Calling bullshit on IFPI claims about piracy in Canada

Canada has once again been singled out as an international digital music piracy haven, this time by the London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) in its annual report on music sales.

The global industry association said yesterday that Canada, where music sales in 2009 were off 7.4 per cent from a year earlier, has “some of the world’s weakest legal defences against piracy.” The association said Canada was “a major source of the world’s privacy [sic.] problem” and that “a disproportionate number of illegal sites are hosted on Canadian soil.”

The Canadian government is “practically the only government of a developed country not to have implemented international copyright treaties agreed over a decade ago,” the organization said. According to the group’s numbers, over the past decade, Canadian record sales plummeted more than 50 per cent.

I call bullshit on this.

Canadian record sales dropped 50 percent because Canadians are early adopters of digital technologies and made the move to digital music earlier and more completely than many other places, while the music industry has refused to negotiate licensing arrangements that would have benefited artists (if not the industry) and created a vibrant legal market for digital music in Canada, instead focusing on the push for laws to protect an outdated and outmoded music industry business model.

Copyright law may need to be updated, yes, but for the music industry to claim that the reason it needs to be updated is the mass migration of Canadians away from the very business model those updates would protect… that’s just ridiculous.

[BTW, I do work for Industry Canada, but not on anything to do with copyright. Anything in this blog, including this post, is of course my own personal opinion and does not reflect the views of Industry Canada or the Government of Canada. Of course.]

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