Last fall, the Canadian Music Creators Coalition (CMCC) -- an organization of 201 Canadian recording artists, including Avril Lavigne, called for the Canadian government not to pursue the U.S. approach allowing recording companies to sue individuals for large statutory damage awards for downloading copyrighted songs via free file sharing programsi:
This call comes in the wake of the landmark judgment October 4 against Jamie Thomas, the single mother of two from Brainerd, MN who was hit with a penalty of $222,000 US for downloading 24 songs (approximately 90 minutes of music with a retail value of less than $25) and the Federal Government’s addition of “copyright reform” to its list of priorities in last week’s throne speech.
“When the Canadian Record Industry Association (CRIA) says ‘copyright reform’ what they really mean is ‘give a free hand to sue fans who download like they have in the US,’” explained CMCC representative and Barenaked Ladies front man Steven Page. “We hope the government has a better solution in mind.”
“We think lawsuits like the one in Minnesota would be terrible for the music business in Canada. It’s shortsighted to say ‘See you in court’ one day and ‘See you at Massey Hall’ the next,” Page continued. “If record labels want to try and sue fans, we hope that they’ll have the courtesy to stop trying to do it in our names.”
The CMCC suggests a more effective legislative approach to peer-to-peer technology would be one that accepts current technological and music-business realities. “It’s been nearly ten years since peer-to-peer file sharing changed the music industry and, despite what some people suggest, suing people isn’t going to make it 1995 again,” Page elaborated. “Capitol Records v. Thomas is just another example of the drastic measures American record labels have been taking against their fans for years. Despite all this ill will, peer-to-peer downloading hasn’t shown any sign of going away. If the Canadian government wants to reform copyright it should be creating a made-in-Canada solution that looks to where the music industry is going, not where it was.”