millions of dollars in metadata and in technology. We have also heard in the past two weeks about the need for more education. We agree. As a trade organization, we have partnered with WorkInCulture to look at skill gaps in the industry and look at rolling out training programs to new employees at music publishing companies and to others in the industry, such as managers and labels who may need to learn more about how to monetize their copyrights on a global basis.
We look forward to the opportunity to discuss these proposals and other potential solutions with government representatives through the review process.
Thank you, committee members, for conducting this review.
As Margaret mentioned, I serve on the Canadian Music Publishers Association board of directors. I'm also the founder and president of CYMBA Music Publishing. I am a music publisher and I am also a songwriter, but you have never—probably—heard of me until today. I write lyrics and create melodies, and others perform my songs. I never tour, and I definitely cannot make any money on T-shirts.
Voices: Oh, oh!
Mr. Vince Degiorgio: My lyrics have been recorded in 13 different languages in over 20 countries around the world, with sales of my creations exceeding 30 million units in many different countries. One of my biggest successes was writing the lyrics, creating the melodies, and doing voice-overs for the debut record of an artist named Caro Emerald. That album, Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor, was number one in the Netherlands for eight months, and broke the record set by Michael Jackson's Thriller. The follow-up debuted at number one in the U.K. and in the Netherlands. Two weeks ago, I travelled to the Netherlands to co-write Caro's third album, which she will be releasing this year.
I have travelled around the world 16 times, stopping in various locations to write songs for anybody and with anybody. A typical writing day is rarely typical, starting by meeting someone who's been recommended by a music publisher or a network connection. After a five-minute chat, an idea is usually presented to me, or we begin to talk about a subject to write about. In my world, the artist, who we set out to impress, may be so, because they are not involved in the writing session itself. My collaborators and I dive into the process with an individual or group to tailor a song, as it is written with them in mind. This is often referred to as a “lead”.
Once the song is written, we discuss the post-production process of getting the right vocalists, adding additional instruments, and doing final touches in order to have the best possible presentation of our work. The work does not end there, in any case. It simply begins. I take off my songwriter hat, put on my publisher hat, and begin to pitch or exploit the creation and distribute it to our global network for consideration.
Some say a music publisher is a manager of songs. Others say a publisher is to breathe new life into existing songs, or to create that work in different avenues for placement, also in international markets. Either way, the songs that my writers and I write are, in my mind as a publisher, timeless, and it is my personal mission to make sure they remain vital within our catalogue.
As a publisher, I now work with a roster of writers to share my experiences. They include multiple award winner Dennis Ellsworth, Nova Scotia's rising star Reeny Smith, and Alberta's Talltale and multiple Juno award winner Keshia Chanté. Vancouver's Davor Vulama has been writing songs and scoring films and TV shows for the past 18 years with CYMBA. In the months ahead, we will introduce a new wave of signings as we enter our 25th year.
My music publisher colleagues and I invest in thousands of Canadian songs and songwriters heard daily on the radio, on streaming services, in video games, and in film and television productions around the world. We pay for artist development through creativity on a number of levels, and nurture our writers in order for them to learn that their market is the entire globe and not simply their own backyard at home. I've always referred to my fellow publishers as the spine of the music industry—
Good morning, Madam Chair and members of the committee.
First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me to appear before you today.
The Copyright Act is a major source of revenue for the Canadian cultural sector. Right now, many stakeholders benefit from the value generated by culture, but artists and creators benefit too little. I believe that this review of the Copyright Act is an opportunity to correct the situation.
I will first tell you a little about the Association des professionnels de l'édition musicale (APEM) and what our publishers do, before highlighting a few important points related to the Copyright Act that are of fundamental importance for the remuneration of artists and creators.
The Association des professionnels de l'édition musicale represents Quebec and francophone music publishers in Canada. Our members are in charge of 830 publishing houses with approximately 400,000 musical works. Music publishers are partners with songwriters and help create, promote and manage works. As professionals in copyright management and creators' career development, publishers are more or less agents for songwriters and their works. Typically, a publishing house works with several songwriters to create new works and presents catalogues of existing musical works.
I will move on to the various points about the Copyright Act.
