Performers and musicians cheer vote on private copying

Toronto – AFM Canada, the Canadian representatives of the American Federation of Musicians, and ACTRA are cheering Parliament’s approval of a motion calling for the extension of the private copying levy to digital music recorders.  Conservatives stood alone in refusing to support artists as Liberal, Bloc and NDP MPs united behind Bloc MP Carole Lavallée’s motion.

“While we’re thrilled that MPs stood up for artists, it’s extremely disappointing to see that our government – and particularly our Minister of Heritage – did not,” said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA’s National Executive Director.

Lavallée’s motion and a private members’ bill from NDP MP’s Charlie Angus’ private members’ bill have brought the issue of private copying into the spotlight.

“We hope that this debate in Ottawa will help Canadians understand the levy and see what’s at stake,” said Ferne Downey, ACTRA National President. "Contrary to Conservative rhetoric, the levy is not a tax. It is an important source of income for thousands of musicians most of whom are struggling to make ends meet so they can keep creating the music Canadians love.”

The private copying levy has put over $180 million in the pockets of over 97,000 composers, musicians and other rights holders. But with very few people still using audio cassettes and blank CDs, the money flowing to artists from the levy is heading for extinction. Without this important change to the private copying levy, many recording artists will not be able to continue their careers.

“The bottom line is that expanding the private copying levy brings much-needed balance to our outdated copyright laws. Canadians will be able to enjoy music when and how they please and artists will get paid for their work,” said Bill Skolnik, the AFM Vice President from Canada.

“This is great boost for musicians as we head to the Junos in St. John’s this weekend to celebrate the vast amount of Canadian talent and creativity,” added Downey.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.

AFM Canada is a complementary yet independent office of the American Federation of Musicians, United States and Canada and is uniquely positioned to address Canadian issues for its Canadian membership.  It is the leading professional organization of its kind available to Canadian musicians and represents over 17,000 professional musicians in Canada.

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For more information: Carol Taverner, Public Relations Officer, 416-644-1519, ctaverner@actra.ca, cell: 416-768-3336