Good afternoon. How are you all today?
Welcome to meeting 120 of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology as we continue our legislative review of the Copyright Act.
Today we have with us, from the Canadian Federation of Musicians, Alan Willaert, the AFM vice-president from Canada; from the Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec, Éric Lefebvre, secretary-treasurer; and from the Canadian Music Publishers Association, Margaret McGuffin, executive director.
Members, before we begin, it appears that on Thursday we're going to have about seven votes. I'd rather not cancel, because we have some really good witnesses on Thursday. Do we have consent to maybe extend that meeting for an extra half hour?
Do you have a flight to catch? All right. We'll see what we can do.
We'll go to Alan Willaert, for up to seven minutes.
Yes, I'm Alan Willaert, vice-president from Canada of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. We operate in Canada as the Canadian Federation of Musicians. Within Canada we have 17,000 members, but we also represent all musicians under the federal Status of the Artist Act.
I'd like to start with a couple of statistics, which may shock you a little bit, and which will set up my reasons and recommendations.
There are approximately 33,750 professional musicians and singers in Canada with a rate of self-employment many times higher—80%—than the labour force average. Artists have much higher levels of education than the average workforce with 44% having a B.A. or higher, double that of the average overall workforce. The average income of the average workforce is $48,100. The average individual income for musicians and singers is $17,699, but the median individual income for musicians and singers is $11,431. Interestingly as well, the male-female split for singers is fifty-fifty. The highest earnings are in the 45- to 54-year-old demographic, and the number of artists has increased by 50% since 1989.
We should look at a bigger picture as well. With 3.4% of Canada's total GDP, the gross domestic product, and $53.2 billion in revenue, the arts and culture industry in Canada is larger than the accommodation and food services industry, and twice as large as the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry. More specifically, revenue from live performances is in excess of $2 billion and from sound recording $500 million. With these kinds of staggering profits, then why on earth is the median income for musicians so low? Where is the money if not in the pockets of the musicians?
To alleviate some of the problems, of course we recommend some changes to the Copyright Act. First of all, we recommend that we amend the definition of “sound recording”. The current definition of sound recording needs to be amended so that performers can collect royalties when their recorded performances of music on the soundtracks of audio-visual works such as TV programs and movies are broadcast or streamed. Of course, to facilitate that, we recommend the ratification and enactment of the Beijing treaty.
We also recommend the removal of the $1.25-million royalty exemption for commercial broadcasters. Interestingly, when this was first put into place, it was originally supposed to be only applied to mom-and-pop stations with a $1.25-million revenue in advertising, or less. Somehow it got applied as an exemption for the first $1.25 million for all stations. That needs to be revisited, big time.
Also, we recommend expanding the private copying to include new copying technology, and this is a no-brainer, of course. Nobody uses tapes or CD-Rs any longer. It's all about digital. We recommend a reform to the Copyright Board. We recommend the reduction of piracy in the digital world. By that, of course, we mean steeper regulations on Internet service providers, specifically a notice and take down regime as it is in the U.S.
We also urge the government to work with the music community to transition content quotas and MAPL designation from an analog to a digital world so that we can regulate the streaming industry. We need to regulate streaming because this will soon be a $70-billion industry worldwide, and anything produced in Canada, such as Netflix, should be subject to the same collective bargaining processes such as the Status of the Artist Act.
I have one other thing I want to read to you quickly, and this is a letter from one of our members. She is Damhnait Doyle, and she's a musician from Newfoundland. She's quite a popular singer-songwriter, and she has this to say:
Throughout my 25 years as a long standing and proud member of Local 820 of the Musician's union, I have only seen the standard of living decrease for those of us who have chosen to make this our profession. We are being hammered from every angle, from piracy to streaming, to being at the losing end of exemptions to broadcasters and losing our royalties for our work in film and TV because the definition of “sound recording” [needs to] be redefined, while our American counterparts do get paid for their efforts. Meanwhile, the cost of living is continually rising, and our middle class has been eviscerated.
I ask you to please seriously consider the issues being presented by the CFM, which will put long overdue and necessary revenue into the pockets of Canadian musical artists, thereby allowing those of us with an inherently creative nature, to successfully pursue our aspirations and talents in this country. If there is no change or increase in revenue streams available to musicians, then the option to be a proud, professional Canadian, musical artist and creator will no longer be a viable one.
Thank you for your time.
