Songwriters and musicians disappointed with Bill C-61

I’m proud to be a member of both the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) and the Canadian Music Creators Coalition (CMCC). Both organizations have expressed their disappointment with Bill C-61. It’s not that hard, really, but it’s noteworthy since the bill is supposed to be “protecting artists.”

The SAC is concerned about their proposal to monetize peer-to-peer file sharing (aka the music tax), which I’ve described as a forward thinking approach from backward thinking minds. The proposal has the right idea (to embrace the technology), it just goes about things the wrong way (namely, the fee is involuntary). Bill C-61 would completely undermine any attempt to accommodate the technology. The SAC’s response to the bill is quite critical:

C-61’s intent to halt [unauthorized file sharing] will be very expensive, will erode the good relationships we have with music lovers and will not be effective…

Where the SAC music file sharing proposal is consumer friendly in that it embraces file sharing… bill C-61 is unfriendly to music file sharing and would make this very popular activity clearly illegal;

Where our proposal is economically viable and is designed to generate income for creators and rights holders, the bill C-61 approach to file sharing is not economic for rights holders. Money generated through lawsuits would simply go to legal costs;

Where our proposal is practical and sensible in that it builds on existing activities… the bill C-61 regime would be impractical relying as it does on enforcement and punishment to reverse how many consumers access our music.

The CMCC’s response is even harsher:

It’s all locks and lawsuits… Suing fans won’t make it 1992 again. It’s a new world for the music business and this is an old approach… The question is, who gains from this bill? It’s not musicians. Musicians don’t need lawsuits, we don’t need DRM protection. These aren’t the things that help us or our careers.

If artists are against Bill C-61, who is it supposed to be protecting?

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