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.

Why do some people claim that Canadian copyright is "weak"?

In a series of postings over the years, lawyer Howard Knopf has detailed how Canadian Copyright law is strong (protects incumbent copyright holders), including many ways that Canadian law is stronger than that of the USA (See: 21 Reasons Why Canadian Copyright Law is Already Stronger Than USA's, 22nd Example of How Canadian Copyright Law is Stronger than US - and Another Possible US Treaty Violation)

I had a recent twitter conversation with lawyer Barry Sookman, who has clients in the recording, motion picture and proprietary software industries. As a response to his tweet, "Canada again named to USTR’s Priority Watch List for weak IP laws", I said "Canada being on the USTR priority watch list for having strong Copyright (stronger than US in many ways) only makes list a joke". He then claimed I was wrong, pointing me his submission to the summer 2009 copyright consultation.

His submission didn't provide me with what I was looking for, which was something as detailed as what Mr. Knopf has authored.

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

IIPA would rather people "pirate" than switch to legal competitors

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) tipped their hand a bit in this years submission to the “Special 301" report process. While they again attacked Canada for having strong copyright law that is different than the USA, the most telling was their opposition to policies encouraging legally free of charge Open Source in their submissions for Brazil, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Encouraging legally free software is by far the best policy instrument to reduce software copyright infringement for the less financially rich countries and individuals of the world. For the vast majority of the worlds population the only viable options are to infringe royalty-based software or switch to royalty-free alternatives. The fact the IIPA is encouraging countries to have policies which increase infringement rather than have people switch to competing software is telling about their actual goals.

This is consistent with what past Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes previously stated, "If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else".

Don’t Blame Google

In an article for The Mark I suggest that we shouldn't blame Google when music blogs are shut down, since it’s the major record labels that are to blame.

Artists' lawsuit: major record labels are the real pirates

Interesting article by Jacqui Cheng in Ars Technica, reporting on an article by Michael Geist, about seemingly confirmed allegations of massive infringement by the major labels.

I think we should count out loud "one, two, three" for each CRIA member and ask why they are allowed to have an Internet connection. They are proponents of a "three strikes" rule, and such a rule should be applied to them first!

Copyright Consultation: the tail trying to wag the dog.

In yesterday's article, as well as my submission to the consultation, I suggested that the recording industry is like the tail trying to wag the dog in the copyright consultation. The recording industry represents one of three copyright holding groups in a larger music industry made up of composers, performers, and "makers" of sound recordings. While this group dominated the music industry in the past, modern technology will inevitably cause a restructuring of the music industry such that they will be the smallest of the three.

Contrary to recording industry claims, it is my belief that even if there wasn't a single unauthorized music file shared that the recording industry would be seeing a nearly identical decline.

>>> Read full article on ITWorldCanada's blog.

When Creativity Goes Digital

The Mark has published my op-ed which replies to the "sky is falling" claims in the article by Barry Sookman and Steven Stohn in the August 6 National Post.

Shortform: I disagree ;-)

Government imposition of specific business models on creators

My first draft of the op-ed for Georgia Straight was far too long, and included not only discussion of digital locks but also commentary about government imposing royalty-based business models. It also used Georgia Straight articles by Bill Henderson and Marian Hebb as illustrations. I'm including here that last part that needed to be cut out of the op-ed.

Why won't the movie and television studios accept my money?

I would gladly pay a hefty monthly fee for this wonderful service—if someone would take my money. In reality, I pay nothing because no company sells such a plan.

This quote is from a Slate article by Farhad Manjoo. While my personal choice is to simply not watch the movies/shows that are not offered to me rather than accessing them for free, I totally understand this situation. It is frustrating that these companies spend so much money on lobbying incorrectly claiming that infringement is the top reason for downturns in revenue.

Connecting the dots: legacy entertainment focused on "enablers", not infringers

Many people will have heard that the RIAA is going to be doing in the USA what they are doing in Canada: not suing individual music copyright infringers, even if copyright law enables them to. Their primary target has always been "enablers" (IE: providers of multi-purpose and predominantly legal technology, communications services, and software), but in the USA at least they have been launching massive lawsuits against everyone from single mothers to dead people.

A techdirt article Big Guns Come Out In Effort To Show RIAA's Lawsuits Are Unconstitutional may clarify why the change in tactics in the USA. It may be that the courts will confirm that the RIAA's lawsuit intimidation tactics are not legal after all.

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