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SOCAN Reproduction Rights Clients awarded $1.5M in Royalties for Copies of Music in CBC Arbitration

SOCAN, on behalf of SODRAC members and clients, has announced that it is now finally able to collect for the reproduction of music on CBC television broadcasts. This is because the Supreme Court of Canada determined that “broadcast incidental copies” have reproduction right value as SOCAN/SODRAC was able to demonstrate.

Broadcast incidental copies are copies of music embedded in audio-visual content made by broadcasters, that are necessary to facilitate television, radio or online broadcasting. To make this clearer, Canadian Musician asked SOCAN for an example of this use, to which they explained; the "Murdoch Mysteries program is delivered to CBC and several internal copies are made in order to facilitate that program being offered on TV, online, on demand, archives, etc."

The Copyright Board of Canada ruled on the reexamination of its 2012 decision on the value of those music reproductions.

SODRAC – the reproduction rights collective that SOCAN acquired in 2018 – successfully defended the 2012 ruling. That judgment ensured that associated royalties would be delivered to the music publishers, composers, and songwriters who rightfully earned them from the use of copies of their work.

Agreements have long been in place for commercial radio broadcast reproductions. SOCAN says it is now the only collective in Canada collecting television reproduction royalties for the benefit of their members and clients.

After almost 10 years of litigation with CBC, the Copyright Board re-confirmed that broadcast incidental copies are essential to the broadcast business and are payable as reproduction royalties for rights-holders.

The result was a ruling in favour of rights-holders, awarding $1.5-million in 2008-2012 licenses. The final decision on the amount for the period 2012-2018 is still to be issued by the Copyright Board.

Canadian Musician also followed up with SOCAN to find out how that $1.5-million award will be divvied up among its members. The PRO says, "Royalties are paid to the same works that have been paid for the performances. So if a broadcaster logged performances it naturally makes sense that the BICs would have occurred for those AV compositions.  The usage is then weighted by type (theme song, background, etc.) and by duration."

This decision has ongoing incremental value for music reproduction rights-holders. Now that a definitive value has been set, SOCAN say it will begin negotiations with additional Canadian broadcasters that require a licence to use broadcast incidental copies of copyright music.

SOCAN had already reached television reproduction agreements with Québec-based broadcasters and a several English-speaking Bell and Corus channels.

This decision has ongoing incremental value for music reproduction rights-holders. Now that a definitive value has been set, SOCAN will begin negotiations with additional Canadian broadcasters that require a license to use broadcast incidental copies of copyright music.

SOCAN had already reached television reproduction agreements with Québec-based broadcasters and a several English-speaking Bell and Corus channels.

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Michael Raine is the Senior Editor at Canadian Musician. He is also a co-host of the popular Canadian Musician Radio weekly podcast.
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