Billy Bragg Appears Before Canadian Parliament to Discuss Copyright Laws and Defend Downloaders, Performs Free Picket-Line Concert in Quebec
Published Nov 20, 2009If there's anyone who truly gets behind what he's singing about, it's politically charged singer-songwriter Billy Bragg. The musician, who is currently touring across Canada, spent today (November 20) appearing in Parliament and performing at a protest rally.
First off, the Globe and Mail reports that Bragg joined NDP MP Charlie Angus (who previously stirred up some copyright controversy here at Exclaim!) to discuss copyright laws in Parliament. While Bragg admitted he could see the need for change in the digital music world, he said that the real focus should be on record labels making a profit from downloading, not by criminalizing downloaders.
"We have a slogan that where money is made, artists must be paid. What's implicit in that slogan is that we should go after those people who are making profit from giving our stuff away for free or selling it online," he said. "The other edge of that particular argument is that people who are sharing files...really should not be within the reach of the copyright law."
While he could have called it a day there, Bragg kept the good deeds flowing by heading over to a protest at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, QC. CBC< reports that over 420 workers have been on strike there since late September, and Bragg rallied support with a free acoustic concert.
"I'm very, very proud to have the public service workers union here," he said during the performance. "Public service workers all over the world are the first to get put under the thumb when times get difficult and this is shameful, I think. Public service workers represent us. They're people who go out there, and in your case, tell our story."
It was a busy Friday for the legendary activist, and his full schedule will continue into the weekend. Besides his already scheduled tour dates, Bragg will also be doing a free in-store performance at Vancouver's Zulu Records tomorrow (November 21). The performance takes place at 2 p.m.
11/21 Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
11/23 Victoria, BC - Alix Goolden Performance Hall
11/24 Edmonton, AB - Winspear Centre
11/25 Calgary, AB - Jack Singer Hall
11/28 Winnipeg, WB - Burton Cummings Theatre