Canadian, Global Voices Weigh In On NAFTA, Copyright Act Review

As the federal government undergoes trade negotiations, and as Parliament begins to embark on a statutory Copyright Act review, helping Canadian businesses succeed in the international market should be top of mind, panelists said at an event hosted by the Pearson Centre today.

Coco Carmona, International Confederation of Music Publishers (Brussels/Spain); Erich Carey, National Music Publishers Association (United States); Margaret McGuffin, Canadian Music Publishers Association; and Don Stephenson, former Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade Policy and Negotiations, discussed how Canada can compete in the global market, the role of copyright in the digital era, and how small music publishing companies can contribute to Canada's trade agenda.

"Trade and export are paramount to the music publishing industry," CMPA executive director Margaret McGuffin said during the event. "In order to remain competitive globally, we need a wide-ranging review of the Copyright Act so that Canadians can be in line with our international counterparts."

Currently, Canadian creators hold the copyright for the life of the author plus 50 years. In more than 60 international jurisdictions, including Europe, the U.S. and Australia, the term is life plus 70 years. Erich Carey spoke about the need for Canada's copyright legislation to be harmonized with the international community.

Carmona said that the "value gap" between rights holders and consumers needs to be addressed not only in Canada but worldwide, given new technologies that allow for more consumption of music in unconventional ways. Stephenson noted that Canada's challenge is to create a stable balance between the rights of creators and those of the end users, something the federal government has struggled with for years, including in trade negotiations.

"As thought leaders in the public policy space we felt this was an important discussion to have at this time, especially as technology is challenging the notion of copyright and as we enter a new era of trade with CETA and NAFTA negotiations," said Andrew Cardozo, Pearson Centre president. "We had a very pointed discussion about the important issues facing the federal government, with some strong ideas about how we need to move going forward."

A full report on the trade and copyright agenda with recommendations from the discussion will be made available. An archived video of the event can be found on the Pearson Centre's Facebook page.

About the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy
The Pearson Centre is a progressive think tank formed in 2013 that suggests government reform in the areas of business, innovation and centrist and modern public policy that combines economic success with social responsibility.

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