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Extending the term of copyright will harm Canadian economy

Canadians will bear the costs of the new copyright extension, with less choice and higher prices.  Article by Michael Geist for the Toronto Star The Conservative government’s budget this week included benefits for some families, assistance for seniors and future tax reductions for small businesses.  While those measures were widely anticipated, more surprising was the multimillion-dollar gift to foreign record companies, who were overjoyed at the decision to extend the term of copyright and keep some sound recordings out of the public domain for decades. The government unexpectedly announced that it was extending the term of copyright for sound recordings and performances from the current 50 years of protection to 70 years. 

While the industry emphasized the expiry of copyright for creators, the reality is that copyright in songs lasts for the life of the songwriter plus an additional 50 years. What is therefore at stake with the government's proposed copyright term extension is not copyright in the song, but rather in the sound recording. Recording companies, not the artists, often hold those rights. 

The European Union debated copyright term extension for these rights several years ago and studies on the issue found that the vast majority of revenues went to the record labels, rather than the artists. For example, one study estimated that the costs to the public would exceed one billion euros with 72 per cent of the benefits going to record labels.

- Read more at the Toronto Star

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