The decision of the Board on SOCAN Tariff 22.A (Internet – Online Music Services) for the years 1996-2006 will be released tomorrow. It will state:Translation:
"For the following reasons, we have decided to deal at this time only with those uses that are targeted in CSI – Online Music. First, this item will, in all likelihood, generate the bulk of Tariff 22 royalties. Second, dealing with the other uses targeted in Tariff 22 raises administrative and wording issues that will require extensive consultations with the parties. The tariff for these uses will be certified at a later date. That being said, for the sake of convenience and coherence, the descriptive and analytical parts of these reasons are written as if we were dealing with all of proposed Tariff 22."
You will be notified as soon as the decision is posted on the Board's Web site.
It looks like the decision will deal fully ONLY with the first item of SOCAN’s tariff - i.e. insofar as it concerns online music sites from which music can accessed through permanent downloads, limited downloads and on-demand streams. In other words, this is only one of SOCAN’s shopping list of seven fields. It looks like webcasting, game sites, and other uses are not yet ready for prime time - after 12 years of effort and one trip already to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Look tomorrow in particular for what the Board has to say about:
1. Whether there is a performance or communication to the public at all (as contrasted to reproduction, wherein SOCAN has no rights);
2. Recent American case law that held that ASCAP cannot collect for downloads;
3. If a tariff is awarded to SOCAN for some or all of this activity in its item #1, as today’s communication suggests, how much more will Canadians have to pay than Americans for the same product(s) and how much of the money raised will actually remain in Canada for the benefit of Canadian artists;
4. Multiple payments to the same parties for the same transaction; and,
5. Last, and by no means least, the question of retroactive application of this 12 year old proposed tariff that will apparently cover the period of 1996-2006.
In any event, Judge Vancise seems to be making good on his goal of getting decisions out in six months - even if it’s only going to be a partial decision in this instance. This hearing took place last April/May.