Record Industry Braces for Artists & Battles Over Song Rights

The New York Times | August 15, 2011 | Larry Rohter

Since their release in 1978, hit albums like Bruce Springsteen &s Darkness on the Edge of Town, Billy Joel &s 52nd Street, the Doobie Brothers & Minute by Minute, Kenny Rogers &s Gambler and Funkadelic &s One Nation Under a Groove have generated tens of millions of dollars for record companies. But thanks to a little-noted provision in United States copyright law, those artists – and thousands more – now have the right to reclaim ownership of their recordings, potentially leaving the labels out in the cold.

[Comment from the Recording Industry]

We believe the termination right doesn &t apply to most sound recordings, said Steven Marks, general counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America, a lobbying group in Washington that represents the interests of record labels. As the record companies see it, the master recordings belong to them in perpetuity, rather than to the artists who wrote and recorded the songs, because, the labels argue, the records are works for hire, compilations created not by independent performers but by musicians who are, in essence, their employees.

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Crown Copyright – Canada

“Great news! Crown Copyright and Licensing (CCL) is pleased to announce that permission to reproduce Government of Canada works is no longer required, in part or in whole, and by any means, for personal or public non-commercial purposes, or for cost-recovery purposes, unless otherwise specified in the material you wish to reproduce.”

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In search of a compromise on copyright

Three issues stand out as the most contentious: digital locks, fair dealing reform, and the extension of the private copying levy.
Michael Geist | The Hill Times | November 8, 2010

Last week marked the return of the copyright debate to the House of Commons as Bill C-32 entered second reading. Six months after its introduction, it became immediately apparent that all three opposition parties will be seeking changes to the bill in return for their support. Three issues stand out as the most contentious: digital locks, fair dealing reform, and the extension of the private copying levy.

Bill C-32’s fair dealing reforms, which add education, parody, and satire to the list of fair dealing categories, represents the government’s attempt to strike a balance between those seeking a U.S.-style fair use provision and those opposed to new exception categories altogether…

The extension of fair dealing to education only affects the first part of the test. In other words, while Bill C-32 will extend the categories of what qualifies as fair dealing, it does not change the need for the use itself to be fair. The Supreme Court of Canada has identified six non-exhaustive factors to assist a court’s fairness inquiry: (1) the purpose of the dealing; (2) the character of the dealing; (3) the amount of the dealing; (4) alternatives to the dealing; (5) the nature of the work; and (6) the effect of the dealing on the work.

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New copyright biil C-32 for Canada

The first reading of Bill C-32: An Act to amend the Copyright Act was introduced on June 2, 2010.

The fulltext of the bill is available at:

Industry Canada’s – Balanced Copyright website:

Responses to the Bill:
CLA – Canadian Library Association

CAUT – Canadian Association of University Teachers

AUCC – Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

CFS – Canadian Federation of Students

CMEC Copyright Consortium

CBC News:

Time to transform our laws

National Post | May 31, 2010
Tony Clement and James Moore

Today, digital technologies fuel our economy and create jobs. Worldwide, the digital media sector is expected to grow to $2.2-trillion dollars over the next five years. More than ever, we live in a digital world. Countries around the world are continually promoting and embracing new technologies.

While there is solid proof that Canada is ready to seize the opportunities presented by these technologies, our laws have not kept pace.

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India set to introduce Copyright amendments

India has introduced a copyright bill to reform the act.

From Michael Geist: “Of particular note from a Canadian perspective are the approaches to fair dealing and anti-circumvention. On fair dealing, the provision is expanded to cover “private and personal use.” On anti-circumvention, the bill is consistent with implementing the WIPO Internet treaties in a manner that retains equal rights both online and offline. The provision specifically targets circumvention for the purposes of copyright infringement and does not target the distribution or marketing of devices that can be used to circumvent. “

Copyright bill to be tabled this spring: heritage minister

Andrew Mayeda and Sarah Schmidt | Canwest News Service | April 18, 2010

The federal government will soon unveil its latest version of legislation to modernize Canada’s copyright laws through a series of reforms that will affect everything from what Canadians can play on their iPods to how artists pay their bills.

In an interview ahead of the Juno Awards in St. John’s, Heritage Minister James Moore told Canwest News Service the government plans to introduce a new copyright bill this spring.

“It was a throne speech commitment, and we’re serious about doing it. The cross-country consultations we did last year were very substantive, very helpful,” Mr. Moore said. “We’re looking forward to tabling legislation soon.”

Since taking power in 2006, the Conservatives have tried several times to overhaul the country’s copyright regime, which stakeholders agree is no longer suited to deal with the flow of information in the age of digital content.

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NDP MP proposes new tax for MP3 players

Sarah Schmidt, Canwest News Service | March 16, 2010

Now that mixed tapes have disappeared from today’s lexicon, it’s time consumers cough up a little cash for a private copying levy for iPods and other MP3 players, according to a private member’s bill tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

The federal government first introduced private copying provisions in Canada’s Copyright Act in 1997 so musicians could be compensated when consumers purchased blank tapes or compact discs to make mixed tapes or CDs.

The levy, set by an independent board, is charged to manufacturers and importers and passed on to retailers and consumers. The money is then distributed to musicians and other copyright holders.

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Fair Dealing

CAUT Intellectual Property Advisory | Dec 2008

Fair Dealing is the right, within limits, to reproduce a substantial amount of a copyrighted work without permission from,or payment to, the copyright owner. Its purpose is to facilitate creativity and free expression by ensuring reasonable access to existing knowledge while at the same time protecting the interests of copyright owners. It is important that academic staff know their fair dealing rights and exercise them to the fullest extent. It is equally important that universities and colleges codify robust fair dealing practices in institutional policy. Such guidelines are necessary because the Copyright Act does not contain a simple formula that sets out exactly what may or may not be copied without permission or payment. Rather, fair dealing requires the exercise of judgement. This advisory, drawing on jurisprudence from the Supreme Court of Canada, offers direction in the exercise of this judgement and a framework for codifying institutional fair dealing policies.