My name is Éric Lefebvre. I am the secretary-treasurer of the Guilde des musiciens et des musiciennes du Québec. I am pleased to appear before you this afternoon. On behalf of the members of our association, thank you for this opportunity to provide you with our comments on the review of the Copyright Act. I am also pleased to take part in this meeting with Alan Willaert, the vice-president from Canada of the American Federation of Musicians, with which we have been affiliated for over a century.
We understand that the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology must review the Copyright Act. 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.
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, as Alan Willaert eloquently illustrated a few minutes ago.
The concerns are 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, Facebook, Netflix and Apple 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.
Let us explain. 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 status as intermediaries.
Finally, what is the point of the new exclusive distribution rights if, as I indicated earlier, 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 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, which are still the only ways to obtain remuneration in compliance with the regulations.
It is important to obtain compensation from Internet service providers, which are taking unfair advantage of the situation. 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.
To achieve that objective, we recommend that the government accept the following proposals: amend the Copyright Act so that the 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, from a more technical point of view, by eliminating the exemption they enjoy under section 31.1 of the Copyright Act.
We also support our federation's recommendations on amending the definition of sound recording, which must allow for royalty payments when a sound recording is incorporated into an audiovisual production, or on an exemption that currently benefits broadcasters in the case of neighbouring rights.
We often hear people say that copyright is extremely complex. In fact, it has become complex because of the amendments made to the legislation over the past several years, diluting the effectiveness of those rights. Among other things, too many exceptions are now in effect.
I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to make this presentation. I would like to begin by telling you briefly about us, about Canadian music publishers, and the role that international trade plays in ensuring Canadian songs are heard around the world.
While some musicians record their own songs, there are many who do not. Instead they either co-write their tracks with other songwriters or perform songs written by other songwriters. Additionally, there are also many composers who create the soundtracks of your favourite movies and television shows. You don't know their names, but they are a very important part of the creative economy in Canada and around the world.
Our association represents large companies such as ole, music publishers, and entrepreneurs who run small or medium-sized businesses, like Jennifer Mitchell at Red Brick and Vince Degiorgio at CYMBA Music. 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. Each are holders of copyright and this discussion goes straight to the heart of their creative and their business efforts.
The music industry revenue is increasingly built around streaming and digital platforms. The technology around the distribution of music has changed dramatically over the past 10 years, but my members are changing too. We recently released a new report called “Export Ready, Export Critical”, which examined the importance of export to our members.
Music publishers are innovators and their strong export strategies have allowed these entrepreneurs to compete internationally with two-thirds of their revenue now coming from foreign sources. This is a dramatic change from 2005 when only 28% was from these same foreign sources. The key to dealing with changes in technology has been my members' ability to expand globally.
In order to continue to be globally competitive, songwriters and music publishers require a functioning marketplace in Canada in order to innovate. In the music publishing world, our members continue to deal with quickly changing models where royalties from new digital models have not yet replaced traditional royalties from physical sales and downloads.
While detractors point out that streaming revenues are increasing by double digits, they fail to mention that royalties do not match previous sales levels. Unfortunately, music publishers and songwriters suffer further when the Canadian Copyright Act includes safe harbours, exceptions, and barriers to enforcing their rights in this new digital world and when we have a Copyright Board that takes years to respond to these changes.
Music publishing is about championing a songwriter and a song through the lifetime of their career and that 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 by different artists and continue to be heard in audiovisual productions long after that first recording. This is known as a sync.
The strongest and most stable publishers are those who own a balanced portfolio of songs including 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.
For example, Jennifer Mitchell of Red Brick Songs is a publisher member with both a large foreign catalogue that she administers and sub-publishes for foreign partners in addition to a Canadian one that includes the songs from emerging and established Canadian songwriters. In Canada she represents Dan Davidson from St. Albert, Alberta; Charlotte Cardin from Montreal; Jeen O'Brien from Stratford, Ontario; and the members of Said the Whale from Vancouver.
One or two songs in a catalogue can make a huge difference to the viability of a music publisher and the Canadian songwriters they choose to invest in. A number of Red Brick's titles will come into the public domain soon because Canada's copyright legislation is not in line with international standards. Day to day these individual songs may not generate much money. However, holding on to this copyright over an extra 20 years could translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars if a good sync deal is in place.
That is why it is so critical to align with Canada's global trading partners and extend the term of copyright to life plus 70 years.
It is truly insincere for our critics to claim that Canadians need more works in the public domain. There are many songs already in the public domain. There are many that can be licensed on a moderate or free basis, and there is only a very rare instance where songs will be used in new digital productions and not released beyond Canada's borders where a licence will be needed.
