CMRRA applauds the decision of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development to assess the operations of the Copyright Board of Canada via consultation with stakeholders. CMRRA filed a submission on September 29 that focused on improving the efficiency of the Board’s processes and the timeliness and predictability of its decisions.
The increasing lengths of time required for the Board to set tariffs shows that the Board is ill-equipped to handle the needs of an increasingly sophisticated and fast-paced market such as digital music. CMRRA has the option of filing tariffs with the Board to set the royalties payable for certain reproductions of musical works, including by online music services and commercial radio broadcasters.
The Board’s ability to render timely decisions following each hearing has diminished severely over time. The CSI Online Music Services Tariff for the years 2011-2013 was initially filed in March 2010, the hearing before the Board concluded in November 2013, and oral arguments were made to the Board in March 2014. However, the Board delivered its decision on this tariff only very recently, on August 25, 2017, more than 45 months since the beginning of the hearing.
While awaiting the Board’s decision, CMRRA has had the advantage of being able to privately negotiate licensing agreements with services. The ability to negotiate directly has allowed CMRRA to work with music users to find solutions that benefit all stakeholders in a balanced way. CMRRA does, however, value a well functioning Board process and we look forward to working with the Canadian government during this review process.