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Broadcasters Denounce Labels' Copyright Demand

OTTAWA Canada (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The sky opened up in Ottawa Nov. 4th as members of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) adopted a resolution opposing the music labels’ demand for copyright payment at their annual general meeting.

What has broadcasters in a lather is a recently proposed reproduction right tariff by the Audio-Video Licensing Agency (AVLA) and the Société de gestion collective des droits des producteurs de phonogrammes et de vidéogrammes du Québec (SOPROQ). They are demanding annual payment for the right to make reproductions of recordings over the air.

The resolution states that, “the CAB will take all measures to publicly oppose this egregious and abusive demand by the record labels including taking action before Parliament, the Copyright Board and the courts.”

“Private radio broadcasters are deeply concerned about the attempt by the recording industry to recoup its losses by claiming additional payments for music played on the air,” said CAB president/CEO Glenn O’Farrell. “Our industry believes that this tariff proposal is a blatant abuse of the principles of the Copyright Act.”

The CAB points out that private radio broadcasters already pay a reproduction right. Well, yes the they pay publishers through the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA). However, they don’t pay the rights holders of recordings.

While Canadian broadcasters recently posted annual profits of $1.4 billion with a profit of 20%, and 76% of what is heard on Canada radio is, er, well, music, broadcasters’ fury at the proposal is understandable.

Labels have long waived reproduction rights—though not in Europe—with the understanding that radio airplay promotes and sells their products.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., singer/songwriters Lyle Lovett and Alice Peacock testified on Nov.13 before the Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of the musicFIRST (Fairness in Radio Starting Today) Coalition about the importance of royalties for recording artists on radio. They are asking the U.S. Congress to grant recording artists performance right which would require radio stations to pay royalties to recording artists when their music is played on the radio. –by Larry Leblanc