Additionally, it is important that Parliament not introduce new exceptions that play havoc with the lives of these small businesses. We ask that you amend the exceptions introduced in 2012 for backup copies and technological processes. We also ask that you amend the section on network services to address the value gap, by treating Internet intermediaries as more than “dumb pipes” and make them liable for infringing activities in certain circumstances.
As well, we ask that, through a combination of legislative and regulatory change, you improve the efficiency of the Copyright Board's processes and timelines, and the predictability of its decisions. We know this already is seen as a priority and may take advance action before the rest of the copyright changes. We support that and appreciate the work that is being done on this. Finally, we support our colleagues here to make the private copying regime technologically neutral.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you all for your presentations this afternoon.
I had a meeting earlier this year with Miranda Mulholland, one of Guelph's local artists who is internationally published. She was talking to me about the safe harbour laws from 1997 and then the changes that have happened since 1998, resulting in a 20-year decline in revenues.
One of the suggestions she made was to look at having a third party review of exemptions. Whether that's something that's practical within the scope of this study for us to look at, looking at the exemptions the creators are faced with.... This is similar to the previous part of the study, where we looked at publishers making more money and artists making less money because of exemptions.
Could one or all of you talk about how we might do a review of exemptions, and whether that's something your organizations would support?
It depends on a number of factors.
First, contracts signed between performers, musicians and, let's say, sound recording producers may, in some cases, stabilize the remuneration. What we see every day in our collective agreements is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get either adequate remuneration for musicians or rights associated with the use of a recorded performance.
Let me give you an example. A television program is produced. A few years ago—my colleague Alan Willaert could also speak to this—the remuneration from the subsequent broadcast of a television program was much higher. Now for example, we have Netflix competing with Canadian broadcasters or television producers. This puts increasing pressure on broadcasters, who are asking producers to provide the service with what is called a “greater package of rights”.
Subsequently, the producer of a television program transfers the burden to the artists, including the musicians. For example, instead of paying $500 for the use of a program over a certain number of years, they pay $100. So there is a downward pressure directly related, basically, to the current digital environment of the music industry.
Yes, I do and I have a couple of things to add.
First, the entire model has changed over the years. Years ago when an artist created a recording or signed a record deal with a label, they would be getting a portion of the sales, and they would go out and tour to support the interest in that particular album, and they'd be making money from the tickets sales, of course, but the whole idea of touring was to sell more CDs or more vinyl. If it was a hit, it would be a lucrative way of earning money.
Now, of course, it's upside down. The artist is not making nearly as much money, and CD sales are in the tank. It's all about streaming, and they're getting a fraction of a penny per million streams, and they're told, “Okay, you have to go out and tour” but the way to make money is to sell some T-shirts and some CDs while you're on the road. It's no longer about paying for the music. It's now about the paraphernalia that goes with it.
Also, to what my colleague was talking about concerning broadcast, one of the things we see as well is, when there is a production of a movie or a television show, and a composer is hired in this country, many times now we see the scoring done overseas. The musicians in Prague will be utilized rather than Canadian musicians. That's unconscionable, but it's another reason the revenue streams for our musicians keep going down, because so much of it is being outsourced overseas.
It's truly a great opportunity for me to be here this afternoon.
Last month, I was contacted by an author from Saint-Hyacinthe, a town in the riding I represent. I realize that the reality of creators and authors is similar to that of musicians. Let me read you an excerpt from his letter, which is eloquent, like the one you read, Mr. Willaert.
The 2012 changes to the Copyright Act, he says, “served as a framework for the legalized stripping of artists and writers.”
He goes on:
Saint-Hyacinthe has a long cultural tradition. The town's CEGEP is a focal point for future authors [and actors], since it is home to one of the best theatre schools in the province. This measure particularly hurts regional writers [it could be the same for musicians] since the opportunities to make their art profitable are often fewer than in larger centres. This income of which they are deprived leaves less money in their pockets, affecting their families, their ability to thrive in our area and their participation in our local economy.
On my behalf and in solidarity with all creators across the country, I invite you to make your voice heard...in the process of reviewing the Act [it is interesting that I have the opportunity to do so this afternoon], by supporting amendments that will make the Copyright Act fair and equitable to Canadian artists and creators who are at the heart of our culture.
He is an author, but we also have many artists from the music industry and incredible venues in a small community such as ours.
I am thinking of the Zaricot, for example. The Zaricot in Saint-Hyacinthe is a small venue that you may know and that animates our cultural life with diverse programming, both with emerging local artists and with those with a wider audience, who are probably members of your organization.
