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Un rapport publié la semaine dernière dans le Toronto Star par le professeur Michael Geist de l' Université d'Ottawa au Canada affirme qu'une affaire de droit d'auteur selon la loi du recours collectif de 1992 pourrait voir les acteurs principaux de l'industrie musicale nationale pénalisés jusqu'à six milliards de dollars canadiens.
L'affaire est mené par la famille et héritiers du défunt musicien de jazz Chet Baker; qui poursuivent une action en justice contre les quatre plus grandes sociétés du pays, ainsi que leurs maisons mères. La plainte a été initialement déposée en août 2008, mais a été amendée et rééditée le 6 octobre, deux mois plus tard. A ce moment le l'Agence canadienne des droits de reproduction musicale (Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA)) et la Société pour les droits des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs (Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SODRAC)) était également citées parmi les défendants.
Pour les éditeurs, artistes et titulaires de droitsModifier
En janvier 2009, SODRAC et CMRRA ont changé de camp, en se joignant avec Baker et al. Contre Sony BMG Music, EMI Music Canada, Universal Music Canada et Warner Music Canada. David A. Basskin, Président Directeur-général de CMRRA, qui a une formation juridique, a indiqué dans une déclaration sous serment que, depuis vingt ans son organisation a tenté à plusieurs reprises de réduire ce qui est connu sous le nom de « Pending List » (la liste d’attente), une liste d’œuvres incorrectement autorisés à la reproduction, une liste de violations du droit de l’auteur aux yeux de l’équipe juridique de Baker
Le principe théorique de la liste et de permettre la mise à disposition commerciale en attendant que les droits et partage des montants dus sont en cours de résolution. Baskin se plaint qu’il est « economically infeasible to implement the systems that would be needed to resolve the issues internally". And, "[...] for their part, the record labels have generally been unwilling to take the steps that, in the view of CMRRA, would help to resolve the problem."
La plainte Baker exige que les quatre enterprises majeures nomées financent et se soumettent à un audit independant de leurs finances, “y copris le contenu des ‘Pending Lists’. En plus d’une estimation des benefices réalisées par les sociétés pour “failure or refusal to compensate the class members for their musical works", des exigences supplémentaires concernent soit des dédommagements et bénéfices selon la loi applicable à un recours collectif, soit des dédommagements statutaires pour des infractions de la loi du Droit de l’auteur. Modèle:QuoteRight L’estimation de six milliards de dollars du Professeur Geist's six billion dollar se base sur cela ainsi que l’affirmation que les listes d’attente contiennent plus de 300,000 infractions. Les dédommagements minimum par infraction sont de 500 CA$. Le chiffre maximum est de 20 000 CA$.
- ==== CMRRA ====
La déclaration écrite sous sermont de Basskin de la part de CMRRA rentre dans le détail de l’histoire qui procède la situation actuelle et l’action en justice de recours collectif ; a previous compulsory license scheme, with poor recordkeeping requirements, and which, had a decline in real terms to one of the lowest fees in the world, was eventually abolished and the mechanical license system introduced. The CMRRA went on to become a significant representative of music publishers and copyright holders, and the pending list an instrument to deal with situations where mechanical rights were as-yet not completely negotiated. Basskin's affidavit claiming the list grew and circumstances worsened as time progressed.
The Mechanical Licensing Agreement (MLA) between the "majors'" industry body, an attached exhibit to the affidavit, is set to expire December 31, 2012; this is between CMRRA and the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). With the original MLA expiring at end September 1990, CMRRA negotiated more detailed terms and a "code of conduct". Subsequent agreements were drawn up in 1998, 2004, 2006, and 2008.
Basskin asserts that the named record company defendants are the "major" labels in Canada and states they "are also responsible for creating, maintaining and administering the so-called "Pending Lists" that are the subject of the current litigation"; that, specific to publishing, divisions of the four represent the "'major' music publishers active in Canada". Yet the number of music publishers they represent has decreased over time due to consolidation and defection from the CRIA.
Geist summarizes the record company strategy as "exploit now, pay later if at all". This despite the CMRRA and SODRAC being required to give lists of all collections they represented to record labels, and for record labels to supply copies of material being released to permit assessment of content that either group may represent interested parties for. Where actual Mechanical License Agreements are in place, Basskin implies their terms are particularly broad and preclude any party exercising their legal right to decline to license.
