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Liberals Seek to Replace Music Levy with Direct Subsidy

The Liberal Party of Canada announced that it proposes several amendments to the Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-32), including the establishment of a new $35 million subsidy to be paid to the music industry each year.

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Liberals Propose Amendments to Conservative’s Copyright Bill to Protect the Rights of Artists

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff today outlined several amendments the Liberal Party will be seeking to the Conservatives’ new copyright bill C-32 to protect the rights of artists.

“Bill C-32 is flawed and does not strike a proper balance, particularly in ensuring Canadian artists and creators are fairly compensated for their work,” said Mr. Ignatieff.

“Our amendments seek fair compensation for artists that would be predictable, stable and shielded from government whims, without imposing new fiscal burdens on consumers.”

The Liberal Party consulted thoroughly with artists across the country before coming up with this balanced solution. Specifically, the Liberal Party will seek to introduce a new Private Copying Compensation Payment of $35 million to be transferred to Canadian artists each year, through the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC). Liberals are proposing a new statutory program, written in law within the Copyright Act, which will increase at the rate of inflation and be reviewed every five years.

“The Liberal Party does not support the iPod levy. It is not sustainable in a world of changing technology, and is unpopular with consumers,” said Marc Garneau, Liberal Industry, Science and Technology Critic. “Canadians are already using multipurpose media devices to listen to music, like Blackberries, iPhones, iPads and computer livestreaming, on which the levy would not apply.”

“Today, some 95% of music on people’s devices are uncompensated downloads,” added Pablo Rodriquez, Liberal Heritage Critic. “What we are proposing is a long-term, technologically neutral and sustainable solution to ensure artists are properly compensated for their work.”

“We will continue to work in committee to improve C-32 to achieve a proper balance of Canada’s copyright laws in the digital age,” said Liberal Consumer Affairs Critic Dan McTeague. “Although the legislation passed by the previous Liberal government in 1997 served the arts community well at the time, technology has changed how culture is consumed.”

The Liberal Party will also seek to amend C-32 in order to:

• Restrict the education exemption by clearly defining “education” and inserting a clear and strict test for “fair” use for education purposes;

• Re-insert the right of ephemeral recordings;

• Restrict and tighten the language for “mash-ups”;

• Remove the arbitrary 1988 statute on public expositions;

• Introduce a new resale right on art, similar to European laws;

• Ensure the rights of Canadian photographers are comparable to those shared by photographers around the world; and

• Address the overly-restrictive digital lock provisions for personal uses.

The Liberal Party has long supported the Canadian arts community. Earlier this year, Liberals committed to doubling the Canada Council for the Arts and restoring programs like PromArt and Trade Routes with approximately $200 million more in annual funding.