Corner Brook -
It may be great for the film and video gaming industries, and for some political careers, but Rex Goudie says new federal copyright legislation introduced this week will do little for the rights of musicians like himself.
A wide-ranging bill introduced Wednesday would allow companies to seek damages between $100 and $5,000 from people who break "digital locks" on legally obtained video games, films and music in order to copy the material to other media.
Goudie, the Burlington native who shot to fame via Canadian Idol, is currently working on his latest album, "A Hundred Pages Later," due out in the fall.
He doesn't think the legislation will do much to protect his work from piracy.
A measure which does work for musicians, Goudie told The Western Star Thursday, is a levy which was introduced on blank media - like CDs, cassette tapes and mini discs - about a decade ago.
Since that time, however, devices like MP3 players and iPods have taken over the market, but the levy does not yet extend to those media yet.
Goudie has been working with the Canadian Private Copying Collective for the past two years, trying to have the levy extended to the latest media available to music lovers who want their favourite artists' work for cheap.
"How many people still burn music onto blank CDs these days?" asked Goudie.
"This bill is not overly consumer-friendly and not overly musician-friendly for that matter, but it is very corporate friendly. What they've done is great for film, for the sake of copying a film, and for the gaming industry, which is probably why they announced it at the (video game producer) EA Sports facility in Montreal.
"But it's not helping musicians whatsoever."
Because it is still just a bill, Goudie and the Canadian Private Copying Collective will be mounting a lobbying effort for amendments to extend the levy to the latest digital media.
The levy they are proposing could range anywhere from $2 to $25, depending on the device and its memory capacity.
He said government has called the levy a tax, but Goudie said surveys have shown around 71 per cent of people would support a levy if it meant keeping Canadian music alive and well.
He said the levy in place has generated something to the tune of $31 million that has been distributed to some 97,000 artists who own copyrighted material.
"That helps pay the rent when you don't have any shows or anything else going on," said Goudie. "It helps fund your next record.
"For government to say the artist now has the right to put a lock on their media and then go after the people who break the locks ... who wants to sue their fans?
That would be just bad publicity for the artists and it makes our laws more like the American copyright laws.
"We'll keep fighting to change it."