September 19, 2007

Counterfeiting Chaos

I fear for our country's future. If our economy is increasingly based on trade of intellectual works, draconian IP laws are not the way to make this economy flourish.

Canada's current copyright legislation is antiquated and in need of update. It does not have the assumed definitions & scope of "fair use" that currently is under fire within the U.S., whereas we have fair dealing. There are threats that what little fair dealing we have will be taken away if the copyright lobby gets its way with current legislators. The CRIA, Canadian Recording Industry Association, supports Canadian artists less and seems to be more of a shill for US copyright interests. A signficant number of major Canadian artists, including Avril Lavinge, Barenaked Ladies, Feist, Sam Roberts, Sloan, Brocken Social Scene, Billy Talent, Sarah McLachlan, etc., have split from the CRIA and started their own (Barenaked-founded) association, the CCRC, which advocates an end to P2P lawsuits, elimination of DRM, and liberalization of copyright law.

Meanwhile, Canadian CD sales are tumbling, 35% in Q1 of 2007, and 50% annually overall since 1999, while digital distribution is surging. Canadian blank CD-R sales have a copying levy that effectively makes music P2P distribution legal, which amusingly is based on the short-sightedness and slow reaction time of the recording industry lobbyists and legislators, who somehow thought that the CD would be the primary vehicle of copying for 15+ years. Now the CRIA is fighting the very beast they helped create.

So, with this backdrop, it drives me absolutely nuts to read that the RCMP has completely fabricated levels of counterfeiting at $10-30 billion annually, a number that has no basis in fact, but has been trumpeted around by lobby groups and vested interest.

In the words of Stephen Colbert... "It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It's certainty."

Posted by stu at September 19, 2007 07:32 AM