A Life Without Art? Really?

A Life Without Art? Really?


Montréal, April 23, 2019 – On World Book and Copyright Day, prompted by the ongoing revision of the Copyright Act of Canada, 16 organizations representing more than 200,00 artists and creators have united to launch an advocacy campaign called A Life Without Art? Really? The goal of this joint initiative is to raise the awareness of the Canadian public, and of key decision-makers, about the crucial role played by copyright in preserving the existence of art, and fair compensation for its creators.

“Copyright provides an essential component of an artist’s revenues. Regrettably, the current Copyright Act has many shortcomings that threatens artists and their creations. The law should protect creators, but instead, it acts as a sieve that allows many to avoid paying for the use of copyrighted art. Without fair compensation, it becomes very difficult, or near-impossible, for a great majority of artists to keep on creating”, said Laurent Dubois, Director of Union des écrivaines et écrivains québécois (UNEQ), and one of the campaigns’ spokespersons.

A Life Without Art? Really? – An Appeal to the People

People are invited to show their support for Québécois and Canadian artists by signing and sharing the campaign manifesto, via www.uneviesansart.ca. The campaign focuses mainly on three videos that demonstrate what “a life without art,” would look like. At the end of each video, Fanny Britt, David Bussières, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Claude Robinson, Ricardo Trogi and Mani Soleymanlou invite citizens of Québec and Canada to take action toward better protection for artists and their work. People are encouraged to share the videos over their social networks, and to join the conversation by using the hashtag #lifewithoutart.

“This campaign is the perfect opportunity to ask ourselves, as a society, one question: are we truly willing to live a life without art? Art permeates our lives. We need art on a daily basis, to help us, understand our world and embellish our daily lives, to help us grow, live together, or simply to entertain us. Today, however, art need us”, said Mani Soleymanlou, author, actor and stage director.

Restoring Balance for Fair Compensation

The Copyright Act of Canada is supposed to undergo a judicial review every five years. The last revision, however, was in 2012, and it only served to penalize creators even more. Throughout the years, the number of exceptions in the Copyright Act- in other words, situations where paying for the use of copyrighted art isn’t required- increased dramatically. While there were about a dozen exceptions prior to 1988, there are currently almost 85, representing 40% of the content of the most recent version of the law.

With the federal elections coming this fall, the organization championing the A Life without art? Really? campaign are calling for reinforcement of the law, to achieve a better balance between accessing art and protecting artists. In concrete terms, the organization are demanding that the act:

  • require Internet service providers to increase their compensation of creators;
  • introduce dissuasive sanctions for abusive use of copyrighted art;
  • reduce the number of exceptions to the law, and better define the remaining ones;
  • better define the concepts of “education” and “fair use” in the text of the law;
  • adapt the existing statutory provisions to the technological realities of the market by including, for example, digital audio recorders, electronic tablets, and smartphones in the private copying system;
  • impose the same regulations on foreign online services as on Canadian ones, notably with regards to taxation, and financing culture.

“Fair compensation for artists through copyrights allows them the means to continue creating, and represents a positive investment for Québec and Canada – whether it’s by creating jobs, or protecting and promoting our artists on local and international scenes. Supporting the arts is a societal choice, and it’s the people’s prerogative to decide if it wants to have a rich and flourishing cultural economy”, added Geneviève Côté, Chief of Québec Affaires and Visual Arts at SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada), and also one of the spokespersons for the union of organizations behind this campaign.

To become part of this campaign:

Sign the manifesto at the address: www.uneviesansart.ca 
Post a comment, using the official hashtag of the campaign: #alifewithoutart

Member organizations of the campaign A Life Without Art? Really?

Association des professionnels des arts de la scène du Québec (APASQ); Association québécoise des auteurs dramatiques (AQAD); Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ); Conseil des métiers d’art du Québec (CMAQ); Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec (GMMQ); Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV); Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatique (SACD); Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN); Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (SARTEC); Société civile des auteurs multimédia (SCAM); Société de gestion collective de l’Union des artistes (ARTISTI); Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ); Société québécoise des auteurs dramatiques (SoQAD); Société québécoise de gestion collective des droits de reproduction (Copibec); Union des artistes (UDA); Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ).

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For further information

Marc-Antoine Farly
Morin Relations Publiques
514 289-8688, ext. 250
514 444-3556
[email protected]