James Mackey

The information on this Web page has been provided by external sources. The Government of Canada is not responsible for the accuracy, reliability or currency of the information supplied by external sources. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information. Content provided by external sources is not subject to official languages and privacy requirements.

From: James Mackey
Sent: March 2, 2021 2:38 PM
To: copyrightconsultation / consultationdroitdauteur (PCH)
Subject: Copyright Extension

To whom it may concern,

I'm a recent graduate and musician from Ottawa, and I am interested in the decisions being made surrounding the extension of Canada's copyright term. In short, I emphatically condemn the proposed extension. I would like the copyright term to either stay where it is, or to see the minimum change required to meet our treaty obligations.

I and my peers are entering one of the most productive periods of our lives, and drawing upon past works is integral to the artistic process. In the next year alone my cohort would be deprived of the works of Igor Stravinsky, Louis Armstrong and John Morrison to remake, redo, and remix. We consider this a great betrayal of the promises made to us in more formative years.

In addition, I do not feel any artist deserves so much time after their deaths to enjoy exclusive rights to their work. Each artist stands on the shoulders of those who came before, and every creator has been influenced by works now in the public domain. They have been given great gifts which they must return and pass on. In any case, most works are commercially irrelevant by 70 years after the deaths of their authors. Those that are relevant seldom generate income for the descendants of the author but instead some great media corporation that has since bought the rights. It concedes far too much to long-dead artists and impersonal, colossal companies to extend copyright.

My preference is to see the copyright extension quashed entirely, but I understand we have treaty obligations under the USMCA. To that end, I propose the following system to extend copyright:

  • When a work passes the "Life + 45" mark, the work becomes available for renewal.
    • If the rights holder chooses to renew the copyrights the work may be held under protection until Life+70.
    • Should no action be taken, the work will enter the public domain at Life+50. There is no way to renew copyright after it has expired.
  • A cost is levied to renew the copyright. This cost should be significant, but not insurmountable.
    • For minor works which are no longer commercially relevant, this cost should be high enough to dissuade rights holders from renewing.
    • For major works, this cost should be mere changed compared to the expected returns.

The United States' extension under the Sonny Bono Act, by the accounts of most artists and non-rights holding copyright professionals, has been a complete failure. We should not repeat their mistakes. Proposals in that country to mitigate the damaging effects have failed because the powerful few have entrenched their position; we in Canada are in the fortunate position to affect change at the outset. I strongly urge you to not extend copyright, or to do so in a way that defends 99% of works from the disaster that would ensue.

Thank you,
James Mackey