Our Advocacy Work

Over the past 40 years, the Songwriters Association of Canada has grown substantially to over 1,500 members. With this expansion in membership, our ability to encourage fair legislation has also increased. Advocating on behalf of music creators has become a central part of our mission.

This has become especially important in recent years as new ways to access and share music have developed. As this technology changes, it is essential that regulatory frameworks also adapt to continue protecting the rights of music creators.

The S.A.C. represents the voice of creators in these discussions. By sharing the perspective of our members, we hope to ensure that creators are not left behind as policy is developed and implemented. Examples of this work include support for the Fair Trade Music movement, the 2014 fair digital compensation study and the monetizing B2B music file sharing report.

Submission in response to: Consultation on Canadian Guardrails for Generative AI – Code of Practice

September 2023: The S.A.C., SCGC and SPACQ filed a joint submission in response to the ‘Consultation on Canadian Guardails for Generative AI – Code of Practice’. The submission states that a Code of Practice should ensure that Canadian music creators’ rights are protected when exploited by AI programmers. Specifically, the code should provide assurances that consent will be obtained from, and credit and compensation will be given to, music creators when their works are being used. Read the full submission in English here, and in French here.

December 15 2023: The S.A.C. and fellow MCNA member organization The Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC) submitted joint comments in response to the Canadian Government Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)’s consultation, ‘Copyright in the age of Generative Artificial Intelligence’.

Further, the S.A.C. was a signatory of the December 14th, 2023 Generative Artificial Intelligence principles document and open letter, submitted to the departments of Canadian Heritage and ISED, which urges the Canadian government to adopt principles that respect music creators when regulating Generative AI.

Public Hearing on Developing a Framework to Support Canadian and Indigenous Content

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) held a public hearing in Gatineau, Quebec on November 23rd, on the development of a regulatory framework regarding contributions to support Canadian and Indigenous content.

S.A.C. Past President and Director Greg Johnston testified regarding the Policy Direction for the Online Streaming Act. SOCAN’s legal counsel Fraser Turnbull, SPACQ’s Executive Director Ariane Charbonneau, and APEM’s General Manager Jerome Payette also testified alongside Greg.

Supporting The Fair Trade Music Movement

Fair Trade Music stands for a fair, transparent and ethical value chain for songwriters, composers, artists and all music rights holders and stakeholders. Those of us who support Fair Trade Music (FTM) believe all who inhabit the music landscape – from creators to consumers, and all those in between – must adopt simple, ethical practices that ensure all parties in the music value chain, including songwriters, composers and artists are fairly compensated for the use of their work.

Given the inability of copyright legislation and regulation to keep up with rapid change in the digital era, music creators must also adopt non-governmental approaches in pursuit of a sustainable environment and fair remuneration for the use of their work. Currently, over 25,000 music creators from Europe, Africa, Latin, and South America, and North America have endorsed the Fair Trade Music initiative that is inspired by the Fair Trade Coffee movement.

The success of the “Fair Trade Coffee” movement has demonstrated consumers’ willingness to make ethical choices when given a simple, understandable option to do so. In the case of coffee, this choice takes place at the point of purchase. Each consumer can choose to be the last link in a “virtuous” value chain by picking a coffee clearly marked “Fair Trade”, or choose a similar product that is not certified “Fair Trade”, and thereby become the final link in an exploitive value chain that largely excludes farmers in favour of distributors.

Fair Trade Music would give consumers the clear choice to be the last link in a “virtuous” music value chain by clearly indicating which digital streaming and other music services operate in a fair, transparent and ethical way. Fair Trade Music certification body is envisioned that would determine who qualifies as FTM compliant. Visit the Fair Trade Music international website to learn more on this movement.

Study of Fair Compensation for Music Creators

In October 2014, organizations representing thousands of songwriters and composers from around the world met in Nashville at the annual CIAM Congress and endorsed the Study Concerning Fair Compensation for Music Creators in the Digital Age.  The study was written by Pierre Lalonde, an economist with extensive experience in cultural and copyright issues. Lalonde used financial and economic data to explore the current structure of the digital streaming market for music and compared it to other sectors that distribute creative content in order to come up with appropriate valuation of musical works and the equitable split of revenues.

Please contact us if you have any questions on the attachments below.

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Monetizing Music File Sharing – A New B2B Model

This B2B model to monetize music file-sharing activities will give consumers access to the world’s entire catalogue of recorded music, while fairly remunerating creators and copyright-holders. In order to understand Canadians’ behaviours, attitudes and opinions in terms of music consumption, a recent survey of Canadians aged 15 years and over was conducted by the Montreal company CROP. The results will be made available soon.

For information on the S.A.C. recent business to business model to monetize music file sharing, click on the left tabs for a “summary” or “detailed” version of the proposal.