August 17, 2014

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Music File Sharing: A New Vision for Creators and Consumers

As music creators we have waited for almost 10 years for a solution to the quandary of how to address unauthorized music file sharing on peer-to-peer, wired and wireless networks.
We have followed the ever more futile and heavy-handed attempts to stamp this activity out. The lawsuits, fines and penalties levied on companies and individuals in an effort to defeat music file sharing have generated no income for creators or rights holders, and have spawned only contempt and alienation in the hearts of consumers. Today, music file sharing continues to grow exponentially on an annual basis, and dwarfs all legal digital methods of music distribution, including Apple’s iTunes.

We strongly believe there is a simple, common sense solution that is good for creators, rights holders and consumers, that will allow us to convert this significant activity into a new royalty stream in a landscape of dwindling revenues: monetize and authorize the sharing of music files.

A small licensing fee would be included in broadband Internet bills. This revenue would go into a pool of money administrated by a collective, and then distributed in a pro rata way based on accurate tracking of which songs are being file shared and in what number. Technologies to determine, in a non-intrusive way, which songs are being file shared and how often, are in place. Precedents on how the money could be split between artists, songwriters, labels and publishers exist, as do collectives capable of administering this revenue.

The future is not about an adversarial relationship with our consumers; rather it is about fairly monetizing new uses of music. The Songwriters Association of Canada’s equitable proposition will provide a foundation of financial and legal certainty that will allow music fans to access the content they want, when they want it, while allowing those of us who create music to continue to get paid for the use of our work.

We have been getting an overwhelming number of comments and questions regarding the proposal and we appreciate receiving your feedback and support. A page has been set-up to present the most frequently asked questions. To read some of them, please click here. If your question does not appear, please send your question or comment to: advocacy @ songwriters . ca (Remove spaces in email address before sending)

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