Canadian Musicians Stand Up to Labels

A group of Canadian musicians began speaking out Wednesday, saying record labels are not acting in the artists' best interests by suing fans and using digital rights management. The group, called the Canadian Music Creators Coalition, hopes to counter the influence of lobbyists for the labels in the creation of copyright law.

Some of the musicians involved would be recognizable to American music fans: the Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, Sarah MacLachlan, Sum 41, and Our Lady Peace among others.

"I think suing our fans is the wrong path to take when we're trying to nurture our fan base," Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies said on the Canada AM television show Wednesday. "Studies show that people who share music online are more apt to spend more money on music."

The Coalition is looking to repeal provisions of the Copyright Act that make it illegal share songs for non-commercial purposes. In addition, the group opposes any changes to the law that would make it easier for the record companies to sue.

Digital rights management is also a focus of the group's lobbying. They claim that most artists do not support DRM, as it curtails the listener's enjoyment of the music they buy. Additionally, the Coalition is pushing for fair use laws that would allow the listener to transfer their digital music to other formats.

"That's really frustrating as a musician and a fan," Page said. "When you make music, you want people to listen to it wherever."

The Canadian Music Creators Coalition is also involved in some offline work as well. The group says too much focus is placed on groups from outside the country, and it is pushing for the government to support programs like the Canada Music Fund, and invest in music education along with giving artists more bargaining power over their music.

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