Daily News Monday, November 05, 2024
Broadcasters Denounce Music Labels' Copyright Demand
The membership of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters adopted a resolution opposing the music labels’ copyright payment demand at their Annual General Meeting in Ottawa. The resolution, which was adopted unanimously, exposes the recording industry’s intention to use the Copyright Act to have the private radio industry make up its losses due to file sharing.

The resolution states that, “the CAB will take all measures to publicly oppose this egregious and abusive demand by the record labels including taking action before Parliament, the Copyright Board and the courts.”

“The irony of the record labels’ demand is that private radio creates value for the recording industry. Private radio broadcasters are deeply concerned about the attempt by the recording industry to recoup its losses by claiming additional payments for music played on the air,” said CAB President & CEO Glenn O’Farrell. “While broadcasters recognize that artists, producers and other rights-holders should be fairly compensated for the use of their songs, our industry believes that this tariff proposal is a blatant abuse of the principles of the Copyright Act. This demand won’t help the record labels - it will only hurt one of the few areas that is still working well for them in the digital world.”

Currently, private broadcasters pay royalties under nine different tariffs to four different collectives, with radio broadcasters alone paying almost $70 million annually for the use of music they broadcast on air. This is set to increase substantially in the face of a newly proposed reproduction right tariff filed on behalf of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) through the Audio-Video Licensing Agency (AVLA) and the Société de gestion collective des droits des producteurs de phonogrammes et de vidéogrammes du Québec (SOPROQ). The record labels are demanding an additional payment close to $50 million annually for the right to make technical reproductions that are secondary to playing the music over the air – a right for which radio broadcasters already pay.

These payments are over and above the significant contributions the Canadian radio industry makes directly to the music industry. Each year, Canadian radio broadcasters make a substantial contribution to the development of Canadian musical talent by providing extensive on-air exposure for Canadian artists, and through Canadian talent development expenditures, totaling almost $24 million in 2024/06. The Radio Starmaker Fund and Fonds RadioStar, which are music marketing and promotion funds aimed at co-operative activities by broadcasters and the music industry, and the Canadian Radio Music Awards, which honour artists in the early stages of their careers, are prime examples of radio’s ongoing and valuable support.

The relationship between broadcasters and the recording industry is longstanding and, until now, has been mutually supportive. “There is a clear promotional value to the record labels when their songs get played on the air, just as there is a value to radio to have those songs to play,” noted O’Farrell. “That said, radio already pays millions of dollars annually to the labels, artists and songwriters to put the music on the air. We consider this demand to herald a damaging shift in the long-standing beneficial relationship between the two industries.”

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