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Re: Canada Puts Arctic Chill On Music Industry

A great collection of out-takes from various Canadian newspapers - most if not all quite right-wing in general editorial swing...but I digress.

So, as a Canadian who has sort of followed this suit...

in short

1. The copying of music files (onto CD-R's, MP3 players, etc) was deemed to not be in violation of Canadian copyright laws because 3 years ago (Jan 2001) the Canadian Music Industry/Artists Unions came to an agreement with the sellers of blank recording media (as stated above, plus...) that resulted in a levy being placed on each blank media sold retail - this levy was to help off set the alleged loss of income to the artists in Canada. The payment of this levy was then deemed to be the purchase of the (copy)right to copy / use the music.

So, there could be not copyright violation because people (in Canada, to whom the law and courts apply) have been deemed to have purchased the rights to the music they have been accessing.

The judge also made a comparison to photocopiers in libraries, and the lending of books from libraries.

2. Uploaders, those who provide files on their computers, have been deemed to not be in violation of the law because....those who download the music are not in violation of the law, and you can not be in violation of the law if the end user of your 'files' are not violating the law.

3. On the issue of young people allegedly burning CD's and selling them in school yards, the judge ruled that if you bring those individuals to court, they can be charged, as they are in violation of the law when and only when they sell the music.

I suspect that this is not the end.

Steve in Canada.

At 07:21 PM 4/1/04, you wrote:
I found this quite interesting....
Kevin in VT

Canada Puts Arctic Chill On Music Industry


By Cynthia L. Webb
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Thursday, April 1, 2004; 10:01 AM

Tired of being harassed by suits from the recording industry just because you
want to share some free music online? Go to Canada.

A Canadian federal judge essentially ruled yesterday that song-swapping in the
Great White North is legal. The decision throws a curve ball at the music
business, which has been ramping up its international efforts this week to
thwart online music piracy. The most notable example is the International
Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which started taking legal action
against hundreds of suspected European file sharers. The Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) also has been on a lawsuit binge since last
. Federal Court of Canada ruling (PDF)

USA Today noted that "[w]hile two courts -- in Denmark and the USA -- ruled in
favor of file-sharing services in the past, Canadian Judge Konrad von
Finckenstein is the first to OK the actions of file sharers." The Globe and
Mail reported that the decision "went far beyond privacy issues, dealing a
huge blow to the Canadian music industry and its efforts to stop Internet
users from sharing music files. Mr. Justice Konrad von Finckenstein ruled
yesterday that the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) failed in
all respects to make a case for requiring Internet companies to turn over the
identities of big music downloaders."

Indeed, the ruling gives a nod to file-swappers and gives the peer-to-peer
community fresh ammunition to fend off legal volleys from the recording
industry. Nevertheless, media coverage is already pointing out that the
ruling's legal impact here in the United States could be minimal if not nil.

"Canadian law isn't binding," New York copyright attorney Whitney Broussard
told USA Today "But you could see lawyers here making the same kind of
arguments and pointing to the Canadian decision."
. USA Today: Canadian Judge Says Swapping Songs Online Is Legal
. Canada's Globe and Mail: Ruling Deals Blow To Music Industry
. The Associated Press via washingtonpost.com: Canada Rules Against File
Sharing Suits (Registration required)

The Los Angeles Times said "Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa professor
who specializes in Internet law, said Von Finckenstein's ruling could
eliminate the music industry's ability to sue individual Canadians. File
sharers in other countries may not find similar protection, he said, noting
that Canadian copyright law carves out an exemption for copying music for
private use."

The paper also reported that Judge von Finckenstein's "legal blessing was an
unexpected setback to the music industry's expanding international effort to
stop free and unauthorized downloads. But experts said the judge's ruling
hinged on elements of Canadian law not found in many other countries

CRIA General Counsel Richard Pfohl in a statement picked up by CNET's News.com
said: "In our view, the copyright law in Canada does not allow people to put
hundreds or thousands of music files on the Internet for copying, transmission
and distribution to millions of strangers."

