Monday, January 26, 2009

Lobbying for Big Bucks

Jeff Norquay, a prominent pundit and lobbyist with Conservative ties (he is a former Harper PMO Communications Director) is quoted in the Hill Times today as follows:
Mr. Norquay also said the copyright lobby will be in full force when the House returns and he expects a draft legislation to be tabled within months. The government introduced copyright legislation in the last Parliament, but it died on the Order Paper when the election was called.

In its 2008 platform, the Conservatives said they would reintroduce it if re-elected. "Because of the complexities of finding the right balance in copyright between creators and users, I expect it will be fairly controversial," Mr. Norquay said. "That's the reason that it's taken so many years for copyright reform to occur."
The Hill Times goes on to say:
Lobby groups Canadian Recording Industry Association and the Canadian Private Copying Collective have recently registered lobbyists.
CRIA no doubt wants a "making available" right and a clear path to suing its members' Canadian customers. CPCC no doubt wants to expand the levy scheme which is rapidly evaporating due to the fact, as confirmed twice by the Federal Court of Appeal, that the levy scheme doesn't apply to "devices" such as iPods.

CRIA dislikes the current levy scheme, which it more than anyone is responsible for creating, because it makes downloading from the internet onto audio recording media legal. But it loves the money its members get from it through the CPCC, which has collected well over $200 million to date.

It will be interesting to see how CRIA and CPCC try to untangle the legal and policy webs they have woven together over the years - to the point that CRIA last year actually opposed CPCC in the Federal Court of Appeal case in which I acted strking down the "iPod Tax".

And when CRIA continues to whine about WIPO ratification for the purpose of helping Canadian artists, it knows perfectly well that the direct and inevitable result will be that the cost of the levy will almost precisely double due to the requirement to provide full national treatment, so that Canada will send potentially tens and possibly hundreds of millions a year in windfall levies to foreign record companies and performers (most performers will probably never see any of it), and get back virtually nothing in return. Hardly sound economics, even in normal times, which we won't see again for a long time. Officials who understand this situation are well aware of this problem.



No comments:

Post a Comment