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Global IP Champion: Miranda Mulholland
When it comes to advocating for effective intellectual property and copyright protections for Canadian creators, musician Miranda Mulholland shines. With a keen understanding of the importance of protecting Canada’s ability to produce uniquely Canadian art and music, Mulholland passionately advocates for expanded copyright protections that protect Canada’s artists and musicians. Mulholland’s tireless efforts in and out of the studio are why she is being honored this year with a 2019 IP Champion Award.
Born in Guelph, Ontario, music has long been a part of Mulholland’s life. A classically trained musician, she started violin training at the age of four. She continued to pursue music, earning degrees in Opera Performance at the University of Western Ontario and McGill University.
Miranda has proven herself a prolific musical creator, having played or sung on over 50 records. Called the “Sweet secret weapon of Canada’s Roots Music” by the Globe and Mail’s Brad Wheeler, she also has released two full-length solo albums including this year’s By Appointment Or Chance which have both received critical acclaim. She also started her own record label, Roaring Girl Records and founded The Muskoka Music Festival in Ontario. In addition to her studio work, Mulholland has toured extensively in Europe and North America with a number of bands and her current focus is her duo Harrow Fair who will be releasing their sophomore album in spring 2020.
Mulholland’s advocacy efforts started after a series of conversations with then-Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, where Joly told her that “artists needed to speak up.” Initially reluctant, Mulholland went on to help start Focus on Creators, a Canadian advocacy group consisting of creative industry associations and musicians interested in cultural policy reforms. When discussing her reasons to get involved in copyright and intellectual property advocacy, Mulholland says, “I want to let other artists know the value of having control over their own catalogue so that they can recognize the inherent value that comes with controlling your own copyright.” The financial hardships that come with a creative career prompted Mulholland to create toolkits with shareable social media images in time for elections. She was the first creative to speak at the Economic Club of Canada, and spearheaded a letter co-signed by 100 fellow artists on recommendations to reform the Copyright Board of Canada.
Because of Mulholland’s passion for copyright protection, Miranda was invited to testify, Mulholland testified in front of the Canadian House of Commons’ Heritage Committee on September 20, 2018. There, she spoke about the “value gap” that exists “between the joy and benefits consumers receive from art and the revenue that is returned to artists and businesses.” She also spoke about solutions that could help Canadian artists, including “getting rid of outdated radio royalty exemptions, changing the definition of a sound recording in the Copyright Act, creating a copying fund that ensures artists are fairly compensated without additional costs to consumers, and extending the term of copyright.”
When it comes to championing more effective copyright protections, Mulholland believes that everyone has a role in encouraging change. On her website, Mulholland writes: “We all have a part to play in change. Fans, industry, government, and artists can do things to create a functioning marketplace.” Mulholland’s outstanding leadership is one that all creatives in and out of Canada can look to for inspiration and motivation to advocate for strong IP protections.
The IP Champions awards, presented by the Global Innovation Policy Center, recognize leading innovators, creators, and the policymakers who support their work. Since 2013, the awards have been presented annually to honorees from around the world at a ceremony hosted by the GIPC in Washington, DC. The 2019 IP Champions Gala took place on October 29, 2019. For more information, click here.