Reports from or about the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) and other regional lobbyists for the legacy methods of creation, distribution and funding of music they represent.

Not so special 301 report

The yearly joke from the USTR of their so-called "Special 301 report" came out yesterday. Not surprisingly, they kept Canada on their Priority Watch List in order to keep up their special interest lobbying efforts.

Does this mean Canada is a "piracy haven"? Not in the slightest.

It only means that the USTR continues to echo the unfounded lobbying rhetoric from the IIPA which isn't as interested in promoting the rights and interests of creators and innovators as they are protecting their members from legitimate competition.

Group submissions to C-11 committee : CBA submission in context.

A small group of lawyers have publicly disagreed with the submission to the Bill C-32 committee (the predecessor to the current C-11 committee) from the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), an association of approximately 37,000 members that 26 of them are members of. Given the publicity this group has been able to receive, I think it is interesting to look at group submissions in general.

It is not unusual for a subset of the membership of a group who has submitted to these committees to disagree. In fact, that is the norm. This frustrates many people when these associations go into committee and list their membership numbers as if all the members were in agreement with -- or were even made aware of the policy positions of -- the person sitting as witness in committee.

Major label lobby group CRIA's dishonest name change

I offered the following as a comment to a Billboard article by Karen Bliss discussing CRIA's name change to "Music Canada".

Seems to be an ongoing thing where the more controvercial a group becomes, the more likely they are to change their name. There is also a desire by some organizations to change their name as part of a lobbying effort to confuse people as to what roll the specific organization actually plays.

Thoughts about C-32 committee meeting 15

Today was a music industry day, with the morning session being representatives of the recording industry ("makers of sound recording"), and the afternoon session being music composers and their publishers.

The story in the morning was very familiar: The sky is falling -- look at how bad it is (spin the wheel of alleged misfortune) -- and something must be done. Bill C-32 is "something", so clearly it will stop the sky from falling. It must be passed, and we should stop talking about it.

Falling off the edge of a flat world?

Professor Birgitte Andersen has posted a very interesting response to old-economy industry association critique of studies she has authored.

While focused on copyright, I found the section talking about evidence based policy making vs "intuition" to be useful for all political discussions.

Of course intuition has its place, e.g. for short-cuts or if we do not have concrete evidence to rely on. However, if we are unable or unwilling to free our minds, ‘intuition’ can also imprison our thought and lead to prejudice and ignorance.

For example, although the world seems to be flat (by pure intuition), then falling off the edge of a flat world is not among my fears! Similarly, although it seems that the sun rotates around the Earth (by pure intuition), then research has proven that it is the other way around. However, we shall not forget that after Galileo announced these research results, which were counter-intuitive for the general public and the belief of the Catholic Church, he was forced to retire as a scientist and live in house arrest.

My response to Loreena McKennitt

Musician Loreena McKennitt penned an opinion piece where she spoke about declining revenues for a whole series of largely unrelated industries, and then made two wild unfounded claims: first, that "today's online environment, where piracy is virtually unchecked" was the problem, and second that Bill C-32 was a solution.

EMI Evolves Along With Music Industry Changes

More good news in a Wired article by Eliot Van Buskirk. While the article doesn't go into the nitty-gritty details, it looks like EMI is moving from being a label focused on sales of product to licensing music (compositions and recorded performances) as widely as possible. They may focus on the "not available for sale to you" problem.

I am hoping this signifies a change in lobbying strategy as well from what we have seen from CRIA in Canada, which has been focused on protecting legacy label business model rather than protecting the competing interests of the wider music industry.

Differentiating allies and opponents in the Copyright debate

Copyright is often claimed to be a balance between rights-holders’ interests on the one hand and the interests of users and society as a whole on the other hand. I only wish things were that simple. I could take my place alongside other rights-holders, and know that copyright law would at least be taking the interests of creators into serious consideration.

The problem is that the reality is quite different. With digital copyright you have potentially 4 rights-holder groups. Even if you only consider the interests of copyright holders, the vast majority of the debates I have witnessed have been between and within copyright holder groups, not between copyright holders and some other individual or group.

Just as with previous bills, the tabling of Bill C-32 will bring new people to the debate. Reading how I evaluate my allies and opponents may be useful as a kick-start for those people.

Read full article on IT World Canada's blog

Separating Science from Science Fiction on the Business News Network

Last week I had the opportunity to discuss the new copyright bill on the BNN show Squeezeplay. The other guest was Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Hill, and the hosts were Andrea Mandel-Campbell and Rudyard Griffiths.

It became obvious during the interview that the hosts had the misconception that they had a creator and a consumer, or even a creator and someone who wanted to infringe copyright. At one point Mr. Griffiths even asked me if I were supportive of the rule of law, which threw me for a loop as I hadn't expected that type of bias. What they actually had was two creators with a different level of technical knowledge, and thus a different understanding of the impact on creators of the policy we were being presented in the bill.

Fairness in an expanded Private Copying regime for recorded music

No matter what I feel about the Private Copying regime for recorded music, it is clear that the music industry wants this. When I say music industry I mean composers and performers who have come out strongly in favor of the regime. It has become clear that the recording industry can no longer be said to represent musicians or the overall music industry.

I can live with this regime being expanded to devices as I consider it the lesser of two evils: a levy on devices, or non-owner locks on devices. In order for the regime to have any resemblance of fairness it should be obvious that we can't allow both.

Read full article on IT World Canada's blog >>>

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