No more "Trade missions" for artists?

I've been hearing that a few programs that subsidized international promotional tours of Canadian artists (See Canadian press) called PromArt, as well as another called Trade Routes.

I think there is some truth in the suggestion that this is ideologically based. I doubt the trade missions of the larger business community will have reduced funding, and I think that if Canadians were actually asked who they felt better represented their views that the arts community would be shown more support than many members of the business community. The spin from the Conservative government included mention of author and journalist Gwynne Dyer, which James Bradshaw and Campbell Clark for the Globe suggests travelled at the government's request and never applied for the grant he received. Other articles (Simon Houpt in the Globe) mentioned some of the broadly supported artists who benefited from the subsidies.

I also hope that this will help artists look more closely at the proposed changes to copyright made by this same government. While the claims are that the changes will benefit artists, a closer look should demonstrate that the beneficiaries are not artists but a chosen few intermediaries. These intermediaries have interests that don't align with those of artists. In many cases artists and other creators who rely on or are otherwise regulated by copyright are greatly threatened by C-61.

We need to avoid following the backward-facing rhetoric of organizations like CIRPA who (as reported by Jessica Werb for straight.com) abused a press release about these cuts to again blame "unpaid and unauthorized downloading" for their economic downturn. Many other factors are far more relevant to their economic downturn, and no respectable study has linked illegal sharing (downloading recorded music isn't illegal in Canada) with lost sales.

The Tories are relying on this misconception. They think that Bill C-61 will confuse enough artists that their cuts to the arts will not cause problems for them politically (See: The arts of politics, by Michael Den Tandt). That is one of the nasty things about copyright politics: you can be taking something away from artists and they can be cheering "more, more" without any realization of what is being done to them with their own help.

P.S. I guess the PromArts program does work -- I just (legally!) downloaded some "Holy F*ck" tracks from eMusic.