-- more on our support of www.savecanadianmusic.com

-- fading ways supports FACTOR, but let us not confuse the several issues at stake...

On March 31st 2005 Factor's contract with Canadian Heritage expires. If that contract is not renewed the future of FACTOR is uncertain, and labels such as Fading Ways will lose future support for things like this website & our international marketing trips to Popkomm. (As well as many other great programs that Fading Ways has yet to access). Given that FACTOR has helped us in the past, we have shown our support of the SAVE CANADIAN MUSIC site at www.savecanadianmusic.com. This was solicited by one of our friends at Factor. We believe FACTOR is a very worthwhile organization, that could become even better for Canadians.

The www.savecanadianmusic.com site has a forum that has come alive with dicussions about the music industry, P2P, and much more - revealing a lot of people's discontentment with the industry as it stands today. Reading the bulletin board, it was abudantly clear that not everyone visiting the site knew what the issues were...

It would be a shame to see the public rage against CRIA and its lawsuits spread to positive organizations like FACTOR.

While Fading Ways endorses the Save Canadian Music site with regards to saving Factor, it is also important to emphasize the need for Factor to back more grass-roots artists & labels. We see this as different than backing "Canadian" artists that already have funding from multi-national major labels - support should go to 100% Canadian talent, NOT to labels that are co-owned by major labels (ie. multi-national corporations) who, therefore:

a) already have a lot more funds than genuine Canadian indies; and

b) do not necessarily serve the interests of Canadian talent

The major labels in Canada function primarily as distributors for American product, and are not the main exporters of Canadian talent. Danko Jones is an example of this problem: successful internationally via overseas indies, all the while dropped by his "Canadian" major label, Universal.

In order to remain credible to Canadian artists and the vast majority of the public, FACTOR should adopt new provisions in the administration of its Funds. One way to achieve newfound strength in its stated convictions would be to announce a new provision that its Funds, originating from Canadian Heritage or elsewhere, will only be awarded or loaned out to 100% Canadian-owned companies and artists without direct major-label affiliation - similar to the OMDC's "Gold Label" program requirements. This sort of directive should also be helpful in assuring Factor that its contract will be renewed, as it provides Heritage Canada with the knowledge that the funds will definitely be spent on Canadian artists working with Canadian companies.

It would ensure that Canadian artists and the public at large could KNOW with certainty that FACTOR's "Canadian Music" mandate is being met.

Based on the visitor's posts on the Save Canadian Music forum it is clear that there are a lot of unhappy people that are critical of the industry and who are suspicious of Factor. Rather than dismiss these members of the public (and some artists) as being misinformed, it should be our duty to ensure that the taxpayers are comfortable with Factor's existence, and that explain to Canadians NOT in the industry what it is that Factor does and how it plans on improving on its (already great) programs.

Now, we realize that what we are proposing (that funds should be awarded and/or loaned only to 100% Canadian-owned companies, not multi-nationals) wil be dismissed by some industry folks as being too revolutionary for Factor, especially given its CIRPA beginnings and mainstream roots. To these people I would put forth the notion that with changing times comes the necessity for the changing of ideas and the rise of a new awareness - that the business models that helped the Canadian Industry grow throughout the 70s and 80s are no longer effective and that we need to enact change in deciding who, what, where and when we support.

SOCAN, the CMRRA, CIRPA, CRIA and 25 other lobbying groups have called for the ratification and enforcement of the WIPO treaty that would effectively allow for legislation outlawing file-sharing and downloading, severely limiting public access to creative works of all types; Fading Ways and its network of supporters (its entire artist roster, as well as Creative Commons, Flora.ca and several other record labels around the world, to name just a few people) feel that this madness must stop - it is misguided greed that will serve ONLY THE INTERESTS OF THE LARGEST IP COPYRIGHT HOLDERS, ie. the multi-national labels and publishers - NOT THE INTERESTS OF CANADIAN ARTISTS OR TRUE CANADIAN LABELS! Certainly NOT the interests of Canadian Culture or true Heritage.

We urge the public (and artists who care about life-long sustainable careers!) to stand up for what is right: lobby for a renewal of FACTOR's contract under fair distribution for genuine Canadian artistic and cultural interests. Lobby the government at all levels (House of Commons, Senate, Canadian Heritage and other legislators) for a BALANCED updating of the Copyright Act, that has served us fairly and well in the past history of our Country. Keep well in mind the importance of "fair use" and the dangers of undue copyright term extensions. And realize once and for all that the Private Copying Levy is a sham that steals from the people to feed only the already-rich. (Not to mention the other uses of CDRs, ie. data storage, and personal recordings, that are being even more unfairly taxed).

Having clarified our stance, we would also urge the Department of Canadian Heritage to renew Factor's contract and keep supporting Canadian talent at home and abroad.

To Heritage Minister Hélène Scherrer I respectively submit, in addition to ongoing Factor support, that downloading should remain legal, and I respectivelly second the opinion of Mr. Howard Knopf, an Ottawa lawyer who represents the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, when he says that the "minister's first job is to defend the interests of the public" and those of Canadian creators and musicians - not the international copyright interests of the multi-national labels who penned the WIPO treaties to protect their own commercial interests above all others.

Neil Leyton
Toronto, April 13th 2004

-- Additional links of interest:


Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic


Feisty Online News & Views from BC, with comments at bottom. Article by Jay Currie.


Thanks to Mary Dickie for the great conversation and excellent article!

Stay tooned for more...

This page is meant as a positive opening of dialogue about Factor, downloading, and anything else to do with music. I'd love to hear from you either directly or via the Fading Ways forum, where you can post your opinions. The SAVE CANADIAN MUSIC forum, as I mentioned above, is another great place for discussion. Visit www.savecanadianmusic.com and check it out!



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