Canadians #1 Illegal Downloaders

Published: 2006-01-05
A 2004 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that per capita, Canada had the most illegal file sharers in the world.

Though there isn't yet a similar stat for 2005, a couple of national surveys show that the problem isn't getting any better.

The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), Canada's answer to the the US's Recording Industry Association of America, blames a lack of legislation protecting intellectual property.

According to national surveys by Pollara and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, it's young Canadians that are taking advantage of internet music freebies. Canadians aged 12 to 24 make up about 21% of the overall population but 78% of the downloading population. And for every legal download in the country there are 14 illegal ones.

The increase in illegal music downloads largely accounts for the 41% decrease in music sales in the country between 1999 and 2005, which caused a loss of $451 million.

"Not only does music file-swapping harm artists, but it also points to an erosion of respect for intellectual property that threatens Canada's economy and values at the core of our society," CRIA president Graham Henderson said in a statement. "We need stronger copyright laws, comparable to those of our global competitors, to ensure the continued growth of copyright-based industries."

Writer: Michelle Garcia



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Oh come off it.

Canadians paid over $39 million to the music industry in 2004 alone via the private copying levy, which may well cover file sharing.

Taking something you've paid for is not "illegal".

Anyway, the US gives rights holders many more rights than they have in Canada, and yet CD sales there fell in 2005. Meanwhile, Canada's independent musicians are reporting that 2005 was a great year.

The CRIA is essentially EMI (UK), Universal Music Group (France), Warner Music Group (WMG - US) and Sony BMG Music (US) - just a front for foreign interests. I see no reason to change our laws to fix the "problem" of them not making as much money as they would like.

We need copyright laws that suit Canada, not the US or Europe, and it seems that the ones that we have now do quite a good job.
Posted by: Anonymous on January 05, 2006
If the RIAA "blames a lack of legislation" then doesn't that seem to indicate that it is not in fact illegal file sharing? If it was illegal, there would be legislation (laws) against doing it.
Posted by: Anonymous on January 05, 2006
The statistical methods used to calculate this claim is highly suspect. If the major US and European labels, using the name CRIA (The "C" in the name is the "Canadian Content"), weren't able to provide enough evidence to the federal court to get the names of the 29 filesharers they wanted to sue, how can they possibly claim to know how much illegal filesharing is happening?

This court case proved that the industry has no idea how much illegal filesharing is going on, not as they falesly claim that Canadian law isn't strong enough. Canadian law is actually too strong and too complex, which is one of the primary reasons people don't know what is legal and what is not. Many self-called "copyright lawyers" are unable to give simple answers to simple questions because of this excessively messy act.

Russell McOrmond
Independent software author, webmaster for

BTW: Those wishing to engage candidates during and after the election on copyright issues should go to
Posted by: russellmcormond on January 05, 2006
It wouldn't be such a prominent issue if CD's weren't so expensive! The music buisness is causing its own problems by releasing over priced music. I'm almost positive we'd see a rise in record sales if we saw a decrease in prices.
Posted by: Anonymous on January 06, 2006
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