Bryan Adams to MPs: Give artists more control over their work

Veteran Canadian rocker goes before heritage committee to call for changes to Copyright Act

Canadian rock star Bryan Adams appears as a witness at a Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams wants the federal government to amend the Copyright Act to give artists more ability to regain control of their scripts and songs after they’ve been sold to a company.

Appearing at the House of Commons heritage committee this morning, the veteran rocker pitched a proposal that he said would require a change to only one word in the law, but would make a huge difference to artists.

Right now, the act gives companies which have the rights to work by musicians, authors, composers and other creators the power to retain those rights for 25 years after the artist’s death. Adams called for a change to the act that would limit those companies to exclusive rights for 25 years after the initial sale of the rights — more than enough time, he said, for labels to commercially exploit artists.

“This would be a very big step in the right direction, to help composers and authors in Canada to own and control their work,” he said.

The U.S. allows companies to retain rights to artists’ work for 35 years after their sale.

“I think we can do better in Canada,” said the 58-year-old Adams.

Adams said his pitch is the “simplest change” Parliament could make to improve the livelihood of artists, but added he recognizes that’s just one aspect of a bigger challenge in the global digital era.

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