The lead story for the Winter 2013 edition of Music Publisher Canada looks at what the growth of Online Music Services, many of them not currently in Canada, means to music publishers and writers. In the short term, a number of Supreme Court rulings in July of last year more clearly defined the royalty landscape in Canada for the good and the bad. The good came with the Court upholding SOCAN’s right to collect a royalty on music streamed over the Internet under SOCAN Tariff 22A, which called for a monthly fee of 6.8 percent of the amounts paid by the subscriber with a minimum fee of 43.3 cents per month, per subscriber. The bad news came with the Court’s ruling that transmitting a single copy of a work to a single individual, as with a download, does not fall under the “communication to the public” right within the Copyright Act.
Casey Chisick, a partner in the Entertainment Law and Intellectual Property Practices at the law firm of Cassels Brock & Blackwell, who was guest speaker at the CMPA AGM in Toronto in May 2012, was prescient when he declared at the time, “[In Bill C-11], at least we got the ‘Making Available Right’ – that was good – and it may prove to be extremely important to music publishers, depending on the outcome of the appeals that are currently pending before the Supreme Court and what the Court decides to say about the meaning of the ‘communication to the public by telecommunication right’ in the digital age.” Two months after Chisick made comments, we had the answer.
“[In July of last year], in a deeply divided Court, they told us we couldn’t get any money for the transmission of a download,” says long-time VP of Legal Services & General Counsel at SOCAN, Paul Spurgeon, who retired in December. “This is not the end of it because, on November 7, 2012, the Copyright Act was amended which created a ‘Making Available Right.’ Our view is that this allows us to license works whether it’s a download or whether it’s a stream.”
Online Music Services currently available in Canada include – SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES: BBM Music, Dezzer, eMusic, Galaxie, Music Unlimited, Rara.com, Rdio, Siren Music, Slacker, Songza, Telus, The Vault, Vevo, Xbox Music, YouTube and Zik. DOWNLOAD SERVICES: 7Digital, Archambault, Artistxite, BBM Muisic, Bell, Blackberry Music, Classical Archives, eMusic, iTunes, Motime, Puretracks, Telus, The Vault and Xbox Music. AD- SUPPORTED SERVICES: Astral Radio, CBC Music, Deezer, Medazoic, Songza, Vevo, Xbox Music and YouTube.