The Copyright Board of Canada is a federal tribunal empowered to establish royalties to be paid for the use of copyrighted works. Pursuant to the Copyright Act, Re:Sound files tariffs with the Copyright Board to ensure artists and labels are being fairly compensated when their music is used commercially within particular industries.
Re:Sound must submit a tariff proposal to the Copyright Board by March 31 of the year preceding the year in which the tariff is to commence.
The Copyright Board publishes the tariff application in the Canada Gazette, providing official notice to all prospective users of the proposed tariff and their right to object and participate in the proceedings to certify the tariff. The Copyright Board also typically provides a copy of the proposed tariff directly to the relevant industry groups and legal counsel who routinely participate in Board proceedings on behalf of prospective users.
Anyone who wishes to object to a proposed tariff may do so within 60 days after publication in the Canada Gazette. Prospective users may still participate in the tariff proceedings after this deadline, by requesting leave to intervene.
The period before the hearing entails an extensive process involving the exchange of documents, interrogatories, filing of cases, etc. This process typically lasts about one year.
Copyright Board hearings are open and public. Objectors and other interested parties are provided with an opportunity to file written responses and to present arguments and evidence. Re:Sound files economic evidence to support its tariff proposals and the objectors have full opportunity to address Re:Sound’s evidence and to present their own alternative proposals. The Copyright Board’s rate and tariff determinations take into account all relevant factors, including the financial realities of the potential payors. Hearings typically last two weeks.
After the hearing, the Copyright Board may come back to any of the parties with follow-up questions. If there are legal issues in dispute, these are often addressed through additional written submissions following the hearing.
The entire process of adjudicating a tariff can be lengthy, particularly for an inaugural tariff, applying to a new use of music/industry for the first time. In many cases the decisions from the Copyright Board may not be received until four or five years after Re:Sound made its tariff application.
The Copyright Act of Canada grants Re:Sound the authority to continue to collect royalties under certified tariffs until the new proposed tariff is approved.
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