I would first like to point out that the APEM is a member of the Canadian Music Policy Coalition, which has produced a 34-page document detailing amendments to the Copyright Act. Basically, the entire music industry has signed the document. I'm sure you have a copy; if not, I'd be happy to provide you with one. I think it's extraordinary that the entire music industry supports the same document for the revision of the Copyright Act. The APEM has nevertheless zeroed in on few points to discuss with you this morning.
First, the provisions on network services must be amended in order to make Internet service providers accountable and to obtain royalty payments. Internet service providers derive significant profits from the use of copyrighted content. Bandwidth is used to access content, which gives them significant profits, while telecommunications companies made earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), of 39.8% in 2015, which is a lot. According to the CRTC, those companies do not pay royalties under the exception set out in section 31.1 of the Copyright Act. This exception should be amended to require Internet service providers to obtain licences from rights holders. In addition, Internet intermediaries must not be considered as mere channels of transmission, but should, under certain circumstances, be liable for copyright infringements.
Second, the private copying regime needs to become technologically neutral. A private copying levy is now collected on blank CDs in order to compensate rights holders for music copies made for the personal use of Canadians. Of course, blank CDs are becoming increasingly obsolete, but the act is preventing the private copying regime from evolving with technology. Current revenues from the private copying levy given to music creators have decreased by 89%, from $38 million in 2004 to $3 million in 2016. That's a steep drop.
It is important to take advantage of the current review of the Copyright Act to make the private copying regime technologically neutral, thereby making levies payable on audio recording media. Many countries, including Germany, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland and the Netherlands, have adopted private copying regimes that apply levies on a wide variety of audio recording media and devices, including tablets and smartphones. It would be up to the Copyright Board of Canada to set the value of those tariffs. For example, in Europe, the private copying levy on smartphones averages $2.80.
This levy would be payable by the manufacturers and importers of the devices. There is every indication that those costs would not be passed on to the consumer, first, because more and more Canadians are not purchasing their devices but renting them on a monthly basis, and second, because device prices are set according to marketing criteria. It would be quite surprising to see the price of the iPhone X go up from $1,350 to $1,353 if a $3 private copying levy is introduced. Furthermore, European research comparing the prices of devices on an international scale has revealed that they do not depend on private copying levies. Clearly, music benefits the companies selling those devices tremendously, and they have the means to pay a royalty to the rights holders who contribute to their enrichment.
Third, the term of copyright protection must be extended to 70 years after the author's death. The term of copyright protection in Canada is the life of the author plus 50 years, whereas in the vast majority of OECD countries, it is plus 70 years.
In 1993, a European Union directive recommending that terms of protection be extended underlined the fact that the minimum length of protection provided for in the Berne Convention on Literary and Artistic Works aimed at offering protection to creators and to the first two generations after them. As it is, the average life expectancy in the European Union has increased to the point where the length of protection does not suffice to cover two generations. I believe that it is also the case in Canada in 2018.
As far as exports are concerned, Canadian rights-holders are at a disadvantage since their works are subject to a lesser international protection because of our Copyright Act. Canadian legislation should not hinder the promotion of our creators' works internationally. For music publishers, extending the length of protection to 70 years after the author's death means an increase in revenue, which would be reinvested in the career development of Canadian songwriters and composers, for instance.
Fourth, we must specify and eliminate exceptions. The number and nature of exceptions in the Copyright Act deprive rights-holders of substantial revenue that they should normally receive. Since I don't have time to address every single exception this morning, I'd invite you to refer to the document of the coalition for a Canadian music policy, which covers each of these exceptions in details.
Fifth, a functional Copyright Board would be crucial. I know very well that a review of the Board is underway, but I would simply like to underline the importance of its reform. The Copyright Board plays an essential role in the enforcement of the law. The time it presently takes to render decisions is not in keeping with today's environment. Uncertainty surrounding the value of copyright can be detrimental to publishers, to writers-composers, and to the music industry as a whole. For instance, we must allow collectives to agree directly with music users. In order to encourage remuneration for artists and creators, I would ask you to please move along quickly with the Copyright Board's reform. It's essential.
