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Canadian Music Publisher, Songwriter & Screen Composer Orgs Urge New Parliament to Quickly Ratify USMCA Trade Agreement

Six organizations representing Canadian music publishers, songwriters, and screen composers have released an open letter addressed to the new federal parliament urging that it quickly ratify the Canada-U.S.-Mexico (CUSMA) trade agreement (usually referred to as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA).

In the letter, the organizations main reason for want CUSMA’s ratification is because they favour the copyright reform contained within the agreement that would see Canada extend the term of copyright protection from the current term of the life of the creator plus 50 years to the life of the creator plus 70 years.

The letter reads:

Canadian songs and scores are heard daily on the radio, on streaming services, in video games, and in film, television and other screen-based productions around the world.
Modernizing the Copyright Act to ensure Canadian rights holders have the same protections as their international competitors is a much-needed move to help Canadian creators, and the companies that invest in them, to continue exporting their creations around the world. A forward-looking, digitally attuned copyright regime will foster Canadian innovation, investment, and growth in a key economic sector for our great country.

It is imperative that CUSMA be ratified quickly to ensure that Canadian songwriters, composers and the small and large businesses that invest in music publishing are properly compensated for their work. The term extension provisions in CUSMA should be enacted immediately, without unnecessary delay and with no conditions.

Adding another 20 years to the life of a copyright means a robust creative sector, more Canadian cultural exports, and the growth of many innovative businesses that have embraced the digital market. It is long past time for Canada to catch up to its international trading partners in this respect.

CUSMA presents an amazing, tangible opportunity to expand Canada’s music publishing industry, invest more in emerging songwriters and composers and make our Canadian companies even more competitive globally. We urge all Parliamentarians to make the early ratification of CUSMA their top legislative priority.

It was signed by SOCAN, the CMRRA, Music Publishers Canada, the Songwriters Association of Canada, APEM (representing French Canada music pubishers), the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, and SPACQ (representing French Canadian screen composers).

The new trade deal that will replace NAFTA is expected to be ratified by Canada and Mexico in the coming weeks with little issue. In the United States, where there was more uncertainty about the deal's future, recent news reports indicate that the U.S. congress is expected to soon announce an agreement that will push the deal towards ratification.

For the full letter and more information, go to www.musicpublisher.ca.

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Michael Raine is the Senior Editor at Canadian Musician. He is also a co-host of the popular Canadian Musician Radio weekly podcast.