TORONTO, Jan. 10 /CNW/ - EMI Music Canada Inc., Sony Music Entertainment
Canada Inc., Universal Music Canada Inc. and Warner Music Canada Co.
have reached an agreement to pay songwriters and music publishers for
outstanding "pending list" claims and to resolve a proposed class
The current music licensing system allows for recordings to be issued
without preclearance from copyright owners but subject to licensing
agreements with CMRRA and SODRAC, who represent most publishers and
songwriters. The vast majority of royalties owing for such sales have
always been and will continue to be paid promptly by the record labels.
The proposed agreement settles all alleged copyright infringement
liability related to that small minority of unlicenced works that have
accumulated over the years. The proposed agreement also establishes a
new mechanism that will expedite future payments of mechanical
royalties to music rights holders.
"The major record labels are to be commended for their efforts in
resolving this matter," said Jon Foreman, a partner at Harrison Pensa
LLP and co-counsel for the plaintiff. "This agreement reflects the
respect the major record labels have for their unpaid rights holders.
This is a very good result for songwriters and music publishers."
"This is a very positive outcome for all parties," said Graham
Henderson, President, Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA),
on behalf of EMI Music Canada, Sony Music Entertainment Canada,
Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. "I commend the counsel
representing rights holders and the major record labels for their
constructive approach in reaching an agreement and their diligence in
working through highly complex issues."
"In this case, copyright owners have been well-served by a timely and
reasonable resolution of a complex problem. We look forward to the
distribution of the outstanding payments in accordance with the
settlement," said plaintiff's counsel Paul Bates of Bates Barristers.
Under the agreement, the record labels will pay approximately $45
million to resolve all disputed claims related to their past music
releases in audio and video formats and to settle a copyright
infringement class action lawsuit commenced in 2008. The settlement is
a compromise of disputed claims and is not an admission of liability or
wrongdoing by the record labels. The agreement is subject to approval
by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
The agreement was arrived at with the active participation of the two
Canadian licensing collectives, the Canadian Musical Reproduction
Rights Agency (CMRRA), and Société du droit de reproduction des
auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs au Canada (SODRAC).
David Basskin, the President and CEO of CMRRA, said, "This agreement
with the four major labels resolves all outstanding pending list
claims. EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner are ensuring that the net
result is more money for songwriters and music publishers. It's a win
Alain Lauzon, the General Manager of SODRAC, commented, "Equally welcome
will be the creation of a new licensing system that will keep the
pending list problem from building up again. This solution has been
needed for many years."
Songwriters and publishers whose works are on the pending lists are
represented by Jonathan Foreman of Harrison Pensa LLP and Paul Bates of
Bates Barristers. Additional information about the settlement can be
found at www.pendinglistssettlement.com.
SOURCE Harrison Pensa LLP