Sixth, we must work to improve system-wide coherence. In Canada, cultural industries have managed to develop with the help of an array of financial, legislative, and regulatory measures. The philosophy underlying these measures that promote our culture must not be threatened by technological changes. Today, the CRTC will publish a long-awaited report. Granted, it does not concern the Copyright Act directly, but it certainly touches upon remuneration for artists and creators. The CRTC exemption order targeting new media must end without delay. We need not wait until the review of the Broadcasting Act and of the Telecommunications Act, which can be done in parallel. The governor-in-council has the authority to issue a direction order to ask the CRTC to lift the exemption targeting new media. It's high time that these companies also took part in the continued growth of our culture.
Thank you. I'm ready to answer your questions.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Madam Chair and Committee members, on behalf of music creators, we thank you for giving us the opportunity to take part in your study of remuneration models for artists and creative industries in the context of the Copyright Act review.
Since my colleagues and myself see eye to eye on many things, but not in all cases, there could be some overlap.
My name is Marie-Josée Dupré. I'm the Executive Director of the Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec, better known as SPACQ. Our organization was created 37 years ago to promote, to protect and to develop in every way possible the economic, social, and professional interests of our members, that is, songwriters and composers.
We wish to express our concerns and to highlight the situation of creators who, very often, work behind the scenes and are not necessarily well known headline performers, although there are more and more of them performing to broaden their horizons and to increase their possibilities of earning a living with their art.
Culture plays an important role in the Canadian economy, but do all players benefit from it? Here are the elements that we deem essential to a better remuneration for creators.
I will first talk about digital delivery. The royalties collected by creators are meagre, and for most of them, current remuneration is entirely inadequate. In the physical world, whether we listen to a record once or 100 times, creators get paid by song and by album. In the digital world, their work must have been played to a certain extent for them to be able to enjoy a minimal income one day.
Pierre Lapointe and David Bussières, two of our members, testified before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology on the 8th of May. In that context, they recounted that their revenues from digital delivery were simply derisory. Pierre Lapointe said that he had gotten $500 after his songs had been played a million times. David Bussières added that after generating 60 000 views on YouTube, his group had received $151.
At the moment, the great actors in the telecommunications sector are in no way responsible for all the digital delivery from their networks. We think it unlikely that they don't know what goes through their networks. They use music and other cultural products as a call to consumers. As a matter of fact, the monthly fees paid for the access service are significant, but there is no direct return for creators. Internet access providers know full well the use of their bandwidth. Besides, they wouldn't spend their time investing millions of dollars to increase their clients' listening capacity online if it were not the case — they certainly don't do it so people can access Wikipedia. As such, legal consumption doesn't translate into adequate remuneration for creators.
The legislator is responsible for taking the necessary measures to ensure that creators are adequately compensated for all uses of their work. If creators benefit from digital delivery, conversely, users benefit from countless amounts of creative content. A fair and equitable remuneration is essential to the survival of creativity.
The private copying regime was established in 1997. It allows Canadian users to reproduce the musical content of their choice while ensuring that they get compensated for this use. While this regime resulted in boom years revenue-wise, the much appreciated and most popular technological support at that time, the blank CD, has almost disappeared over the years, along with an important revenue source for creators. The current regime, which was meant to recognize a technological neutrality principle, was unfortunately limited to a support whose use has now fallen into disuse, disregarding all technological advances with respect to supports, like phones and tablets, which led to its obsolescence.
It is imperative that we address this situation by ensuring we have an open-ended list of supports, which includes all existing and future supports. Moreover, it's interesting to see that the businesses with which creators interact, our partners, include in the wording of their contracts the capacity to broadcast and to reproduce works by any existing or future means, but that the legislator himself curbs the remuneration of creators by establishing a regime that doesn't keep up with technological developments.
As for the Copyright Board reform, it is essential to come to a streamlining of the procedures and to faster decisions to make it possible for creators to receive an adjusted or increased remuneration for each situation under review and, at the same time, to allow users to know what to expect in a reasonable amount of time. In addition to being a major irritant for users, waiting several years for decisions to be made doesn't allow for effective enforcement by collectives. Additionally, these long wait times can make it so that the uses on which fees are based and issues related to them are no longer the same given the speed with which technologies develop.
Government must ensure that mechanisms are implemented in order to accelerate the Board's decision-making processes.
