Category Archives: News & Events

UNISON BENEVOLENT FUND LAUNCHES WITH GENEROUS DONATIONS FROM BOTH MUSIC CANADA AND SLAIGHT MUSIC

The Unison Benevolent Fund is pleased to announce that it is well on its way to becoming fully operational. With generous donations of $250,000 from both Music Canada (formerly CRIA), and Slaight Music, Unison is on target to achieve their $1M funding goal, which is the benchmark set for the organization to become operational.

The Unison Benevolent Fund is an assistance and referral program – created and administered for the music industry, by the music industry. Unison is designed to provide discreet relief to music industry personnel in times of personal hardship and crisis. The first two priorities for Unison are the Emergency Relief Fund and the creation of a counseling service, similar to the Employee Assistance Programs often available to staff of larger organizations. Details on the launch of these services will be announced soon.

“On behalf of Music Canada, an organization representing the major record labels in Canada, namely EMI Music Canada, Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Can-ada, I’m proud to be able to help Unison get off to a viable start,” said Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Recording Industry Association). “With today’s an-nouncement comes a unique opportunity for the entire industry to work hand in hand for the benefit of all workers in the music community.”

These generous donations were presented today to Unison founding members Jodie Ferneyhough and Catharine Saxberg by Gary Slaight and Derrick Ross representing Slaight Music and Steve Kane, Randy Lennox, Shane Carter and Deane Cameron, Graham Henderson representing Music Canada. Addition-ally, Music Canada has pledged $80,000 to assist with Unison’s operational costs.

Those who are interested in: learning more about the Unison Benevolent Fund, making a donation, finding out how to help the cause, or accessing Unison’s services are encouraged to visit www.unisonfund.ca and register. Although registration is not required for services, it will expedite the process should an emergency funding request be made, and will also allow Unison to keep registrants up to date on discounts and benefits on offer.

www.unisonfund.ca

World’s Largest Advertising Agency Stops Supporting Pirate Sites

GroupM, the world’s largest advertising agency, will stop buying advertising space on more than 2,000 global sites said to offer pirated or unlicensed content.  GroupM is focusing on digital pirates with a tough new buying policy to prevent marketers’ ads from appearing on websites that support piracy or distribute illegally obtained content.

The media company is including aggressive anti-piracy language into all future contract terms and conditions with publishers and ad networks. It has created a list of more than 2,000 U.S. offenders, which will be regularly updated, and has also asked content-producing clients to share their own lists of offending sites.

GroupM Interaction Global CEO Rob Norman stated:  “This policy extends to digital media buyers at all GroupM agencies, as well as other WPP companies like Team Detroit, which manages Ford’s media business.”  He also added that “we are serious about combating piracy and protecting our clients’ intellectual property as forcefully as we possibly can,”

CANADIAN PRIVATE COPYING COLLECTIVE (CPCC) SEES NO LEVY ON CLOUD-BASED MUSIC SERVICES

With Apple, Google and Amazon now offering consumers in the United States “cloud based” storage and retrieval of music files, much is being written in Canadian publications and blogs about the prospects of similar services being offered in this country and related potential issues.

Several articles and postings have speculated about what the CPCC’s view might be on these matters, and specifically whether we would view this type of music storage and retrieval as appropriate for a tariff under the private copying levy provision in the Copyright Act.

To clarify:

The CPCC collects levies on blank audio recording media used by individuals to make copies of music for their personal use. Providers of “cloud” music services offer remote storage of and access to music files.

Apple’s “iMatch” service in the U.S. (the only country where such a deal has been struck) was undertaken on the basis of license agreements with rights holders, specifically the major record labels.  The CPCC views these services, and specifically the “iMatch” offering, as a matter of licensing between the rights holders and the cloud service providers, and not one of private copying.

It is not our position that cloud-based music distribution systems should be subject to a private copying levy under the Copyright Act, and the CPCC will not seek to obtain levies for private copies of music made with cloud storage services.

Judge Approves $50 Million In Music Royalties Case

A $50-million settlement has been approved in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against four Canadian record labels for unpaid royalties.  According to the original statement of claim, filed in 2008, there were more than 300,000 works on pending lists which contain works where no license was obtained and no compensation paid.

The Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) and the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SODRAC) will administer a new system for payment of royalties to music rights holders.

“The practices which gave rise to the pending list in the past will end,” said Tim Pinos, counsel for the CMRRA and SODRAC. He said the new process will first ensure efforts are made to find the rights holders and, if not found, the record companies may apply for an unlocatable license and the money for that license will be paid into trust held by CMRRA and SODRAC.

 

WARNER MUSIC GROUP PURCHASED FOR $3.3 BILLION

Warner Music Group has been purchased by Russian born billionaire Len Blavatnik of Access Industries.  The Russian-born billionaire for $ 3.3 billion, an acquisition which includes both the music recording and publishing divisions of the third largest record label in the United States.

