The debate on royalties for song downloads has been ongoing for over two years now. In what is being hailed as a landmark move that sets a standard for royalties paid to songwriters in music downloads, the Canadian Copyright Board approved a tariff for online music service.
McCarthy Tétrault Notes:
In the ruling, the Board held that in the case of permanent downloads, 7.9 per cent of the price of a song shall be given to copyright holders. Song downloads that require web-based subscriptions and on-demand music streaming shall have rates of 5.9 and 4.6 per cent of the cost of a monthly subscription, respectively. These rates will be applied retroactively from 2005 to 2007. By setting these standards, the Copyright Board prevents further haggling between online music stores and songwriters. The lack of a trade association appeared to be one of the reasons why the Board was asked to intervene and the uniformity and consistency of these rates should now put the issue to rest. However, some analysts in the industry question the timing of the decision since the Copyright Board will be ruling on broadcasting tariffs later this year. Given that these industry groups are competing for the same royalty money, it may have made more sense to hold off until the broadcasting tariff issue was resolved.