Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce
Senate committee pleased Copyright Board consultations underway
August 18, 2017
Ottawa – Senators welcomed news that the federal government launched public consultations last week to review possible regulatory changes to the decision making process of the Copyright Board of Canada.
The Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce released a report in November 2016, Copyright Board: A rationale for urgent review, which called for a thorough, in-depth examination of the Copyright Board’s mandate, practices and resources.
The committee hopes the consultations will include a review of the Board’s outdated procedures that lead to lengthy delays in the setting of tariffs for copyrighted works. These delays create uncertainty for Canada’s cultural sector and businesses that may wish to use those works in their new products or services. The current backlog of tariffs filed with the Board has been pending for an estimated average length of time of seven years.
The Copyright Board is the federal regulator that sets the tariffs, or fees, that businesses pay to collective societies such as the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada who, in turn pay the artists.
Addressing these delays would allow Canadian artists to get paid sooner for the use of their work and increase the economic activity of the Canadian cultural sector. The committee will be following the progress of these consultations closely and will be looking forward to seeing the results.
- The Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce heard from 15 witnesses over two days in November 2016; all witnesses agreed there are problems with the Copyright Board that need fixing.
- Royalties set by the board’s decisions are estimated to exceed $400 million annually.
- More than 35 collective societies exist today to help artists collect royalty payments. In the 1980s, there were five.
“Our report concluded that the Copyright Board is outdated, dysfunctional and in dire need of reform. We are relieved that the federal government has finally decided to move forward on this issue.”
- Senator David Tkachuk, Chair of the committee
“Our country needs a Copyright Board that facilitates and stimulates Canada’s cultural sector and related businesses. The federal government’s announcement last week serves as an encouraging first step towards that end.”
- Senator Joseph A. Day, Deputy Chair of the committee
- Read the report, Copyright Board: A rationale for urgent review.
- Follow the committee on social media using the hashtag #BANC.
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Senate of Canada