About twenty cultural organizations that are members of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, representing authors, artists, creators, professionals and cultural entrepreneurs in Canada and Quebec, are co-signatories of this open letter.
Canadians are increasingly consuming their music, videos, news and books through the Internet and on international streaming platforms. In less than a generation, these services have become essential. That’s not surprising. For about $10 a month, we get access to millions of songs. For an extra $10, we get hours of television or movie entertainment. It has never been easier to take your library with you to access an unlimited number of new titles.
Unlimited, instant and universal content, for which we pay very little. What’s the problem?
Well, digital has not only transformed the ways in which cultural content is accessed, it has also disrupted cultural economy without adapting the rules of the game.
In the music industry, according to figures from the Québec Association for the Recording, Concert and Video Industries, it is now necessary for an album to earn 30 million online streams to be profitable, compared to just 15,000 physical copies sold. A member of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), who received royalties in 2018 received on average only $54 from digital sources.
In the audiovisual sector, broadcasters are experiencing a decline in both audiences and advertising revenues. In 2013, total web advertising revenues exceeded television advertising revenues in Canada and the gap only increased in subsequent years.
Streaming or video platforms such as Netflix and Spotify, most of which are foreign, have no obligation to promote and finance Canadian cultural content, unlike local radio and television stations, retailers and cable operators. The same is true for Internet access and mobile telephone providers, which are experiencing revenue growth and profit margins exceeding 38%.
It’s time to act!
In the past, Canada successfully adopted policies to protect culture and foster the development of rich and diverse local cultural ecosystems. These policies are no longer appropriate in the current digital environment and are no longer sufficient to promote our culture or generate sufficient income for artists, authors, creators, producers, cultural professionals and entrepreneurs. While the government has launched several consultations and begun to review fundamental laws for the cultural sector, the next mandate must be one of action. To ensure this, we are launching a Canada-wide campaign today.
It is still possible to take action to save our culture. Let’s follow the example of the European Union, where many reforms have been adopted in recent years. They now allow States to protect copyright in the digital environment, collect royalties and set quotas for European and national content on platforms.
We want each of the federal parties’ candidates to be aware of the issues that have shaken the sector for several years and to commit to taking prompt action to ensure that our policies apply to the Web. Our culture must be adequately and equitably funded by all parties who benefit from it. Our companies must have the means to support quality production. Our artists and creators must be able to make a living from their art and work. Our culture must be visible online. We must maintain this ability to understand who we are through our culture and share it with others. Because it’s also our identity at stake.
Our culture is under a high-speed threat. Let’s act… faster! #SaveOurCulture
CDCE campaign website: www.saveourculture.ca
- Bill Skolnik, Cochair, Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and CEO & Executive Director, Directors Guild of Canada, Ontario division (DGC-Ontario)
- Solange Drouin, Cochair, Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
- Fortner Anderson, Member of National Council, League of Canadian Poets (LCP)
- Kate Edwards, Executive Director, Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP)
- Dave Forget, National Executive Director, Directors Guild of Canada (DGC)
- Marnie Gladwell, Executive Director, Saskatchewan Arts Alliance
- Greg Johnston, President, Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.)
- Stuart Johnston, President, Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA)
- Margaret McGuffin, Executive Director, Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA)
- Marc Ouellette, composer, Chair of the Board of directors, SOCAN
- Maureen Parker, Executive Director, Writers Guild of Canada (WGC)
- David Sparrow, National President, ACTRA
- Meg Symsyk, President, Music Managers Forum Canada (MMF)
- Alan Willaert, Vice-President from Canada, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada
- Martin Théberge, President, Fédération culturelle canadienne-française (FCCF)
- Philippe Archambault, President, Association québécoise de l’industrie du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ)
- Edgar Bori, President, Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ)
- Katherine Fafard, Executive Director, Association des libraires du Québec (ALQ)
- Hélène Messier, CEO & Executive Director, Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM)
- Jérôme Payette, Executive Director, Association des professionnels de l’édition musicale (APEM)
- Gabriel Pelletier, President, Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ)
- Mathieu Plante, President, Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (SARTEC)
- Sophie Prégent, President, Union des artistes (UDA)
- Richard Prieur, Executive Director, Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL)
- Élisabeth SCHLITTLER, General Delegate to Canada, Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD) et Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia (SCAM)
- Pascale St-Onge, President, Fédération nationale des communications – CSN (FNC)
- Roanie Levy, President & CEO, Access Copyright
Affichage: Publication|News Article
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