Excerpted from a recent speech by Graham Henderson, president of the Canadian Recording Industry Association.
In Canada, for every legal song or video file downloaded and paid for, 14 files are swapped without compensation of any kind. Outsiders perceive Canada as a backward nation that doesn't respect or protect one of its most precious resources - intellectual property.
Over the past six years, Canada's music industry has lost $586 million at retail and been forced to cut 20 per cent of its workforce. The well-known example of Jully Black speaks volumes. Coincident with the release of her debut album, fans swapped her tracks at a ferocious rate - 2.8 million requests within a period of two weeks. Her CD struggled to achieve sales of 15,000 units. And she isn't alone.
The laxness of our environment is gaining worldwide attention. Increasingly, nations are moving to strengthen the rules that protect their intellectual property. The U.S. has introduced legislation that would mandate digital rights management systems for satellite and digital audio broadcast signals. This was hailed by tens of thousands of American recording artists. Businesses must develop technological solutions to make it increasingly difficult for people to take other people's property.
It is important for government to set the tone about what constitutes acceptable behaviour in a civil digital society. If, after a time, we find that there are intransigent individuals who simply will not respect an artist's decision to require payment, then lawsuits may be necessary.
Now, will this work? Let's look at the experience outside of Canada. Legal buying is more popular than P2P in Europe's two major digital markets, Germany and the UK. In other words, people pay attention to the rules.