Warner Music anticipates a finalized, sealed deal sometime during the third quarter, pending various regulatory approvals and customary closing details. “I am excited to extend my longstanding involvement with Warner Music,” Blavatnik stated. “It is a great company with a strong heritage and home to many exceptional artists. I look forward to working closely with the many talented people within the company.”

The fate of Warner employees remains unclear at this stage, as does future role of various top-level Warner executives. “We believe this transaction is an exceptional value-maximizing opportunity that serves the best interests of stockholders as well as the best interests of music fans, our recording artists and songwriters, and the wonderful people of this company,” said WMG chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr. “We are delighted that Access will be the new steward of this outstanding business.”

 

In Memoriam; Ed Glinert

CMPA is very saddened by the untimely death of Ed Glinert, President of Casablanca Media Publishing, on May 21st, following a stroke.  Ed was a board member of CMRRA and SOCAN, and a passionate, respected member of our community.  He was a 40 year veteran of the music business, starting as a booking agent and promoter. After law school, he practiced entertainment law before starting his music publishing company, Casablanca…named for one of his favourite movies.  Donations can be made in Ed’s name to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, or the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children.

Ed will be missed.

2010 Stats Show Digital Radio Revenue Higher Than Paid Plans

According to statistics released earlier this month by the Recording Industry Association of America, Internet and satellite radio music services like Pandora brought in more revenue than paid all-you-can-eat music subscriptions from firms such as Rhapsody and MOG for the first time last year.

Both forms of digital music paled in comparison to downloads of single songs, such as from Apple Inc.’s iTunes store. Downloads of single songs grew 12 percent to $1.37 billion, while album downloads grew 9 percent to $828.8 million.  Statistics also show that digital downloads did grow 3 percent last year to $3.21 billion.

“The subscription services have been relatively flat for the five or six years we’ve been tracking them,” said Joshua Friedlander, the RIAA’s vice president of research and strategic analysis. “Digital performance royalties, on the other hand, which reflect services like Pandora, have been growing amazingly.”

 

File Sharing Outlawed in New Zealand

New Zealand has passed a law against online piracy which outlaws file-sharing and threatens users who breach copyright through illegal file-sharing with possible fines of up to $15,000 or suspension of their internet use.

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill passed its third reading yesterday with only the Green Party and two independent MPs voting against the bill finally ending two years of heated discussion and an online “blackout” protest on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

“Online copyright infringement has been damaging for the creative industry, which has experienced significant declines in revenue as file sharing has become more prevalent,” Commerce Minister Simon Power said.  “This legislation will discourage illegal file sharing and provide more effective measures to help our creative industries enforce their copyright.”

 

Michael Ignatieff announces new support for Canadian artists

A Liberal government will turn the page on five years of Conservative neglect and hostility towards arts and culture by strengthening this key sector of the economy with a boost to the Canadian Council for the Arts and programs that promote Canadian artists to global markets, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff announced today.

“In communities right across this country, and especially here in Quebec,we have some of the greatest artists in the world – authors, musicians, dancers, painters, and actors – who every day inspire us, teach us, and project Canada’s image and values abroad,” said Mr. Ignatieff at a roundtable with Culture Montréal, where he was joined by Martin Cauchon, Liberal candidate for Outremont, and Pablo Rodriguez, Liberal candidate for Honoré-Mercier.

“Arts and culture is central to the identity of Canada and Quebec, which is why Liberals believe the federal government has an important role to play in promoting our artists,” said Mr. Ignatieff.  “The Conservatives don’t agree – they see culture as the private domain of elites and treat the cultural community with contempt, without ever acknowledging how important the cultural sector is to the Canadian economy.”

A Liberal government will support our artists as they navigate both the opportunities and challenges of the new digital society by:

  • Doubling the annual budget of the Canada Council for the Arts, from $180 million to $360 million over the next four years;
  • Restoring the PromArt and Trade Routes cultural promotion programs to help Canadian artists promote themselves to markets around the world, bring international buyers to Canada and strengthen Canada’s cultural industry, with increased funding to these programs of $25 million per year; and
  • Providing the CBC and Radio-Canada with stable and predictable funding in support of their unique and crucial roles.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, culture generates more than $80 billion in direct and indirect economic benefits every year, and creates 1.1 million jobs across the country.

“Arts and culture remains a major engine of our economy,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “Artists and creators tell Canada’s story on a daily basis, across our country and around the world.  Today, the digital revolution offers exciting opportunities for artists to reach global audiences.

“We can strengthen Canadian arts and culture – without raising taxes on families – if we stop corporate giveaways, control wasteful spending, and focus on what really matters: giving every Canadian the tools to succeed in the years ahead.”
BACKGROUND

Promoting arts and culture and home-grown content in a Digital Canada
The cultural sector is a major engine of the Canadian economy.  According to the Conference Board of Canada, culture generates more than $80 billion in direct and indirect economic benefits every year, and creates 1.1 million jobs across the country.

Artists and creators tell Canada’s story on a daily basis, across our country, and around the world.  They inspire us, teach us, and project our image and values abroad.  Today, the digital revolution offers innovative opportunities to reach global audiences.

