CIMA Comments on Bill C-11 Copyright Modernization Act

CIMA has created 10 specific recommendations for changes to the federal government’s proposed legislation that will update and change Canada’s copyright laws.

Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act (as it is known) is now being reviewed by a special all-party committee comprising members of parliament, the majority of which are members of the governing Conservative Party. It is expected that this Bill will be passed and approved by Parliament before Christmas, but CIMA would like to see several amendments to the Bill in order to ensure that it truly does protect the rights of creators and copyright holders in the music industry.

CIMA also believes that the government’s respect for the rule of law, and for victims’ rights, must be the foundation of Bill C-11, and any and all other legislation that serves to protect and nourish critical sectors of Canada’s economy.

While Bill C-11 does make in-roads to modernize the Copyright Act in regard to Canada’s obligations under international treaties, CIMA believes that some provisions of this Bill will lead to significant problems for copyright owners in their efforts to protect their rights, determine the use of their works and to enjoy reasonable compensation for their intellectual property.   Hence, CIMA’s proposed recommendations for specific changes to the Bill.

In CIMA’s view, it is critically important that the government ‘get it right’ in terms of ensuring that copyright owners not only have the tools to flourish and be compensated for their efforts, but that effective measures are put in place to protect their intellectual property from being misappropriated or misused.

Highlights of CIMA’s position:

    • Legitimate control and ownership of intellectual property – music and sound recordings – must and should be strengthened and protected in law
      • rights-holders within the music industry’s ‘supply chain’ must and should be fairly compensated for the use of their property in all commercial ventures, regardless of the medium used
      •  in an industry struggling to nurture and develop Canadian talent, there is a need of any and all support that will help them stabilize and ultimately grow the independent music sector
    • CIMA members and the industry at large are potentially facing the annual loss of $21.2 million a year through the decline or loss of the Broadcast Mechanical tariff, if the Bill is approved as currently drafted
      • should follow the basic principle that intellectual property has inherent value, and that the owners of such property must and should always be fairly compensated for its use
      • exceptions to this basic tenet devalue intellectual property, and in CIMA’s view, are not in keeping with the spirit of intent of Bill C-11
    • Bill C-11 does not extend the private copying tariff to include new media such as digital audio recorders, an oversight that CIMA is encouraging the government to reconsider
      • this money is an important source of revenue for the independent music industry, and is often used to aid tour start-up costs, finance new albums or to simply pay the bills while they create the music Canadians value
    • There are several sections of Bill C-11 where the intent of the language is laudable and indeed supported by CIMA and its membership
      • clarity of language and intent is critically important for the Bill to be truly effective and enforceable by government
      • failure to provide specificity, as well as the language that will truly serve to support and nurture an innovative culture and intellectual property, will result in confusion, a loss of investment, and a never-ending cycle of fruitless, expensive and numerous litigation proceedings against those that misappropriate or misuse copyrighted music
    • CIMA has serious concerns with provisions in Bill C-11 that permit the uses of copyrighted material without the express consent from, or fair compensation to, the copyright holders
      • once exceptions are given — particularly those exceptions with broad or vague definitions – then the inherent value of intellectual property is not only dramatically diminished, but may also be irrevocably damaged beyond repair
    • CIMA recommends that the Term of Copyright for musical works be extended to a minimum of 70 years in keeping with international standards
      • while a minimum of 70 years has been in existence in the United States for a number of years, the European Union recently extended the term of copyright protection offered to performers and producers of musical works to 70 years from 50 years.

To view the entire submission in PDF form, click here.