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Canadian Music Copyright Killing the Golden Goose

Canadian Music Copyright Killing the Golden Goose
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Pay attention, Canadians. If you organize a parade, run a karaoke bar, want background music in your restaurant or other establishment, plan a public event of any kind (including weddings), play recorded music at a festival or fair or exhibition, or crank up the tunes at an outside event in a park or any public area, add one more cost to the list: music. With a new ruling that is retroactive to 2008, the music licensing picture just got even more complicated.

Anyone who uses recorded music publicly already pays (or is supposed to) licensing fees to SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada). Artists license their works through SOCAN and then receive royalties based on fees collected by the copyright collective.

Now music users will have to pony up a second set of fees and send them off to Re:Sound. That is the non-profit given the task of collecting and policing the new fees. Well, after all, the extra money tacked onto the purchase of blank CDs and DVDs has to be distributed. You may remember that money is being collected to compensate all the victims of music pirating.

Individual charges are not high. A bar with karaoke three days a week will pay $86.06 annually. An exhibition that draws up to 25,000 people will pay only $8.39. A wedding with up to 100 guests will pay $9.25, unless the guests dance, in which case they will pay $18.51.

Realistically, for all but a handful of successful musicians, money and music are pretty much strangers. So on the face of things, for the Copyright Board of Canada to add another point of payment for struggling artists is a reasonable idea. After all, the sound guy who runs the music through the system gets paid. So should the artist.

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20 comments

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11:07PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

didn't know about this - thanks for the info

9:12PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Death by forms.. worse than death of 100000 paper cuts.

7:45PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

And this is exactly why people pirate music and movies to begin with. I have no problem with paying the Artist. But the reality is that the money gets distributed between a lot of middlemen and the artist gets pennies on the dollar. To me it is rob or be robbed!

6:12PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Copyright laws the world over need to be simplified, as well as the payment schemes, especially the whole "pay to play at a public venue", especially when that venue is invite only (weddings, for instance) or the music is not being played as part of the admission (parades, background music in hair salons, restaurants and the like).

Payment to artists has always been a joke - just lump it in one big pile, take the lawyers' cut and the associations' cuts off the top, divide the rest by genre, and parcel it out by the supposed popularity of the groups within that genre. Your local groups, who are performing good, original stuff, don't get squat because they've only cut 1,000 CDs (as an example I am personally familiar with).

And as far as the issue Milan L raised, I quite agree - you bought the CD/DVD/book/whatever, it's *yours*. Enjoy, copy to whatever medium. Just please don't copy it and resell the copy. But if it's for your own personal use, SOCAN/RIAA/etc. can just keep the frak out of it.

(I'm a professional musician with three self-published recordings to my credit, so I do have some clue as to what I'm talking about.)

6:02PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

You pay more for music if people dance to it??? SERIOUSLY???? 2thumbsdown!!!

11:06AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

SOCAN... The Canadian RIAA. Bad news with your WANTS. They're not going to be met. People will tell them what they've told the RIAA. Take a hike.

10:46AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Thanks for the article Cathryn. Sounds like the system needs to be simplified.

10:09AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

This is pathetic. On the artists already well off will see any profits from this thing. At the same time, they're killing off they're fanbase by telling us when and where we can listen.

9:13AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

LMFAO

8:48AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

OK so now we will all listen to music produced in America, UK or any other country but Canada. All the more reason for Canadian talent to move down south or go to Europe.
Guess I will have to keep my windows closed in case the " music police" might here me playing some Canadian artist.....well done Canada.

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