Liberals have always been committed to the value of cultural expression and understood that artists are hard-working citizens.  A Liberal government will support our artists as they navigate both the opportunities and challenges of the new digital society.

As news and entertainment choices proliferate, accelerated by new digital technologies, concerns have grown about the future of Canadian content in our major media and local news and programming.  In this fragmented media environment, public broadcasting is an essential promoter and defender of Canadian culture, in both French and English.  On the radio, on television, and through the Internet, the mandate of the CBC and Radio-Canada remains to inform, enlighten and entertain with programming that is distinctively Canadian, reflecting the country and its regions to national and local audiences.

Doubling funding for the arts

The Canadian Council for the Arts is a major force in supporting Canada’s working artists. The Council is Canada’s national, arm’s length arts funding agency, providing grants, research funding and promotional funding to individual artists and arts organizations throughout the country.  A Liberal government will significantly increase support for Canadian artists and creators by doubling the annual budget of the Canada Council for the Arts, from $180 million to $360 million over the next four years.

Reversing Conservative cuts to international arts promotion

In 2008, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government cancelled the PromArt and Trade Routes cultural promotion programs. These programs helped Canadian artists promote themselves to markets around the world, brought international buyers to Canada and strengthened Canada’s cultural industry.

A Liberal government will reverse this short-sighted decision by restoring the PromArt and Trade Routes cultural promotion programs and increasing funding to $25 million per year.

Stabilizing funding for the CBC/Radio-Canada

A Liberal government will provide the CBC and Radio-Canada with stable and predictable funding in support of their unique and crucial roles. The role of the public broadcaster is especially significant for Radio-Canada, which remains the unique defender of the French language on the airwaves from coast to coast to coast.

Questions and Answers
Q: How much will this initiative cost?

A: A Liberal government will double the annual budget of the Canada Council for the Arts, from $180 million to $360 million over the next four years. We will also increase funding for cultural promotion to markets around the world by increasing the budgets of PromArt and Trade Routes, for a total investment of $25 million.

Q: Why are you doubling the budget of the Canada Council for the Arts?

A: We believe in the role of culture as an economic driver. This is an industry that generates, directly and indirectly, upwards of $80 billion a year and employs over 1.1 million Canadians. One of the ways in which we can support our artists and creators is to increase the budget of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Q: Where are you going to get the money to fund your cultural programs?

A: First, this is a choice that we will make because we believe in supporting culture.

Second, as responsible managers of taxpayer dollars, we have identified a revenue source for each of our new commitments. To fund this particular commitment, we will use the proceeds from the upcoming wireless spectrum auction. Part of the auction proceeds will be used to support investments in arts and culture.

 

COMPENSATION TO MUSIC CREATORS FOR PRIVATE COPYING HINGES ON FEDERAL ELECTION RESULT

Canada’s recording artists could potentially lose a vitally important revenue stream depending on the outcome of the federal election, warns the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC).

“The policy platforms released by the major parties present music rights holders with stark possibilities: from stable and continued compensation for private copies made of their music, to the elimination of an important part of the livelihood they earn through their art,” said Annie Morin, Chair of the CPCC.

The future of the private copying levy, currently applied to the sale of blank CDs to provide compensation to artists and other rights holders for private copies made of their music, is at risk. As Canadians increasingly turn to newer technology like MP3 players to copy music, the amount of money generated by the levy on blank CDs is rapidly declining.

“As artists and musicians, we feel that it is critically important to our futures that the Copyright Act be updated to address the reality that Canadians are increasingly using new technologies like MP3 players to copy music. We are not disputing that people should be allowed to copy music for their own personal use. But, those copies have value and as artists and music creators we must be compensated for them. It’s an issue of basic fairness and our politicians have to recognize that,” said Juno Award winning jazz artist Sophie Milman.

The position of the major parties on private copying breaks down as follows:

Conservative Party: Opposes extending the private copying levy to MP3 players; promising to re-introduce Bill C-32 (Copyright Modernization Act) which would allow private copying onto devices such as MP3 players but offers no modernization of the private copying levy to new technologies.

Liberal Party: Promises a new Private Copying Compensation Payment of $35 million, to be transferred to music creators each year through the CPCC. The party says its proposed Private Copying Compensation Payment would be written in law within the Copyright Act, and would increase at the rate of inflation and be reviewed every five years.

NDP: Promises “a bill on copyright reform to ensure that Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, while balancing consumers’ and creators’ rights.” No specifics.

Bloc Québécois: Promises to ensure that amendments to the Copyright Act will be fair to creators and consumers, including extending the private copying levy to MP 3 players and other portable digital devices to provide reasonable royalties to artists.

“The CPCC is pleased that the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois have recognized that copies of music made for private use have value and that rights holders should receive compensation for those copies. The CPCC also commends the NDP for their commitment to balance consumers’ and creators’ rights. We encourage all music rights holders to look carefully at the positions of the various parties on private copying before casting their ballots on May 2,” said Annie Morin. “Their ability to continue to earn a living from their music may hang in the balance.”