This small venue stands out because it is still going. Recently, several venues like that—I am thinking of Montreal's Divan Orange—have closed their doors. For us, animating the cultural life of our small communities is important. These venues must remain open, and artists must be able to live from performing in those venues. For 15 years now, the Zaricot has been truly creative and active in bringing music to life in Saint-Hyacinthe.
We often think of the large-scale shows in major centres, such as the Bell Centre, but the reality of our Quebec artists—as you rightly said—is long tours, with a lot of mileage, travelling around Quebec and performing in small venues in the regions, such as the Zaricot. If they are lucky, the artists go to the Centre des arts Juliette-Lassonde, a medium-sized venue in our area. For those artists who struggle to sell their music because of distribution platforms, such as Spotify, shows and merchandise sold locally are now essentially their only source of revenue, as you said.
So I agree with the author who wrote to me: we need a copyright law that is fair and equitable to artists. To do so, it is important to tax giants such as Spotify. Royalties must be collected. Everyone in our cultural ecosystem, from cable companies to technicians' unions, artists and writers, is also calling for this measure. You have demonstrated that well.
Online broadcasters, unlike our broadcasters such as MusiquePlus, have no obligation to showcase domestic content, and I'm concerned about that. Our culture is experiencing unfair competition from those web giants in all aspects, web, music, authors, and so on.
Mr. Lefebvre, you mentioned the various recommendations you are proposing. As you said yourself, the act has become complex. I would like to hear more from you about each of those different recommendations, in order to enlighten us on how we can support what I just mentioned, namely the development of culture in a rural riding such as mine.
If they produce a sound recording of a musical work, that sound recording could theoretically generate royalties that will allow the performer or musician to continue their career. This income is essential so that the musician can continue to perform in small venues.
Right now, sound recording generates some royalties under the equitable remuneration regime, but it practically no longer generates any under the private copying regime.
The private copying regime applies to compact discs, and the good old audio cassette, but it no longer generates royalties, because a regulation has been added to the Copyright Act. That regulation means that the definition of “audio recording medium” in the act excludes Micro SD memory cards, among others. This means that new media that could generate royalties for performers are no longer applicable.
Private copying in itself favours three categories of rights holders: authors, performers and producers. So the whole music industry is covered by this regime. The private copying regime applies only to blank CDs, which are now unusable. When I say “unusable”, I mean that they are no longer used for reproduction.
Limiting the audio recording media on which a levy could be applied reduces a large portion of revenue. I can give you a number. I'm not sure whether representatives from the Canadian Private Copying Collective appeared before the committee, but I can say that they have seen their revenues drop by 89%, which is a huge percentage. That was a sum of money that the collectives paid to performers. This meant that, at the end of the year, after putting on concerts, selling t-shirts, producing albums, and recording television shows to boost the sale of the albums, among other things, so when the whole ecosystem was operational, the performer generated enough money to live on.
Right now, I can compare the Copyright Act to Gruyère cheese. It is only one of the intellectual property laws currently in force in Canada. There is the Trade-marks Act, the Patent Act and the Industrial Design Act. All those acts mean that Canada should, in principle, be fertile ground for innovation.
Today, the Copyright Act is like the poor cousin or ugly duckling. The Trade-marks Act is relatively robust. If tomorrow morning a university decided to open a hamburger restaurant called McDonald's, there would be a good chance that McDonald's would intervene, because that would be a violation of its trademark.
So why is it possible for a university, under the fair dealing exception for educational purposes under the Copyright Act, to reproduce literary works or musical works? It's because the legislation contains exceptions, and that's why I'm talking about the Copyright Act as a coherent whole. Right now, it is approximately 160 pages long, while the one on trade-marks is 80 pages long. This piece of legislation is complex and cumbersome, containing a number of exceptions. If Canada really wants to be a breeding ground for innovation, it must ensure that all intellectual property laws are effective for all creators, not only for companies like McDonald's, which can benefit from the Trade-marks Act—
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, everybody, for coming today.
You're at the beginning of this new segment for us on the music and the music publishing side. We've spent some time in the education sector, so this is a great opportunity to begin that. Forgive me if my questions are a bit preliminary. I want to begin by understanding the issues. On the education side and on the book publishing side, we've heard a lot about what, perhaps on this side, is called a value gap. There's an issue with respect to those who are the creators and the generators of the content and then there are those who have a responsibility or who put it out to consumers and so forth. There's a disparity there and, as I understand it, there's a disparity here as well.
