Backgrounder – A history of copyright advocacy

The existence of a modern and effective Copyright Act is necessary to ensure adequate protection of CIMA members’ rights and a decent return on their investment.

An amendment to the Copyright Act in 1988 was the first change in 64 years. Still, many issues critical to our members were left for the Phase II revision – which finally took place in 1997.

A Long Road

CIMA has been a major player in advocating to accelerate the revision process and has been active in helping to set up umbrella music industry groups such as the Music Copyright Action Group (MCAG).

These activities are extremely time consuming and often frustrating but ultimately without changes to copyright laws and a new Copyright Act that really reflects today’s realities, there will be no Canadian music industry.

The second phase of copyright revision, Bill C-32, finally became a reality only in April 1997, some nine years after the passage of Phase I. While many gray areas were clarified, the key issues for CIMA members were the re-introduction of the neighbouring right and the introduction of the home taping right.

It is to the credit of all parties involved, artists and producer representatives, French and English groups, that not only was the Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada (NRCC) formed, but the research was conducted, a tariff was filed and, subsequent to a hearing of the Board in 1998, a tariff for commercial radio was established effective January 1, 1998 and a tariff for CBC radio, also dating from January 1, 1998, was also established.

The collective for home taping was formed in 1998 and, for administrative reasons, the first tariff request was filed in 1999. This tariff would not take effect until the calendar year 2000, even though the tariff was nominally for a two year period to the end of 2000.

The Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) consisted of more groups than the NRCC as it represents not just producers and artists but also:

  • composers
  • authors
  • music publishers.

As in the case of the NRCC, the CPCC is a collective of collectives and acts as the central organizing body in collecting and distributing royalties from private copying.

A hearing of the Copyright Board on the 1999/2000 tariff took place in August and September of 1999 with a decision announced in late December that took effect on December 18, 1999.

The CPCC then filed a new tariff in March 2000 for the years 2001/2002 which was heard by the board in September and October and a decision was announced in mid December that took effect on January 1, 2001.

This gave the CPCC a substantial increase in the rate for CD-R’s and CD-RW’s while also increasing the rate for cassette tapes.

However, the new realities of rapid changes in technology and the need to adapt to a changing world mean that copyright revision requires constant scrutiny.

To address this, Music Copyright Action Group has recently been re-formed as the Copyright Coalition, with the objective of obtaining yet a further revision of the Copyright Act. CIMA is a founding member of the Coalition and continues to put forward our members’ interests in this regard.