Laurie Gelbloom, CMRRA’s Legal Counsel shared with us her passion and proudest accomplishments while fighting for fair representation for creators and songwriters in the music industry and the importance that music plays in her life.
You are Legal Counsel at CMRRA, tell us a little more about what that means!
As Counsel, I handle a wide variety of matters, including oversight of CMRRA’s tariff proceedings before the Copyright Board, copyright enforcement, managing litigation proceedings, providing advice to Human Resources, advising on various licensing activities, ensuring corporate governance compliance, and reviewing of all CMRRA’s contracts. I also represent CMRRA as a Director of CMRRA-Sodrac Inc. (CSI), which is the settlement administrator in a Canadian class action regarding unpaid mechanical and video royalties.
You have been part of CMRRA since January 2018, can you tell me what you consider your proudest accomplishment to date?
That is a hard question because my job covers such broad ground. As a result, I have worked collaboratively with many of the departments at CMRRA, which I have particularly enjoyed. Whenever I am able to positively contribute to the organization by providing sound legal advice or working with CMRRA colleagues to find workable solutions which meet CMRRA’s legal requirements, I feel a real sense of personal satisfaction.
Prior to working at CMRRA, you worked at the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) for approximately 14 years! What lead you to music industry law?
Early on, I knew I wanted to pair my love of the arts with my legal training. Initially, I worked in the book publishing industry and in the film and tv industry before landing at the Canadian Private Copying Collective. At the CPCC, I became immersed in the music industry, specifically in ensuring that music rights holders are compensated for the private copies of their work. I also became familiar with the various music collectives that were members of CPCC, including CMRRA. While at CPCC, I also had the opportunity to provide legal services to CMRRA on a part-time basis. I was thrilled to be able to seamlessly transfer my knowledge and skills gained by working as General Counsel to CPCC to working at CMRRA.
How would you describe your relationship with music today?
Music has always brought joy into my life. Growing up, I played piano and cello for about 10 years (coincidently having had the same piano and cello teachers as Veronica Syrtash) and was immersed in the world of classical music. Thereafter, my love of music grew to include all kinds of music, from soul to rock, pop, and hip hop. My daughters brought even more music into my life as they were both competitive dancers for many years and they keep me up to date with the current music scene. I love discovering new artists as well as listening to the music I grew up with.
What legal proceedings are you currently working on for CMRRA?
At present, we are in the midst of two proceedings before the Copyright Board of Canada – one relating to the reproduction of musical works by online music services and the other by satellite radio stations.
Of note, in May 2021, we were involved in a hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada on the issue of the enforceability of Tariffs approved by the Copyright Board. CMRRA, together with the Canadian Retransmission Collective, Connect Music Licensing Service Inc. and SOPROQ, appeared as an intervenor with respect to the appeal of the Federal Court of Appeal’s York University vs. Access Copyright decision. At issue was whether users of music can opt out of Tariffs that have been approved by the Copyright Board.
Our involvement was vital as we were able to provide the Supreme Court with a better understanding of the impact of the Federal Court of Appeal decision on the music industry. Personally, I found the experience to be very interesting, and I’m excited to be working with an organization whose continued advocacy efforts for the music publishing industry extend all the way to Supreme Court proceedings. We are currently waiting on the decision of the Supreme Court.
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