As for the duration of copyright, as we told you earlier, many countries in the world have already opted for a period of 70 years after the death of the writer. Yet, it is still 50 years in Canada. We must admit that this difference puts our creators at a disadvantage compared to creators from our main trading partners. Countries that have increased the duration of copyright thus underline the importance and value of the work of creators. It is what their cultural identity is all about and it constitutes an important part of their economy. Canada must follow in its partners' footsteps to show that it is willing to give better recognition to creation and, at the same time, to demonstrate reciprocity with foreign creators.
My colleague Margaret McGuffin talked about one aspect of transparency. I will talk about a different aspect, that Ms. Nathalie Théberge brought up when she last testified before your committee. She highlighted the importance of educating creators regarding copyright, contracts, and their implications. Of course, I find this issue interesting. I've had to check over 300 contracts since taking up my position. New artists are more and more interested in the contractual aspect of their career. They want to understand financial obligations and implications. For an artist, entrepreneurial spirit is not a given. Our role, which is crucial, is to guide them and to help them understand how the financial aspect will one day impact their career. If certain shares might seem fair and equitable, the possibility to earn a living as a creator is better for a business because it represents several artists. Indeed, the creator has nothing but his or her own repertoire.
If the value of musical works consumed and used doesn't reflect a fair remuneration, it's culture in general that loses out. Creators are at the heart of culture. Without them, no content would be possible. The legislator must show its willingness to encourage it, to recognize it, and to showcase it.
We must ensure that royalties related to digital delivery reflect the magnitude of cultural consumption; that access providers be asked to contribute to remuneration and compensation mechanisms; that the private copying regime be upgraded so that technological supports include those that exist and those that will be discovered; that we have a Copyright Board that is strong, well structured, and capable of making the best decisions faster and in everyone's interest; that the duration of copyright be raised to 70 years to allow us to be more competitive in relation to our partners; and that creators be supported in the business world so that they can gradually learn to deal with it as artist entrepreneurs.
Thank you for listening to me.
In the last five years, the situation has evolved extremely fast. We're in a completely different universe. I'm thinking of the disappearance of the CD or of the physical album. That's what's happening at full speed. The drop in CD sales is not offset by the revenue from music played online or downloaded onto physical supports. In fact, the physical support is replaced by music you listen to live on demand or through playlists, virtual radio stations, and so on.
As a result, an artist no longer has the same possibilities today. I will give you an example from when there were albums.
In the past, there was a type of ecosystem surrounding the physical album. An artist would go on tour, and when he arrived in a town, the local record store had already announced his arrival a week before. Posters were placed in the store windows to announce a discount valid for a week on an album, for instance $15 instead of $17.95. There was a promotion. Radio stations would receive copies of the new album. As it is, all of this is in the process of completely falling apart because now, the work is virtual. It can be purchased on Spotify and on Apple Music at all times. We can't decide to release an album on Spotify on a given day and to plan a tour. It doesn't work like that anymore.
Nowadays, the revenues from Spotify are so meagre and low that artists can no longer hope to make a living with the broadcasting of their works. It's no longer possible. Writers are not the only ones suffering huge losses of rights, the same goes for performers. We spoke of the equitable compensation regime. It's interesting when works are broadcast a lot on the radio, but when they're played on Spotify and on Apple Music, artists receive next to nothing.
To add to the problem, if an artist records a physical album— they still exist and they're still published —and he wants to pursue his career, he must also allow it to be offered on online broadcasting services like Spotify. The person who listens to his album can download all the songs on his phone, listen to them when he pleases, for instance on a trip, but the artist will receive nothing. No royalty is paid for this reproduction.
One of the main consequences of this evolution is the disappearance of the traditional model.
Things have evolved a lot in recent years. Anywhere there is music, you will find publishers. They have diversified their sources of income a lot in the audiovisual area. Anywhere there is music, you will find them managing it and earning a profit from it. Music has never been seen in terms of value so much as it is now. They take the same pieces and publishers do a lot of work on them. One of the problems is that, in order to be paid, we have to have our music played.
