CAPIC Submission to Strengthen Canadian Content in a Digital World
January 23, 2017
Submitted via email – Download PDF
Hon Mélanie Joly, PC MP Ministry of Canadian Heritage House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Re: CAPIC Submission to Strengthen Canadian Content in a Digital World
Dear Minister Joly:
I am writing to you on behalf of the Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators (CAPIC) in response to your request for consultations on strengthening Canadian content creation, discovery and exports in a digital world.
CAPIC is making this submission now because the Ministry did not initially respond to its inquiries and CAPIC was directed to the online submission portal after it was already closed. This initiative directly effects CAPIC and its image creator members, who support and create thousands of Canadian jobs. Given CAPIC’s longstanding and unique role in representing image creators, it was disappointing that CAPIC was not invited to contribute to this vital initiative and did not receive a timely response to its inquiries from the Ministry. CAPIC provides a distinct voice in representing stakeholders who are otherwise largely unrepresented in this process and trusts that it will not be overlooked again in the future.
Formed in 1978, CAPIC is a Canadian association of professional image creators (photographers, illustrators and digital artists) working in the field of visual communications. CAPIC is dedicated to maintaining industry standards that are fair and equitable and its members have made generous cultural contributions both nationally and internationally. CAPIC strives to create a vibrant community for image creators and to act as a strong advocate for economic growth and copyright protection. The premier national organization for image creators, CAPIC has six chapters across Canada with its main office in Toronto.
Thousands of Canadians earn their livelihoods through creating images, the vast majority of whom are small business owners and sole proprietors. Without professional image creators such as CAPIC’s members, the digital landscape would lack the vibrant content that educates, enthralls and enriches our unique Canadian culture. Image creators not only provide the window for Canadians and the world to see our stunning country – they are also the visual chroniclers of our culture and history. Strong federal support for image creators will help ensure that our members can earn their livelihoods and contribute to the economy by employing others in Canada and not seeking such opportunities elsewhere in this global economy. Every paid commission for an image creator based in Canada results in the tangible benefits of good jobs and tax revenues staying in Canada. It is vital that the federal government takes a leading role in helping to address the significant challenges confronting image creators in the digital environment.
One area in which the government can help Canadian creators in this rapidly changing digital economy is by expanding the availability of grants and funding for image creators. In the past, funding has been limited to creators who work exclusively in the “fine art” field, while largely ignoring the thousands of talented individuals who primarily create commercial and editorial content. CAPIC agrees that the government should continue to support artists working in fine art, but not to the exclusion (and detriment) of commercial and editorial image creators.
Increased support should be made available to all image creators regardless of discipline or age – this will also help to ensure that older artists who “paved the way” can continue to mentor and train the next generation of Canadian creators.
Your help is especially important given that professional image creators are confronted with a challenging economic landscape in the digital world. The proliferation of images due to technological advancements is staggering. For example, Deloitte Global estimates that 2.5 trillion photographs will be shared or stored online in 2016.1 It is difficult to stand out when 3.5 million new images are shared on the Internet every day.2 The vast number of available images has resulted in lower prices for images and increased competition for Canadian creators – it is just as easy for a local client to license an image from someone across the globe instead of a photographer with a studio around the corner. If content is indeed the new currency, no form of content is growing more rapidly in volume than images. CAPIC’s members need your support to have the opportunity to compete and thrive in this extremely competitive environment.
While the Internet allows creators to easily promote and share their work, it also makes it easy for users to take their work without permission through simply “right-clicking” on an image displayed in a search engine and saving it to their hard drive. CAPIC understands that while revising our copyright laws is not the express mandate of this consultation, it is difficult for any creator to thrive in the digital world unless we have strong copyright laws to encourage and protect Canadians who earn their livelihoods through copyright. This not only involves having
1 https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/tmt-pred16- telecomm-photo-sharing-trillions-and-rising.html
2 https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/press-releases/articles/3-point-5-million-photos-shared-every- minute.html
robust copyright laws, but also educating the public on respecting copyright and the economic importance of our creative industries.
CAPIC also joins the Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC)3 in expressing concern with the lack of artistic diversity in the composition of the Expert Advisory Group that the Ministry has appointed to assist in this endeavour.4 In particular, it is disappointing that the Advisory Group does not include any members who are primarily engaged in creating images. CAPIC is not casting any aspersions on the highly qualified individuals selected for the Advisory Group, but there are many eligible image creator candidates who have spent their entire professional lives encouraging and promoting the advancement of Canadian culture through their work and none were selected for this important panel.
CAPIC appreciates this invitation from the Ministry to comment on these critical issues for creators of visual works and looks forward to being more actively involved in future consultations. We are hopeful and confident that you will continue to work with creators to help foster a digital market in which image creators can thrive and continue to share their work with their fellow Canadians and the entire world. CAPIC looks forward to continuing to provide its unique viewpoint on behalf of its members in your efforts to strengthen our cultural industries in the digital economy.
Dan Pollack Law
Counsel to the Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators (CAPIC)
Daniel B. Pollack firstname.lastname@example.org
cc: Office of the Prime Minister (email@example.com); Bryon Johnson, CAPIC President (firstname.lastname@example.org); Scott Shortliffe, Ministry of Canadian Heritage (email@example.com)