What did Canada do? They were first-class hosts to Olympians and tourists from all over the world, they have delightful accents whether they’re from Quebec or Nova Scotia, and they make some good maple syrup. So why are they referred to as the “Bad Boy” of the world by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)? As you might guess, it is because of rampant music piracy. But what sets Canada apart from the rest of the world, where music piracy also runs rampant?
Canada isn’t alone; Spain was also singled out as being particularly bad boy-ish in regards to piracy. The yearly Recording Industry in Numbers reveal that global music revenue decreased by seven percent, but in many markets, notably the United Kingdom, they actually saw modest increases. According to the IFPI, “no fewer than 13 countries saw music sales growth.” Canada, however, saw a 7.4 percent decrease, while Spain’s revenue dropped by 14.3 percent. The IFPI says that these two countries have the “world’s weakest legal defenses against piracy.” The IFPI further blames Canada, saying, “Canada, practically the only government of a developed country not to have implemented international copyright treaties agreed over a decade ago, is a major source of the world’s piracy problem. A disproportionate number of illegal sites are hosted on Canadian soil.”
The IFPI credits strong legal measures, such as Britain’s Digital Economy Bill, as the reason why music revenue has grown in certain countries while it has fallen so dramatically in others. But not everyone agrees with the IFPI’s reading of the numbers. According to TechDirt:
Of course, what the IFPI totally ignores (not surprisingly, since they only represent record labels) is that while the sales of music directly may have declined in some markets, the overall market for music grew tremendously. In other words, the decline in sales of recorded music has not done harm to the music industry, but just to a few record labels. This new report is really just an attempt to pretend (yet again) that the “music industry” is really “the recording industry.” And, of course, what this report doesn’t come close to acknowledging, is that in putting in place these “legal environments” in places like Sweden and South Korea, it has cut off many more efficient and effective ways for musicians to create, promote and distribute their works.
That’s what this report really shows. It shows that the IFPI wants to be the gatekeeper to make sure that more of the money going through the music ecosystem goes to its labels, rather than to others. It doesn’t care if the overall market for music is smaller, just as long as more of the money goes to its members.
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