Published Jun 22, 2010Brasstronaut singer-keyboardist and Unfamiliar Records manager Edo Van Breemen was a recent guest on CBC's Early Edition, speaking about the recently tabled Bill C-32, which aims to "strengthen" Canadian copyright law. Like many Canadians, Van Breemen isn't too happy with the bill.
He recently summed up and expanded on his position in a post on his band's blog, telling Exclaim!, "The more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became. I think the public generally needs to be more aware of this copyright legislation, and what it means for musicians' careers in this country."
Van Breemen says he takes exception with the differentiation between commercial and individual copyright violations, which, in the bill's current form reads: "Individuals found violating copyright law could be liable for penalties between $100 and $5,000, which is below the current $20,000 maximum."
In Van Breemen blog post, he writes: "To me this says: let's set up a new, lower penalty bracket for for the personal violator (i.e., myself, you and everyone else who downloads illegally on the Internet), distinct from the commercial violator, so that record companies can more conveniently go after these petty cases."
This was the RIAA's tactic over the last five years in the U.S., where the lobbying arm for the record industry managed to sue 35,000 of its own customers. They've stopped doing that, in favour of simply cutting off violators Internet connections.
"The question becomes: what kind of record companies or musicians will be able to follow up on these types of cases in court?" asks Van Breemen. "The answer is simply, only the richest ones who can afford legal representation."
Beside the usual sabre rattling that generally accompanies these copyright debates, Van Breemen offers a few solutions. For one, he thinks the government should acknowledge that there is no realistic way to stop people from illegally downloading music.
"A more progressive government might acknowledge this trend and relate it to artistic development and innovation. It might say: hey, since we're making all sorts of cuts to arts funding, let's see what we can do to monitor downloading for the purpose of figuring what artists might be worth endorsing in order to further enrich our nation's culture."
You can read the entire post at Brasstronaut's blog.