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.
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
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,
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
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.
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
and check it out!