Posted simply because there seems to be some confusion about how all of this pertains to Canada.The music industry's virulent sue 'em all subpoena campaign is taking on interesting new dimensions.
The RIAA has the US sewn up tight, its Dutch look-alike, BREIN, has announced plans to sue independent file sharers in The Netherlands, and now the CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association) has jumped on the American bandwagon.
Sadly, however, it isn't able to sue anyone, or swamp the country with subpoenas, unlike its counterpart across the border.
Instead, it's going to 'send warnings' to people engaged in p2p activities.
The CRIA (which no one in Canada has ever heard of) maintains a full time anti-piracy unit which among other things, monitors the Net. "This is a very active section that is currently addressing the challenges of escalating internet piracy," says CRIA president Brian Robertson.
Precisely what its warnings will achieve is anyone's guess. That's because, contrary to RIAA belief, Canada isn't part of America and the DMCA doesn't apply here, a situation the CRIA and its industry supporters in Canada are trying desperately to remedy. Until they do, however, things couldn't be clearer: Canadians can safely copy music, as long as it's for personal use and not for redistribution.
BUT ... the CRIA's outburst gives the appearance that it's in the game and looks good on paper - or, rather, in a paper.
Globe & Mail reporter Jack Kapika states in Can it happen here?:
"[...] in Canada, the [music] industry is collecting a levy on recordable CDs. (It now wants to extend this to MP3 players, flash memory and blank DVDs. Ordinary PC hard drives could be next on their list, but the industry fears wrath of the giant computer hardware industry, and has held back on demanding a levy on hard drives).
"All Canadian file-sharers in fact all those who buy recordable CDs, even if not for recording music have for several years paid for the privilege of downloading songs via peer-to-peer programs.
"The Canadian Copyright Copying Collective, which pushed for and administers the levy, has already hauled in close to $80-million over the past several years for losses supposedly due to sharing music files.
"So the industry is already being compensated, and it would be very difficult, under current legislation, to persuade a court to salve the wounds of the record companies and their related organizations by suing individuals for even more money. The levy was the result of an industry demand, and if the industry feels it is still not being properly compensated, then it must address itself to the Copyright Board, which sets the rates, and not file-sharing individuals. (The CPCC has been trying to get the Copyright Board to raise the rates dramatically. A decision is due soon.)"
I'm Canadian and I live on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, just up the road from Seattle.
A while back I did a story for a local paper and in it said, "Downloading music (and playing online) is what 57% of our children like best," states Canada's Media Awareness Network in 'Young Canadians in a Wired World: The Students' View 2001,' a nationwide survey of internet use among Canadian youth.
But, "only 6 per cent of parents are aware that their kids download".
And, "around four percent of users on file sharing networks are Canadian, meaning roughly 200,000 Canadians are typically logged on to a p2p service at any given time," Redshift Research's Matt Bailey told me for the same story.
The owner of a computer service near where I live sees at least 30 computers every month and, "85% have p2p software," he told me. "It's automatic. If there's a teenager in the house, Kazaa is on the machine."
In another G&M story here, Jack Kapika says the Canadian instant-message program is, "designed to inform Canadian users of file-sharing systems of the damage they are inflicting upon the thousands of people involved in the creation of music, as well as to warn them of the legal implications they might face," according to a statement from Robertson a statement.
In the meanwhile, the CRIA message reads: "Warning - It appears that you are offering copyrighted music to others from your computer. While we appreciate your love of music, please be aware that sharing copyrighted music on the Internet without permission from the copyright owner is illegal. When you do so, you hurt the artists, songwriters and musicians who create the music and the other talented individuals who are involved in bringing you the music.
"More than 40,000 Canadians work hard producing and supporting the music you appear to enjoy, including producers, engineers, retailers, music publishers, distributors, manufacturers, record companies, concert promoters and broadcasters.
"When you break the law, you risk legal penalties. There is a simple way to avoid that risk: DonΉt distribute music to others on a file-sharing system like this. For further information, please go to www.cria.ca.
"Remember that you need music and music needs you."
That should do it, eh?