Be Aware Of Rights in Musical Works

IMG_0168 - rotatedCanada has a number of collective societies that collect royalties on behalf of rights holders in musical works.  These rights holders include composers and music publishers.  For recorded music the rights holders also include music companies that produce recordings of songs, along with performers who perform on those recordings.   The royalties that the collective societies collect are set by the Copyright Board of Canada. One of my first involvements in Copyright Law involved a client who owned a club at which live music was performed.  He had received a letter from one of the collective societies threatening legal action if royalties were not paid.  A few years later I received a series of similar calls when the Copyright Board first set a tariff for skating rinks and the collective societies started sending out letters.  Today the following tariffs are in place, identified by number and brief description as follows: #1 commercial radio, #2 television, #3 cabarets, cafes, clubs, cocktail bars, dining rooms, lounges, restaurants, roadhouses, taverns, #4 live performances at concert halls and theatres and other places of entertainment, #5 exhibitions and fairs, #6 motion picture theatres, #7 skating rinks, #8 receptions, conventions and fashion shows, #9 sporting events, #10 parks, parades, streets & public areas, #11 circuses, ice shows, light shows, comedy shows, magic shows, #12 theme parks, #13 public conveyances (e.g., airplanes, buses), #14 performance of individual works, #15 background music not covered by 16, #16 background music suppliers (e.g., music on hold), #17 pay television services, #18 recorded music for dancing, #19 fitness activities & dance instruction, #20 karaoke bars, #21 recreational facilities run by municipalities or colleges, #22 internet streaming, #23 hotel or motel in-room service, #24 ringtones, and #25 satellite radio.  Upon reflection, you will appreciate how frequently you are involved in an activity for which someone is required to pay a royalty pursuant to these tariffs. The collective societies include the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publisher (SOCAN), the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA), the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers & Publishers in Canada (SODRAC), Musician Rights Organization (MROC), RE:SOUND, and CONNECT Music Licensing.   If you are involved in one of the activities that trigger a royalty, we urge you to alert the organizer to check out the applicable tariff, if they are not already enrolled.