The Supreme Court grants double usage fees for streaming or downloading music online


Songwriters are entitled to only one royalty, not two, when streaming or downloading music through an online service. The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled.

Friday’s Supreme Court ruling reveals the implications of Canadian copyright law provisions dealing with the public transmission of works online.

Canada leads the clause after signing an international treaty that requires Member States to protect on-demand transmissions and give authors the right to control when and how copyrighted works can be downloaded or streamed. did.

The Canadian Copyright Commission has established legislative provisions that mean that making songs and other works of art available is a separately protected activity that requires compensation.

The Board will inform this rights holder if the work is distributed online, one will be available on platforms such as iTunes and Spotify, and the other will be actually streamed or downloaded by listeners. He said he would give two payments.

The Federal Court of Appeals dismissed the board’s decision.

The Canadian Composers and Writers Association and the Canadian Composers Association, which represent major record labels, have urged the Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeals’ decision and adopt the Board’s interpretation.

States parties, including Apple Canada and major telecommunications companies, should reject this position because copyright law does not require payment of two royalties each time a work is streamed or downloaded. Said.

In writing for the majority of the Supreme Court, Judge Malcolm Rowe stated that copyright law does not exist solely for the benefit of the author.

“It’s comprehensive purpose is to balance the rights of authors and users by only rewarding the author while promoting public access to the work,” Rowe wrote.

“This balance enriches society. Authors are encouraged to produce more works and users can use them to inspire their original artistic and intellectual creations. You can access the work. “

The court violates the principle of “technical neutrality” by defeating the purpose of copyright law and requiring users to pay additional royalties to access their works online. Said.

“This principle should not be construed to favor or discriminate against any form of technology, unless there is a congressional opposition,” Mr Rowe said.

“Protects authors and users by ensuring that their work attracts the same rights and produces the same royalties, regardless of the technical means used to distribute the work.”

Copyright law provides authors with rights related to the reproduction and performance of copyrighted works.

“Similar to offline delivery, download or streaming works will continue to use only one copyright royalty, and you will have to pay one copy fee for the download or one fee for the performance of the stream,” Rowe wrote. I am.

Under the law, he added, the work would be “executed” as soon as it became available for on-demand streaming. At that point, royalties will be paid. If the work is later streamed by the user, no additional royalties will be paid as the stream is part of the ongoing performance activity that started when the work became available.

The value of these rights did not matter in the appeal, Rowe said. Therefore, setting appropriate royalties when these rights are exercised is a matter for the Board of Directors to decide.

Jim Bron Skill

Canadian press