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PERFORMERS PUSH FOR BALANCED COPYRIGHT LAWS: Government Public Consultations End Sunday; Bill Expected this Fall

September 11, 2009 — Toronto – ACTRA is advocating for balanced made-in-Canada copyright laws in its comprehensive submission to the federal government’s public consultations on copyright.

“Canada needs fair copyright laws that ensure a balance between the interests of Canadian consumers and the rights of Canadian creators,” said Ferne Downey, ACTRA’s National President.

Over the summer, ACTRA participated in the federal government’s nation-wide consultations to solicit Canadians’ opinions on the important issue of copyright reform. The federal government is expected to introduce a new copyright bill during the upcoming fall legislative session.

“Given that Canada’s copyright laws are older than Napster, we hope the government will act quickly to update Canada’s copyright laws to support Canadian culture in the digital economy. It’s time Canada stepped up to be a leader not a laggard in protecting the rights of Canadian artists and performers,” said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA’s National Executive Director.

Currently, audio-performers have next to no protection under Canada’s copyright laws. ACTRA’s priorities for reform include implementing the WIPO Treaties by providing performers a full range of economic and moral rights in sound recordings and expanding those same rights to audio-visual performers. ACTRA is also calling for the private copying regime to be updated and expanded to balance the rights of consumers and creators.

“As performers, we want Canadians to be able to enjoy our work where and where they want. But to maintain the balance, copyright laws must build on existing royalty systems so that income flows to artists regardless of how digital media develop. Private copying and collective licensing gives Canadians the freedom to watch digital content on their iPods or laptops while ensuring artists are compensated for their work,” said 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.

For more information:
Carol Taverner, Public Relations Officer
(416) 644-1519, , cell: (416) 768-3336

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