Copyright Board Canada

Minister’s Message

I am pleased to report progress made on making Canada a world-leading centre for innovation and science, helping create good, well-paying jobs, and strengthening and growing the middle class.

The work of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Portfolio includes promoting innovation and science; supporting the commercialization of more research and ideas; providing more Canadians with the skills to participate in a global and digital economy; helping small businesses grow through innovation, access to capital and trade; promoting increased tourism in Canada; and supporting scientific research and the integration of scientific considerations in our investment and policy choices.

This year, the Portfolio organizations continued their work to deliver on the Government’s Budget 2017 commitment to develop an Innovation and Skills Plan. The plan’s focus on people and addressing the changing nature of the economy is a focus for the Portfolio’s programs.

In 2016-17, the Copyright Board of Canada held hearings, issued decisions and certified tariffs related to the broadcasting of musical works, their communication to the public and their reproduction as well as to the private copying of recorded music. The Board also issued decisions and licences for the use of works when the copyright owner could not be located.

It is my pleasure to present the 2016-17 Departmental Results Report for the Copyright Board of Canada.

Minister’s Message

The Honourable Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Results at a glance

Fair decision-making processes provide proper incentives for the creation and use of copyrighted works. In pursuit of this outcome, the Board issued four major decisions in fiscal year 2016-17. The first decision dealt with the various rights that are used by the Canadian commercial radio stations when they broadcast. This case required the Board to provide its interpretation of several new exceptions set out in the Copyright Act and that came into force on November 7, 2012. The second decision involved the communication to the public by telecommunication of musical works by online audiovisual services such as Netflix. The third decision concerned the levy to be collected in 2017 on the sale of blank audio recording media in respect of private copying. The fourth was an interim decision dealing with the reconsideration of the SODRAC v. CBC 2012-2016 interim licence as well as an interim licence starting in April 2016.

The Board also issued six licences pursuant to the provisions of the Act that permit the use of published works when copyright owners cannot be located. As well, Board staff assisted a number of individuals and organizations requesting a licence to locate the copyright owner thereby facilitating the use of published works.

Furthermore, the Board completed the hearing of testimony and argument pertaining to the retransmission of distant television signals, an evolving area that the Board has not been required to address in a public hearing since 1991 and one in which the Board and the participating stakeholders have had to grapple with the potential effect of changing technology and viewer preferences. Nine collective societies as well as five broadcasting distribution undertakings were represented at the hearing, which started in January and March 2016.

Finally, 56 agreements were filed with the Board pursuant to section 70.5 of the Act.

For more information on the Board’s plans, priorities and results achieved, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.

2016-17 Actual Spending 2016-17 Actual FTEs
$3,095,728 16

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être

The Board is an economic regulatory body empowered to establish, either mandatorily or at the request of an interested party, the royalties to be paid for the use of copyrighted works, when the administration of such copyright is entrusted to a collective-administration society. The Board also has the right to supervise agreements between users and licensing bodies and issues licences when the copyright owner cannot be located.

Mandate and role

The responsibilities of the Copyright Board under the Copyright Act are to:

  • certify tariffs for
    • the public performance and the communication to the public by telecommunication of musical works and sound recordings;
    • the doing of any protected act mentioned in sections 3, 15, 18 and 21 of the Act, such as the reproduction of musical works, of sound recordings, of performances and of literary works; and,
    • the retransmission of distant television and radio signals or the reproduction and public performance by educational institutions, of radio or television news or news commentary programs and all other programs, for educational or training purposes.
  • set levies for the private copying of recorded musical works;
  • set royalties payable by a user to a collective society, when there is disagreement on the royalties or on the related terms and conditions;
  • rule on applications for non-exclusive licences to use published works, fixed performances, published sound recordings and fixed communication signals, when the copyright owner cannot be located;
  • examine agreements made between a collective society and a user which have been filed with the Board by either party, where the Commissioner of Competition considers that the agreement is contrary to the public interest;
  • receive such agreements with collective societies that are filed with it by any party to those agreements within 15 days of their conclusion;
  • determine compensation to be paid by a copyright owner to a person to stop her from performing formerly unprotected acts in countries that later join the Berne Convention, the Universal Convention or the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization; and,
  • conduct such studies with respect to the exercise of its powers as requested by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

For more general information about the Copyright Board, see the “Supplementary information” section of this report.