That is why I talked about the CRTC a little earlier this morning. Currently, our music is being played very little, if at all, on online music services, particularly francophone music. So it seems critical to me to remove the exemption on new media broadcasting companies in order to let the CRTC do its job and in order for those companies to be part of a model that has been successful all over the world. Quotas on the radio were imitated by France, Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Catalunya, Ukraine, Canada and Venezuela. Canada started it, in fact, and I feel that we should continue with that interventionist philosophy.
Recently, Australia has asked for minimum recommended requirements for Australian content on music services in Australia. It is possible to do that, and we are not the only ones asking for it. Having our music played is what will allow us to do our thing, first, because we will be paid directly and second, because it will have an effect on our concerts, our popularity and a number of our activities. It is our gateway to having a value. If no one listens to your music, you will have no career and you will never be paid. It's as simple as that.
Now I am really grumpy this morning.
Once again, we have been witness to the incredible cynicism of the Conservatives who are comparing royalties to taxes. They invented the “Netflix tax” and it ended up as harassment. I am in exactly the same place as the people here representing creators, and who feel that they are talking to a brick wall.
I appreciate your comments about what can be done, your suggestion is to go through the copyright board, and what do you want them to do? They deal with the nitty-gritty, and that is what is needed.
That said, in 2012, the practical side of the Conservatives meant that, when the review was done in 2012, specific committees were formed to look after it, Honestly, personally, I am starting to see things clearly today.
Mrs. Dupré tells us that Mr. Bussières and Mr. Lapointe, two singer-songwriter-composers, came to relate their financial losses to the new model of managing music, to the great benefit of consumers. What a great thing that is, dear Lord! Is that all there is to life, paying as little as possible, especially on the backs of musicians and composers? As I see it, we pay for our sliced bread and we also pay for electricity. Heaven knows, in Ontario, we pay enough for that.
So, in 2012, the Conservatives used a “practical” approach to revise copyright using specific committees. There were specific advisers, I remember that each party had special advisers. In addition to our own assistants, we had experts. At the moment, I see that the Liberals are no better. What they have done is divide the review of the Copyright Act into two parts, one of which is being studied by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. We have absolutely no idea about who is studying what.
Mr. Bussières went before that committee with Mr. Lapointe to talk about copyright and to indicate that they get nothing from what is being used on streaming platforms. How is it that our committee did not invite them? Don't think that I am jealous that they went before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. It is as if we want to make sure that we understand nothing. I have often said that, even for me, someone who knows the business well, revising copyright is as dry as dust, like having your mouth full of sand. On top of that, we have made sure that we understand nothing and have even less of a cohesive vision.
That explains my rant this morning: it all seems so astonishing to me, and I am sure that you are all going to leave here saying that we are not out of the woods.
Mr. Payette, you are right to talk about the CRTC announcement, which is a determining factor, and I invite all who are committed to the broadcasting of Canadian content to look at what is happening this morning and to watch the government's reaction to it. A key will be what the CRTC says today about the discoverability of our material, of our Canadian and Quebec content, on all platforms, and in all electronic disciplines.
So I would like to understand what you are alluding to. Mr. Payette, you mentioned the importance of what is gong to happen at the CRTC this morning. You brought up—
Sincerely, perhaps I will not do it today, but I am going to continue to question the process the government chose to examine the Copyright Act. I see today that they are dividing in order to conquer and that a study is being broken up so that no overview is possible. Clearly, Madam Chair, I am not looking at because I know your good faith. But I feel that some little, highly-placed Machiavellis have decided to speed the process up and to slash it into pieces so that no one understands any of it. There you go.
Mr. Payette, let me ask you if it is possible for you, whenever you can, to clearly indicate what you are alluding to when you talk about authors' royalties that should be supported and paid for by Internet service providers. I have no doubt of the good faith of each and every person here, even the Parliamentary secretaries. But actually, for everyone here, this is where we are. The government is going to decide what it wants, the committee will try to get out of it with no clear vision and I am convinced that three-quarters of the people here are drowning in content and information.
So I am going to ask you for one thing. I know that, next Tuesday, there is a major meeting of the Coalition pour la culture et les médias in order to react to the CRTC announcement. Talk it over amongst yourselves; let me invite you to send something like “Copyright for Dummies” to everyone in the government and everyone on this committee. Send us simple examples. Tell us which part of the act presents which problem, because previously, it was like this, and now it is like that.