I'm trying to understand a bit about how that disparity exists. In all of your testimonies, you have said that musicians' incomes have decreased. It would be good to begin to understand a bit about the cause and how and what the Copyright Act might be able to do to not only address that but to look at content creators in the future. Therefore, in the act, what is it that we would need to do to support that?
With respect to the value gap, talk to us about where it is and help us understand that disparity. Maybe I'll go from left to right, please.
In terms of the recommendations we are talking about today, this is a change in times. It's a change in technology, so part of the falling revenues are around changes in where the revenue is coming from.
One of the things the private copying levy allowed, when it was fully in force with $38 million a year, was a stream of revenue that was there in addition to the traditional sales revenues and now the streaming revenues. We fully support the implementation of that in a technology-neutral way so that we can continue to collect on that, on new devices. That would be of assistance to all sectors.
Additionally, when you don't have a functioning Copyright Board to fall back on, and people won't come to the table and negotiate in a way that is sincere, where you need someone to facilitate that negotiation.... If we had had a Copyright Board, that might have helped along the way. We urge Copyright Board reform so that when negotiations cannot productively continue, there's a way to look at what the rate should be—a Copyright Board that is responsible and looks at both sides and the evidence they're providing.
Also, we know there is still stream-ripping. We know there are foreign players who won't come to the table—not the names you know, the named services—but there is a problem and we need remedies and statutory damages that will allow us to enforce our rights when players won't come in and negotiate.
I can explain it perhaps in a somewhat simplistic way.
Twenty-five or 30 years ago, when a sound recording producer decided to release an album, they recorded it in a studio. Then they found a record company to market it. Then a distributor would supply thousands of music stores that sold records and albums. Since then, those thousands of music stores that sold albums have all disappeared.
What happened? Albums went digital. The digital album ended up with one online distributor and only a few platforms on which to play the sound recording. So we went from a thousand retailers selling a physical album to just a few digital distributors doing business with three or four platforms that control the market. We are faced with a sort of oligopoly—it is not a monopoly, but almost— that controls the business model and prices.
A digital album sells for $10 on iTunes, while a physical album sold for $25 in a music store at the time. You see the difference. We end up with a model where the number of players is reduced to a few—earlier, I mentioned Google, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix—who control the entire business model of the market, who control prices and who impose the business model.
Thanks to our presenters. This is a really important topic: how we support our cultural economy and those who are working hard in it.
Years ago when I was on city council, I spearheaded an initiative for Sault Ste. Marie to have the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. A lot of people considered that to be a long shot, but we put forward a really good bid and we made it to the finals. I remember being interviewed by one of the major news organizations, and I didn't know that I was being pitted against someone else who was on the line at the time. They asked why the Canadian Music Hall of Fame should be in Sault Ste. Marie instead of Winnipeg, and they named the various artists from there, and from the Toronto and Montreal music scenes. I said that it's easy to argue that music was being made in Sault Ste. Marie before Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal.
This is part of our question that we're asking about the indigenous copyright and how we protect the indigenous culture and the performers who are in it. For thousands of years in Sault Ste. Marie, people came to do powwows because of the whitefish in the St. Marys River. They came from all over Canada, and naturally, when they were there, they traded, but then they started doing powwows and having dancing and music.
In your opinion, what is it that we need to do to protect and promote indigenous musicians?
Basically, the exception states that it is not an infringement of copyright for an Internet service provider to communicate content protected by the Copyright Act.
In fact, the act gives certain exclusive rights to the author. Reproducing or communicating a protected work to the public could result in copyright infringement by the service provider. So an exception was created to ensure that the Internet service provider never infringes copyright. This exception applies even if—and this is a statistic I found interesting and that you will allow me to disclose, because I think you are aware of it—32% of Internet users have downloaded, read or consulted at least one music file that included illegal content. This figure comes from a survey conducted in November 2017 on online consumption of copyrighted content. This means that, on the Internet, at least 32% of Internet users have, at least once in the three months preceding the survey, read, consulted or downloaded an illegal file.
I cannot believe that Internet service providers are not aware of that. You therefore understand that the exception in section 31.1 makes sense when looking at those data, since it seems to prevent Internet service providers from being held liable under the Copyright Act. If that exception did not exist, it would be very possible, or at least possible—I must be careful—that an Internet service provider could be convicted of infringement of copyright.
Just now, the chair pointed out that this was my first time on this committee. So I will dive right in. Earlier, my colleague was talking about basic issues to help us understand a sector in which you are experts.
