In this year’s pre-budget brief to the Standing Committee on Finance, the Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA) has asked the federal government to change the way it taxes artists. Internet piracy has become an important concern for artists of all sorts, and the CCA is arguing that new technologies are resulting in copyright infringement and the loss of income. This text is an excerpt from the CCA’s brief. The full text can be found at http://www.culturenet.ca/cca/budgt00.htm. This year, the CCA has decided to make a single, focussed submission with only one goal: equitable taxation treatment for individual artists and creators. In the past, we have argued this point through an appeal for a return to income averaging for self-employed individuals. This year, an additional solution is proposed: a tax exemption based on copyright income. Why is the CCA concentrating its resources on this one issue, fair and equitable taxation treatment for artists and creators, at this time? It is not a new issue and has long been a mantra for the CCA. However, a number of factors have come together in recent months which have persuaded us that the time is propitious for such a submission to the Standing Committee on Finance ... (including) a plethora of recent news articles regarding the upsurge of artistic content on the web (both legal and illegal) and the resulting changes in how creators will earn copyright income. The Canadian government has indicated its determination to become the most wired government in the world within four years – an admirable goal. The CCA cautions, however, that in its rush to do so, government must not become preoccupied with technology rather than content, and must ensure that artists’ rights are not trampled underfoot. The Budget speech delivered by the Minister of Finance on February 29, 2000, outlined a $75 million initiative over three years "to ensure a significant, identifiable Canadian presence on-line, in French and in English". The principal thrust for this money will be the Virtual Museum and the linking up of the digitized collections at Canada’s museums, and expanding the Canada Place website into the Canadian Cultural Internet portal. This brings the question of copyright in electronic or digital works under the spotlight, issues on which the copyright collective of CARFAC and the Canadian Museums Association are currently working. The Standing Committee members have probably heard more than they ever wanted to hear about Napster and copyright issues; however, to quote the National Post: "The advent of the CD-ROM technology and the all-pervasiveness of the Internet have created unprecedented opportunities for the unauthorized reproduction of copyright works." And it isn’t just musicians who have felt under siege recently. Visual artists are still struggling with the thorny issue of how to be compensated for copyright when a gallery or museum depicts their work on its website. Canada’s writers have recently been in the headlines protesting a U.S.-based website called Contentville.com, an e-commerce site that sells illicit reprints of writers’ works. Although author Stephen King seems to have had success with his recent e-commerce venture (providing his most recent book in a downloadable format for a mere $1), it is extremely doubtful that a lesser-known author would have attained anything like the same result. With so many Internet-based cases appearing before the courts, it should be remembered that large companies (the publishers, film and record companies) have big bucks to fight for their copyrights and are using that money liberally to do so. Artists, as a rule, do not. Their lost income from copyright infringement remains lost forever. In closing, the Canadian Conference of the Arts urges the government of Canada to take a bold step, to "break free of the bureaucratic mindset", "to seek out ... the inspired creators, and help them ...". We recommend that the government of Canada institute, without delay, fair and equitable tax treatment in support of Canada’s artists and creators.