BBC News reported more details on how the case in Canada originated. "Canada's
music industry, the sixth largest in the world, had been encouraged to take
action following the success of anti-piracy crackdowns in the US. The
companies claim music swapping costs them millions of dollars in lost sales
every year," the news service said. "Firms including EMI and Universal wanted
the courts in Canada to order internet service providers to give them the
names of 29 alleged large-scale offenders. But Judge [von Finckenstein], of
Canada's Federal Court, stressed that online music swapping did not constitute
commercial distribution."
. BBC News Online: Judge Blocks Online Piracy Action
. CNET's News.com: Judge File-Sharing Legal In Canada

Canadian Sensibilities

From the Vancouver Sun: "In what analysts termed a stunning decision, von
Finckenstein ruled that file-sharing, the uploading and downloading of files
over the Internet using shared directories like those on Kazaa, is not illegal
under Canadian copyright law, reaffirming what the Copyright Board of Canada
has already ruled," the paper said.
. The Vancouver Sun: Sharing Music Over Internet Not Illegal, Court Rules

Matthew Ingram of the Globe and Mail wrote that the judge's ruling "didn't
just poke a few holes in the industry's legal case - he blew it completely out
of the water. In fact, if it was a turkey and this was hunting season, it
would be nothing but a cloud of feathers. There were a number of reasons why
Judge Finckenstein might have quashed the Canadian Recording Industry
Association's attempt to identify individual music uploaders, including the
fact that it is difficult to tie specific IP (Internet Protocol) addresses to
individual users, or to ensure that those users were the ones who actually
shared the music files at the time in question."

Ingram also wrote that "as far as [Canada's] Federal Court is concerned,
neither the downloading nor the sharing of digital music files is illegal
under Canadian law. Should it be? Judge von Finckenstein didn't deal with that
issue, since it's not the court's job. If the federal government wants
file-swapping to be illegal, it will have to make that clear - because as of
Wednesday, one of the country's senior judges is convinced that it is not. And
the recording industry is left to lick its wounds and plan some other form of
. The Globe and Mail: Ingram: File Swappers Win Big

The Ottawa Business Journal called the ruling "a blow for the Canadian
Recording Industry Association (CRIA). Last month, the industry association
took five Internet Service Providers to Federal Court in an attempt to force
them to disclose the names and addresses of 29 people alleged to have shared
hundreds of songs with others using programs like Kazaa. In his ruling, von
Finckenstein said that downloading a song or making files available in shared
directories like those on Kazaa was not a crime. The ruling means that the
five ISPs will not have to disclose the identities of the 29 individuals.
Without the names, CRIA can't file lawsuits," the paper said.
. The Ottawa Business Journal: Federal Judge Quashes Attempt To Identify Music

The Edmonton Journal wrote: "Given Wednesday's blunt decision by the court,
the mainline record industry may next turn to federal legislators, seeking
amendments to the Copyright Act. It could be a longer wait than the Glass
Tiger comeback CD, considering that it took almost a century to clean up the
complicated relic last time. With federal Liberals gun-shy of anything
approaching corporate stroking and the Conservatives and NDP in touch with
their respective libertarian and youth pandering sides, the Mexican standoff
isn't likely to resolve anytime soon."
. The Edmonton Journal: Ruling Leaves Industry In Musical Mexican Standoff

Rising Sales, Falling Employment

Music sales continue to rise, according to new numbers from Nielsen SoundScan.
"Album sales for the first quarter rose 9.2% from a year earlier, with strong
gains in sales of both current and older albums. Total sales for the quarter
reached 158 million copies, up from 144.7 million for the first quarter of
2003," The Wall Street Journal reported. But the paper said the "industry
continues to cut back. Yesterday, EMI Group PLC announced it was cutting 1,500
jobs, or 20% of its work force, and dropping weak acts from its roster. Warner
Music Group also is in the midst of deep personnel cuts."
. The Wall Street Journal: Album Sales Show 9.2% Increase In Quarter as
Rebound Continues (Subscription required)