June 12, 2008 13:45 ET

ACTRA: Copyright Reform A Good First Step

'Balance' must include artists

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 12, 2008) - The government's introduction of the long-overdue Bill to reform Canada's copyright law is a good first step for artists and Canada's international reputation.

"It's been more than a decade since Canada signed on to the WIPO copyright treaties. Implementing these treaties as this Bill does, will bring our laws into the 21st Century," said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA's National Executive Director.

"This is only a first step - because film and television performers need a full set of rights under copyright law, the same as every other artist. Passing this Bill allows us to move on to discussions about an international audiovisual performances treaty," said Richard Hardacre, ACTRA National President.

"What we need is a made-in-Canada solution. Vocal opponents of this Bill will characterize it as mimicking what's already been done in the U.S., but that's oversimplifying things. Around the world, 64 countries have already implemented the WIPO copyright treaties. Canada is at least going in the direction of finally catching up," added Waddell.

"The Bill not only introduces the new concept of format shifting, it is also revising existing rules on time-shifting. ACTRA believes that consumers should have flexibility, however, artists must be compensated for uses of their work and we don't see this part of the equation in the government releases. We would be deeply concerned if the Bill allows people to copy artists' work onto media devices like iPODS without compensation for creators; and, also if existing levies and royalties are affected by this Bill," said Brad Keenan, Director, ACTRA Performers' Rights Society and Sound Recording Division.

ACTRA is a member of the Creators Copyright Coalition that advocates for strong copyright legislation and ensures artists and their works are protected while fairly addressing the concerns of both consumers and corporations.

"We'll be looking at the Bill in detail. We plan to be very vocal about any changes or improvements ACTRA needs to see in order to back this Bill. We look forward to engaging in the committee process and ensuring artists' voices are heard," said Waddell. "Given rampant speculation the Bill will die on the Order Paper, we expect the government to formally commit to re-introducing the Bill as soon as Parliament is re-convened."

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.

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