Specific to the current Mechanical Licensing Agreement (MLA) between the CMRRA and the CRIA; a "label is required to provide an updated cumulative Pending List to CMRRA with each quarterly payment of royalties under the MLA." The CMRRA is required to review the list and collect where appropriate royalties and interest due. Basskin describes his first encounter with pending lists, having never heard of them before 1989 thus: Modèle:Q
Alain Lauzon, General Manager of Canada's Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SODRAC) submitted his followup affidavit January 28, 2009 to be attached to the case and identify the society as a plaintiff. As such, he up-front states, "I have knowledge of the matters set out herein." Lauzon, a qualified Chartered Accountant with an IT specialisation, joined SODRAC in 2002 with "over 20 years of business experience." He is responsible for "negotiation and administration of industry-wide agreements for the licensing of music reproduction and distribution"; licensing of radio and online music services use is within his remit.
Lauzon makes it clear that Baker's estate, other rightsholders enjoined to the case, SODRAC, and CMRRA, have reached an agreed settlement; they wish to move forward with a class proceeding against the four main members of the CRIA. He requests that the court recognise this in relation to the initially accepted case from August 2008. Modèle:QuoteLeft The preamble of the affidavit continues to express strong agreement with that of David Basskin from CMRRA. Lauzon concurs regarding growing use of "pending lists" and that "[...] record labels have generally been unwilling to take the steps that would help to resolve the Pending List problem."
With his background as an authority, Lauzon states with confidence that SODRAC represents "approximately 10 to 15% of all musical works that are reproduced on sound recordings sold in Canada." For Quebec the figure is more than 50%.
Lauzon agrees that the four named record company defendants are the "major" labels in Canada, and that smaller independent labels will usually work with them or an independent distribution company; and Basskin's statement that "[t]he responsibility to obtain mechanical licenses for recordings manufactured and/or released in Canada falls with the Canadian labels by law, by industry custom, and by contractual agreement."
The industry's side: lobbyists?Modifier
Wikinews attempted to contact people at the four named defendant CRIA-member record labels. The recipient of an email that Wikinews sent to Warner Brothers Canada forwarded our initial correspondence to Hogarth PR; the other three majors failed to respond in a timely fashion. Don Hogarth responded to Wikinewsie Brian McNeil, and, without addressing any of the submitted questions, recommended a blog entry by Barry Sookman as, what he claimed is, a more accurate representation of the facts of the case. Modèle:Q Sookman is a lobbyist at the Canadian Parliament who works in the employ of the the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). Hogarth gave no indication or disclosure of this; his direction to the blog is to a posting with numerous factual inaccuracies, misdirecting statements, or possibly even lies; if not lies, Sookman is undoubtedly not careful or "very qualified" in the way he speaks on the issue.
Sookman's blog post opens with a blast at Professor Geist: "his attacks use exaggeration, misleading information and half truths to achieve his obvious ends". Sookman attempts to dismiss any newsworthiness in Geist's article; Modèle:Q Modèle:HYS question left As the extracted [see right] stamp, date, and signature, shows, the court accepted amendments to the case and its submission, as Professor Geist asserts, on October 6. The previously mentioned submissions by the heads of CMRRA and SODRAC were indeed actions within the past year; that of SODRAC's Alain Louzon being January 28 this year.
Sookman continues his attack on Professor Geist, omitting that the reverse appears the case; analysis of his blog's sitemap reveals he wrote a 44-page attack on Professor Geist in February 2008, accusing him of manipulating the media and using influence on Facebook to oppose copyright reform favourable to the CRIA. In the more current post he states: Modèle:Q This characterisation of the pending list only matches court records in that it "has been around for decades". CMRRA's Basskin, a lawyer and industry insider, goes into great detail on the major labels resisting twenty years of collective societies fighting, and failing, to negotiate a situation where the labels take adequate measures to mechanically license works and pay due fees, royalties, and accrued interest.
Comparison of increasing pending list value quarter on quarterModifier
What Sookman clearly overlooks is that, without factoring in any interest amounts, the dollar value of the pending list is increasing, as shown with the following two tables for mid-2008.
As is clear, there is an increase of C$1,101,987.83 in a three-month period. Should this rate of increase in the value of the pending list continue and Sony's unvalued pending list be factored in, the CRIA's four major labels will have an outstanding debt of at least C$73 million by end-2012 when the association's Mechanical Licensing Agreement runs out.