So I would like to know whether copyright owners have different interests based on their style of music. For example, are there differences between the interests of a performer or producer of classical music and those of artists or producers of popular music? If so, is that something we should consider? How does it work? Regardless of the productions or performances, is it the same from one style to another?
The answer may be obvious to you, but it’s not obvious to us.
Clearly, there are slightly different structures. Take classical music and a symphony orchestra, for example. There are 100 musicians led by a conductor, perhaps in addition to a guest soloist, such as a violinist, who will play a concerto accompanied by the orchestra. A phonogram, a sound recording, will be produced.
Let's take a second example, that of Céline Dion and her five musicians—she might have more, but I'm giving an example—who also record a phonogram. Of course we are talking about popular music here.
Is there a difference between the two? The soloist will probably sign a contract with a producer, as will the pop star. Musicians are bound by similar agreements. The difference is that classical music involves a larger number of musicians, because they usually belong to ensembles. Since there are more musicians, the royalties they will receive may be lower than those paid to an ensemble of only five musicians.
In addition to those differences, performers can find themselves in quite diverse situations. I know a musician who can play one day with the symphony orchestra, can do jazz the next day and accompany a popular artist the day after that. The same musician will therefore play with a number of artists of different styles.
Contractual practices may differ from one sector to another. In classical music, collective agreements generally govern the working conditions between an orchestra and a producer. Popular music deals with individual contracts to manage the relations between a producer and an artist.
In terms of the Copyright Act, I wouldn't be able to tell you whether there are big differences depending on the style of music.
It allows us to continue what we've been doing for the last 12 years: investing in songwriters and taking those songwriters around the world.
My chairman, who is a songwriter, never appears on stage and can't play an instrument, but he is a phenomenally internationally well-known songwriter and lyricist, Vince Degiorgio. He is the guy who, in his old A and R days, signed NSYNC. He learned the music business and then became a full-time lyricist.
Two weeks ago he was in the Netherlands writing with their top act, Caro Emerald. When he wrote her album three years ago, her first album, it was number one on the Netherlands chart and beat out Michael Jackson's “Thriller”. He now is signing songwriters as a publisher in Canada. He is able to do that because he knows what the revenue flow is going to be from his portfolio of songs. He then is taking on those songwriters to have the same international career he has had.
As an organization, we're also focusing on helping our small businesses do that. We'll be going to Germany in the third week in September and to Denmark in the fourth week of September to meet labels and film and television producers and have a group of songwriters write with songwriters from the Nordic countries.
As soon as you have songs being marketed in three or four different territories, you're going to have a greater chance of success. The foreign market is key to allowing small businesses to survive. The Canadian market is too small. We have to look globally.
Going back to where I live, right on the border, Sault Ste. Marie, we have sometimes composites of musicians who get together. There could be Americans coming on our side joining a band making music, or Canadians going over to the United States, and mixtures therein. Then we also have the proverbial musician who goes to America—Nashville or wherever else—to make it big.
By living in that border situation, we've had different things enacted in CRTC, for instance, to promote Canadian content and Canadian musicians. I've always seen the real need for it because I have always been barraged with American content from back in the day when there was an analog signal that would come across the border, or their radio, their music coming forward. I know there's some stuff that's under heed to be reviewed with the CRTC.
I'm getting to the question, but I also want to talk about CBC. The CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has played a significant role in promoting Canadian artists. They have contests every now and then. We have people from the Soo and all across Canada going into those contests. A lot of times the winner gets a crack at a Canadian label. They promote things that way.
I do see that whole barrage of American music coming our way, and we have Canadians who do quite well. Your membership still saying the same, I think, is a testament to the Canadian musician who continues to go at it.
One of the things I want to know is how we can promote particularly Canadian music. I know we're looking at the copyright. We've talked about some of the revenue streams, the concerts. Just in the Soo we're seeing larger and larger performers who I would never imagine would play there, like Elton John. I know he's American, but yes, he went to the Soo. I think that goes to your remarks that more performers are going out there.
What other devices are there as well? We know we've talked about Spotify. We've talked about the other musical devices that are out there. How is it that a Canadian musician can be promoted and make money right now with the current copyright system? Then, of course, you have made the comments on some of the changes.
One of the things we were talking about extensively over the last long time was fair dealings and how music is being used in our educational sector, so that's in my mind too. We know music is being played in a school for related events and whatnot, so some comments on fair dealing use as well....
I know it's a very broad, sweeping question, but those are some of my concerns. This is our first meeting, and this is some of the stuff I'm trying to arrive at.