At the Cato Institute conference this morning (which was great, but on which I'll write more later), someone in the audience raised a question about a number of Canadian musicians standing up to the recording industry. Reader Mikester has submitted additional information on this, as it appears a group of top Canadian musicians have formed a group to show the world that the recording industry does not represent their interests. This was a key contention on my own panel this morning, that what the "recording industry" is doing is all about protecting "the artist." Unfortunately, it's increasingly looking like "the artist" doesn't believe that's the case. Specifically, the artists (including Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan) are standing up and saying that suing their customers is a bad idea, digital locks are counterproductive to what they're trying to do and that cultural policy should really be about supporting culture -- not a specific business interest. This follows the news from a few months ago that Lavigne's own label is helping to pay for one person's legal representation after that music fan was sued by the RIAA. This is an important issue that is too often ignored: the recording industry is clearly trying to protect its own business of selling recorded music. They're not in the music business, and they're not about protecting the artist's rights. In fact, historically, the recording industry has a reputation (valid or not) of making it quite difficult for artists to actually make money. Having more musicians speak up and say that the views of the recording industry are not representative of musicians and are not about protecting the rights of musicians is an important step in this debate.
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