In the world of law, ‘music lawyers’ are a distinctive breed… especially lawyers who work with copyright law. Because in today’s hi-tech world of music delivery systems, they’re the ones who must constantly adapt, address and champion the protection of intellectual property.
This month’s Behind the Board featured Board member is none other than the CMAO’s legal counsel and Secretary-Treasurer, Craig Parks. Craig has worked in just about every area of music law. From back in the days of visiting delinquent record labels in Montreal on behalf of the CMRRA and explaining how mechanical rights should work, to negotiating settlements on behalf of the uncredited songwriters of “Who Let The Dogs Out” and R. Kelly’s “Fiesta”! From being the first in-house counsel for PROCAN, (SOCAN’s predecessor prior to their merger with CAPAC) persuading them to pursue and ultimately achieve increased tariff levels, to currently handling all the legal affairs of MROC (Musicians’ Rights Organization Canada). This man knows copyright law inside out. And why wouldn’t he? He has acted as counsel to the Copyright Board of Canada and to many other organizations like ACTRA, SOCAN, FACTOR, Canadian Heritage – the list is endless. He’s also represented some pretty impressive individual clients that included Julian Austin, Jim Witter, Dean McTaggart, Marshall Dane, Don Ross and Jason McCoy, to name but a few. He’s represented music publishers, record companies, record producers, management companies, songwriters, studios, concert promoters…. you name it. Recently, even an online music distributor and a crowd-funding site. As well as practicing copyright law, he’s also conducted mediation in that field.
Born in Winnipeg to a musical family (his dad was a successful musician), Craig also gravitated toward music. He’s a classically trained pianist and songwriter himself. He’s a happily married family man, with a wife of 24 years and three daughters. (That’s where those mediation skills really must come in handy.) His interest in geography and his skill with languages all come together in his other favourite passion… travel. That, plus a deep love of Indian food. (“Pakora your bag, dad! And kiss Mumbai”). And speaking of languages, in addition to English and French, he’s also fully fluent in “Legalese”. He’s translated hundreds of legal documents for business and government and even vets the French translations of MROC material. Sacre bleu!
Being a songwriter and musician himself, Craig loves to help and nurture others in his chosen field. In his own words, “To be a successful performing artist, talent is just the beginning. It doesn’t hurt to have a good business sense as well as a posse of business experts advising you. You can’t create in isolation – networking is crucial. And then you have to be in the right place at the right time with the right sound for the times: whether it’s a record label or commercial radio looking for a particular sound. So, all the stars have to be in alignment.”
Well, the stars have definitely lined up for Craig Parks… and for the CMAO too. We’re proud to have Craig on our board, looking after your interests.