I have asked the departments of Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada to send us a list of the complex issues they want to resolve. We have been told that they are going to do that. I have received nothing yet; I am still waiting. But it is their job to do it, they have to send it to us. I asked them to look for solutions overseas, to see how things work in other countries. That seemed more complicated. If you talk to the officials that you are in regular contact with, insist that they help us to understand the issue because, at the moment, the government's strategy is to make sure that no one understands anything.
Mr. Payette and Mr. Fortin, do you want to tell us about the items that, in your opinion, are matters for litigation between Internet service providers and the rights of authors? By the way, Mr. Lefebvre, I hope that your boy is doing well.
Mr. Fortin, I know that you were getting ready to reply, but I would like to say something first.
I asked you to send us solutions, with very concrete examples, and Mr. Van Loan asked the same thing. Among other things, I am referring to the brochure for Bill . I know that the Coalition pour la culture et les medias has done something. I also know that anyone who consults the long, 34-page document always finds the first page a little disconcerting. That is what I am alluding to.
Say that we are five-year-olds who understand nothing. We would tell ourselves, we would understand, that it's great that music is so accessible, that it is super cool that music is so easy to access, that everyone can listen to it. And if the artists make no money, that’s life, that’s progress. So let’s feel free.
Go ahead, Mr. Fortin.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
My thanks to our experts for being here today.
We truly do learn something new every day, thanks to the people who testify before us. The goal of these meetings, in fact, is to hear witnesses from all over the country. Thank you for being here and for sharing with us your concerns, the issues you are dealing with, and your recommendations.
I especially do not want to ask you the same questions again or have the same information going around. We have heard a lot of information since the start of the meeting. I just have one question to ask, which should avoid any repetition.
Some areas are harder for the federal government to become involved with than others in the medium or long term. This is one of those areas. Tell us what the federal government can do in the short term to improve remuneration for artists, musicians and singers all across Canada.
Each witness has one minute to answer that single question.
Why don’t you start, Mr. Payette?
I won't spend a great deal of time on this because Senator Enverga's Bill has been very well discussed in both chambers of Parliament, including in the upper house of course, where Senator Enverga tabled the bill originally and spoke to it just a month before his untimely passing while he was on parliamentary business in Colombia with ParlAmericas. Not a word of criticism has been spoken against the bill in either the upper house or the House of Commons. In fact, I was heartened, as I said, at the end of debate in the House that there was such enthusiastic and universal support for the bill, for a Latin American heritage month to be recognized, as Senator Enverga originally intended in the wake of Black History Month and in the wake of the recently passed Jewish Heritage Month, which again last night was celebrated in a very non-partisan way just up the street. All parties in the House enthusiastically participated and recognized and celebrated the contribution of the Jewish Canadian community in Canada.
This was Senator Enverga's second bill. He had a bill before the House in the last Parliament, which died at the election in 2015. For this one he reshaped it and expanded it. The original bill was called “Hispanic Heritage Month”. For this one he deliberately changed the name and the characterization to Latin American heritage month. He wanted to recognize the nature of our hemisphere, not only in Central and South America but also in the Caribbean, given the centuries of shifting, government shifting, control, colonization, and independence as it came. It includes the Latin romance languages Spanish and Portuguese and also those communities and languages that have been cross-pollinated through the Caribbean and now into Canada where, in fact, through Senator Enverga's expanded vision of those touched by Latin Americans and who would celebrate Latin American heritage, we would be looking at probably well over one million Canadians, a significant number of Canadians.
Yesterday, as members from all parties know, there was non-partisan representation behind the Honourable Irwin Cotler when he presented the expert report of the Organization of American States on the findings of crimes against humanity perpetrated in Venezuela. It was the same sort of non-partisan support that we saw in the celebration of the Jewish Heritage Month last night, and, I think, the same sort of non-partisan...even at this time of the year in the parliamentary season, where unanimity could be found without some of the quibbling, some of the amendments that we see put before other committees of the House to correct perceived shortcomings or unacceptable elements.
