Friday, August 13, 2010
one (more) artist's opinion
(image courtesy Ladies of the Canyon, and Kindling Music)
Montreal singer, songwriter and member of the band Ladies of the Canyon, Maia Davies, has published an op-ed in the Montreal Gazette, expressing her passion for working as an artist, and her disappointment over illegal downloading.
You can see the full op-ed here, and here are some key quotes:
"I am an artist by choice, just as others choose to follow other careers. Whatever one does for a living, we're all expected to follow the economic and political norms that define our society, and to obey the law. Particularly in a social-minded nation like Canada, we also respect the greater good along with individual rights. One of these rights is for workers and employers to be compensated for the goods and services they sell."
"The government of Canada took an important step to correct this situation when it introduced Bill C-32. Some people have raised objections. If those objections are based on a desire for better consumer access to creative works, count me in. But that isn't really what we are talking about here. This discussion really comes down to Canadian workers' rights to fair compensation for services rendered."
Well said, Ms. Davies.
These days, speaking your mind publicly about a working artist's right to protect their copyright can feel a lot like extending your head through that comfy little neck rest on a guillotine.
As I have documented a number of times, artists and other professional creators are regularly attacked as elite, out-of-touch, and greedy if they dare to express concern about the popular and widespread copyright infringements of the day. Browse through the comments section of any Boing Boing anti-copyright posting and you'll get a sense of the enmity and anger with which artists are greeted when they speak out about their rights.
Which is why I so admire the artists who do speak out. No one I know is in the art-biz in order to alienate and anger potential fans; and everyone I know in the art-biz just groaned a bit when I used the term "art-biz." The primary driver for entering a career in the arts is almost never economic. In fact, it's often quite uncomfortable for the artists I know to talk about money, since a) that's not what their art is really about, and b) there isn't a whole lot of money to talk about anyway.
Ms. Davies can now count on being aggressively (and often rudely) confronted on her personal views by anti-copyright activists who really, really just want to explain to her how she is wrong to feel the way she feels and how her views on C-32, digital locks, music and art belong to the last century and simply don't fit with where the world is going. She can expect to be pestered on Twitter and Facebook, and almost certainly yelled at while she's on stage at her next concert. That is, sadly, the atmosphere in which principled, concerned artists in Canada are now expected to work -- one of perpetual defensive justification. I tell you, from experience, it can be pretty hard on the art part of one's life.
I intend to pester Ms. Davies in my own way, to thank her for the courageous op-ed and for her concerns about Canadian art. I will pester her to take my money, as I (legally) download the debut Ladies of the Canyon album (and maybe buy me one of them attractive LOTC t-shirts). If I ever have the pleasure of meeting her, she can also count on being pestered for an autograph.
I leave you with this. Happy weekend everyone: