Senators want to end dysfunction and outdated practices at the Copyright Board of Canada that are threatening Canada’s cultural sector and could be imposing uncertainty on businesses wanting to use copyrighted material.
The Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce presented its report, Copyright Board: A rationale for urgent review, on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at a press conference at Ottawa’s Arts Court.
The committee is calling for a thorough, in-depth examination of the Copyright Board’s mandate, practices and resources to be conducted next year.
“Long delays in setting tariffs jeopardize the vibrancy of Canada’s cultural sector and related businesses. A thorough review of the Copyright Board of Canada is needed to determine the cause of these long delays, ” said Senator Joseph A. Day, deputy chair of the committee.
The Copyright Board is the federal regulator that sets the tariffs, or fees, that businesses pay to artists for the use of their copyrighted work when the collection of tariffs has been assigned to a collective society like the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada.
The estimated average length of time for the board to make decision on a tariff is seven years, University of Ottawa Professor Jeremy de Beer told the committee last month.
“We’re trying to draw attention to a lingering problem that affects two important sectors of the Canadian economy and society – its rich and vibrant cultural sector and its vital business world,” said committee member Senator Douglas Black.
The committee recommends that the review of the Copyright Board should be done as part of the statutory five-year review of the Copyright Act, scheduled for 2017. The review should be performed by a committee of the Senate, the House of Commons or both.
*Please note that as of July 31, 2022, the name of the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce was changed to the Senate Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy. More information about this change can be found here.