This is a very basic bill. It's a very simple bill. It follows exactly the other heritage month bills that Parliament in its wisdom has passed over the years. I understand there is an amendment before the committee but I would respectfully ask that the amendment be withdrawn, because if this bill goes back to the House and given the possibility of prorogation during the summer, then what I think is not only a worthy piece of legislation but also a legacy piece of legislation in Senator Tobias Enverga's name would be lost forever.
With that, I'm willing to take questions.
Thank you so much, Madam Chair.
I want to begin by saying a huge thank you to you, Mr. Kent, for shepherding this bill through the House of Commons. I also want to thank Senator Tobias Enverga for finding a way to in absentia introduce the bill that will finally get us through. I think this is about the fourth or fifth attempt, actually, through many different Parliaments. There have been a lot of attempts to try to put in a Hispanic heritage month or a Latin American heritage month, and I'm glad that we finally have managed to make it through.
Thank you so much for your leadership.
I am Hispanic Canadian—there are only two of us in the House of Commons—and I think people would be surprised. My mother's name is Maria Amparo Lizarraga Zatarain. It sounds nothing like the “Dzerowicz” that you have here. She is Mexican and was born in a small town called El Recodo, which is very well known for its bands and music. They're known all over Mexico. She came here to Canada in the late sixties or early seventies after she met my dad. She was very much part of a time when a lot of those who are now Hispanic Canadians started coming to Canada in the seventies and mostly in the eighties.
We have around half a million Latin Americans here in Canada, from over 20 countries. I only recently learned about a group called the “10 most influential Hispanic Canadians”. They're an amazing group. They've been in existence for around 11 years, and they have been presenting awards and highlighting the contributions of Latin American Canadians not only to their own community but also to all Canadians and, in many cases, to the world. It's an unbelievable group. It just shows you how all the different cultures contribute to our great country. As you know, our always says that diversity makes us strong, and the Latin American and Hispanic communities definitely make us a stronger and better country.
In my riding, I'm very blessed to have a growing Hispanic community based on Mexicans, Ecuadorians, and Chileans. We have a number of programs that serve that community. We have a number of small businesses that are really great.
As soon as I came into office, one of the first things I did was work with to help start “Hispanic Day on the Hill”. We wanted to make sure it was something that we were recognizing here nationally.
I note that we're starting to do a number of trade relations. Mercosur is now under way. I know that there was a lot of work done in the former administration as well to build relations with Latin American countries, and I think we're building on that great work. Right now, we have the CPTPP, which includes Peru, Chile, and Mexico. We have a Canada-Chile agreement, and now we're working on Mercosur. A lot of really great things are happening.
I have a question for you, Mr. Kent. It's quite interesting.... I've had a number of people come to me and ask, “Why is it called Latin American heritage month versus Hispanic heritage month?” I wonder if you could comment on that a bit. Whether it's important or not important, it is something that's an issue within the community. I'm sure you've heard about it as well.
The second thing is that one of the things that's really beautiful to learn.... I think that to a certain extent these Hispanic heritage months are actually a way for Latin American and Hispanic Canadians to learn about each other. Could you comment on that as well?
Thank you for your remarks. I was very impressed by your fluency in Spanish during debate.
I have been to those awards ceremonies on a number of occasions. It is truly impressive to see the recognition of Latin American contributions to medicine, science, the arts, and culture generally in Canada.
With regard to the discussion that took place with previous bills—certainly with Senator Enverga's first bill and then this incarnation, Bill —he, as you know, was a Filipino Canadian. Spanish was one of the colonial languages, and it's a language that is still used, celebrated, and marked. Some of the most important religious locations for Filipinos, including Filipino Canadians, are actually in Mexico. There's a cathedral in Mexico to which Filipino Canadians and Filipinos from around the world make regular missions to see a painting of the Madonna.
Senator Enverga, in choosing the words “Latin American” rather than the narrower “Hispanic” definition, wanted to speak to all of those people who have been touched by the Spanish language and did not want to exclude the Portuguese language. As I said—
We will go directly to clause-by-clause.
Shall clause 2 carry?
(Clause 2 agreed to)
The Chair: Shall the short title carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the preamble carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the title carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the bill carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the chair report the bill to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
An hon. member: I move that we adjourn.