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May 05 2013

Copyright Board of Canada: “palpable error” in 15x inflated music tariffs

Michael Geist covers the Copyright Board of Canada admitting to having made a “palpable error” in accidentally super-inflating music company royalties well beyond the original decisions for reproduced music in movies intended for personal use:

The Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters had proposed a tiered tariff approach of a maximum of 2 cents per copy containing 30 minutes of music or more (less music would result in a lower tariff). The Copyright Board mistakenly established a tariff of three cents per copy, mistakenly treating three tiers as three cents. As the Board now notes:

CAFDE was seeking a rate of 2 cents per DVD copy containing over 30 minutes of SODRAC music; the Board’s interpretation leads to royalties that are 15 times higher or even more.

While SODRAC argued that the Board could not correct its error, the Board concluded that it could noting that this resulted in palpable error. Moreover, since the erroneous Board decision actually resulted in higher tariffs than those even requested by SODRAC, it also concluded that procedural fairness was breached. The Board has now suspended the tariff and advised that will issue a new decision in the future.

Emphasis mine.

Of course SODRAC tried to argue that it would be difficult to adjust the rates to correct levels — they were making money hand over fist from someone else’s work thanks to this… let’s say “oversight”, being exceedingly generous to the Copyright Board. The Copyright Board reverting the tariffs back to what CAFDE had originally demanded, would certainly be difficult for CAFDE. So good on the Copyright Board for suspending the tariffs altogether while they try to get their houses in order.

Bullshit like this is why the content middleman industry is simply galling to me, and why I simply refuse to accept anything they say at face value. Argue all you want about content CREATORS being due royalties for their works, but there’s no way in hell you’ll ever convince me that the virtual mobsters shaking down both the creators and the consumers have any claim to moral high ground.

Full decision is here (PDF).

1 comment

  1. 1
    leftwingfox

    Given that I’m usually the one defending copyright around these parts…

    I agree with you completely.

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