Hello Bill I am an old friend of Burt Harris ( Music Lawyer)
I have been asked by relatives to pass along the sad news to all of Burts old friends.
Do not know if you heard, but Burt passed away Thursday Nov 2 06 from his battle with cancer. He was at home surrounded by friends and family. The funeral will be on Tuesday November 7th at 2pm at the West Point Grey United Church (4595 West 8th Ave, Vancouver). A reception at the adjacent Church gym will follow. Sincerely WS Bill Smith
Post by Bill Henderson on Nov 8, 2006 13:01:00 GMT -5
Thanks for letting me know about Burt's passing Bill. He was a great guy and it's very sad that he's gone at such an early age.
Burt and I and Marc LaFrance spent a few years trying to influence amendments to the Copyright act that we're being made in the mid to late 90s, so that they would be supportive, in a real way, of musicians, recording artists and songwriters. In our view, there had been almost no input to legislators on the real conditions of work for recording artists and we were determined to change that. What came out of it was a clause (section 58.1) in the amended Copyright Act that gave artists and songwriters an opportunity to own the new rights being granted to them (Neighbouring Rights and Private Copying being the major ones) instead of having the rights scooped up by record companies and publishers through nasty "catch all" clauses that are generally found in their contracts.
Without Burt's legal expertise, his ability to think and articulate with great precision, and his incredible passion for making a fairer working environment for musicians, this would never have happened.
And, that was just one of his many contributions to our culture. One that I happen to be aware of because of my own involvement. It would be interesting to gather his projects together, and describe them for all to see. it would also be interesting and I think, very appropriate, for the West Coast Music Awards to creat an award in his name for others who dedicate themselves to serving the creative community the way that Burt did. We need to encourage a whole flock of young music lawyers to pick up where he left off.
Songwriters, musicians and recording artists all owe Burt a debt of gratitude. His spirit will live on in his friends, family and in the community of creative people that he so passionately and selflessly supported.
Burt Harris did a lot for artists and the Music Industry as a whole. He was instrumental in forming the Pacific Music Industry Association, of which I am now an employee. Burt's dedication to artists at the grassroots level still lives on through this organization and many, many people have been touched in one way or another by Burt's spirit. My condolences to Burt's family, and I hope Burt is at peace now.