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CMPA 2019: Crusading For Songwriters and Music Publishers

Editor's note: This is the second of several editorial perspectives mapping out the goals and aspirations of Canada's key associations.

CMPA 2019: Crusading For Songwriters and Music Publishers

By Margaret McGuffin

Editor's note: This is the second of several editorial perspectives mapping out the goals and aspirations of Canada's key associations.


A modern copyright regime will maximize the creation and discovery of new Canadian songs for years to come. The Canadian Music Publishers Association welcomes the trade agreement reached late last year between the governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico (USMCA) and congratulates all three governments involved in the  on the decision to extend the term of copyright in works to the life of the author plus 70 years, consistent with international standards.

Canada’s current term, life plus 50 years, limits the revenue available to music publishers and other domestic rightsholders to finance the discovery and development of Canadian talent. 

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One or two songs in a catalogue can make a huge difference to the viability of a music publisher and the Canadian songwriters they can invest in. Day to day, these songs may not generate much money, however, holding on to this copyright over an extra 20 years allows music publishers to invest more in emerging songwriters and build their business to compete globally better.

The Canadian Music Publishers Association is actively participating in the current review of the Copyright Act and will continue to do so in 2019.  Changes to the Copyright Act to ensure Canadian works are competitive internationally and reform of the Copyright Board are the keys to success for a robust, successful music publishing industry and the Canadian economy. It is essential that the government act to allow our sector to remain globally competitive.  The value gap must be addressed and exceptions in the Act must be removed. 

The current Act has contributed to a situation where large-scale, profit-driven organizations have been able to derive significant additional value from the creations of rightsholders without transferring additional value to the creators of the work and the companies that invest in them.   Additionally, we ask the Government to amend the Act to make the private copying regime technologically neutral to cover audio recording devices such as digital sound recorders, tablets and smartphones. 

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Happy New Year.

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