We’re only a few months into 2016 and already it is shaping up to be a very exciting year for CMRRA! Here is some news about what’s been happening, and also about what’s in store for the rest of this year and beyond!
CMRRA completed its first distribution of online music royalties using its new Licensing and Royalty Distribution System (LDS). As we told you previously, LDS is a huge step forward in the technology underlying CMRRA’s operations, and our clients will see the benefits and improvements that LDS represents reflected in the form and contents of their royalty statements, not only for online royalties but for most of CMRRA’s lines of business.
Indeed, this March distribution marked the introduction of a new and highly improved format for the reporting of royalties to our music publisher clients. This fulfilled the requests that we had received repeatedly for electronic statements that can be utilized by publisher clients of any size, compatible with processing in Excel or other more sophisticated systems. The quality of the data has been enhanced to provide far more information than has ever been available in our statement outputs, including fields to provide each publishers’ own proprietary account numbers, work numbers, and associated writers. Summary amounts are inserted at each of the work, publisher and file levels in order to provide easier means of balancing statements to payments. New summary reports will make this process easier still, while also providing more analytical breakdowns of the payable royalties according to different metrics. Finally, all outputs are accessible to every client via CMRRA Direct, through an on demand data retrieval process.
CMRRA is proud of the work that has been completed by our operations team to implement these important changes. They have delivered a major new module to our new system that will result in greatly more efficient invoicing and distribution of online music royalties.
CMRRA has expanded our licensing activities into the audiovisual market with new tariffs for reproductions of musical works contained in audiovisual content. This type of reproduction pertains to the “post-synchronization” copies made by broadcasters and audiovisual services to deliver audiovisual content to end users, and to allow those users to make additional reproductions on their own devices. Each time audiovisual content is reproduced by a television broadcaster or a service or their users, so is the music contained in that content. Television broadcasters and audiovisual services derive significant value from these copies, and they should, accordingly, obtain licences and pay royalties for the copies they make.
This is a new line of business for CMRRA and we are very excited to license audiovisual broadcasting and distribution in much the same way we have licensed radio stations for years with our hugely successful ‘broadcast mechanical’ tariff. For audiovisual broadcasting and distribution, CMRRA has filed the following tariffs to license post-synchronization reproduction:
- Music Videos Tariff, proposed beginning in 2014, for the streaming and downloading of music videos by online music services;
- Commercial Television Tariff, proposed beginning in 2015, for the reproduction of audiovisual content by television broadcasters;
- CBC Television Tariff, proposed beginning in 2016, for the reproduction of audiovisual content by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada’s national public broadcaster; and
- Online Audiovisual Services Tariff, proposed beginning in 2016, for audiovisual services that deliver content to Canadian consumers through non-traditional means, including via the internet. That includes video-on-demand and “over-the-top” services as well as other services that offer users the ability to stream or download films, TV programs, music videos, user-generated content, and other audiovisual material.
Further to our update from the fall, CMRRA recently extended each of these proposed tariffs for application through until the end of 2017. In December the Supreme Court of Canada reaffirmed the legal basis for these rights in their decision in CBC v SODRAC, a case that CMRRA intervened in on behalf of rightsholders. Now we look forward to going before the Copyright Board of Canada to advocate on behalf of copyright owners to set royalty rates for the value of these rights in Canada. Once certified, each tariff will take effect as of January 1 of the year for which it was first proposed, as far back as 2014 for our Music Videos Tariff. In addition to pursuing the certification of these proposed tariffs, CMRRA will, where possible, negotiate direct licensing agreements with any broadcaster or audiovisual service. For more information on how to affiliate for these new lines of business, please contact Margaret McGuffin at email@example.com.
CMRRA continues to wait for decisions for the Commercial Radio Tariff and the Online Music Services Tariff. In the fall of 2013 we went before the Copyright Board in two consecutive back-to-back hearings to advocate about the value of those rights in Canada, and to update our existing royalty rates for different uses of our publishers’ musical works. We look forward to the Copyright Board’s decision on those proceedings for an updated set of rates for reproductions of musical works by commercial radio stations and online music services.
The staff and Board at CMRRA hope you’ll share our sense of excitement as we move forward with all of these new developments in 2016. Our goal, as always, is to realize the full economic value for the use of music publisher client’s catalogues, and to provide that value directly to them in a transparent fashion. With our new audiovisual line of business, the approaching updates to our tariffs, and the increased implementation of LDS, we know that 2016 will be an important year for CMRRA and music publishers.