FAQ - Private Copying
What is meant by the term “private copying”?
A "private copy" is a copy of a sound recording, or a substantial part of a musical work, of recorded music that is made by an individual for his or her own personal use. A copy made for someone else or for any purpose other than the copier's own use is not a private copy. In Canada, private copying is legal and does not infringe copyright. It is because, in exchange, copyright holders in recorded music have a right to receive remuneration from the manufacturers and importers of blank audio recording media (as per CPCC web-site.)
What is the CPCC?
The Canadian Private Copying Collective is the non-profit agency charged with collecting and distributing monies received from the manufacturers and importers of blank audio recording media. Established in 1999, CPCC is an umbrella organization that represents songwriters, recording artists, music publishers and record companies. Payment of private copying royalties is not made by CPCC directly but are routed through the CPCC’s member collectives (e.g., SOCAN, SODRAC) and their constituent groups.
What do I have to do to become eligible to receive Private Copying royalties as a songwriter, composer or music publisher?
First, you must contractually assign your private copying right in order to become eligible. All new SOCAN members have the option to assign this right to SOCAN, grant SOCAN the right to collect these royalties on their behalf.
Next, you must complete a Letter of Direction for all works in your catalogue. The Letter of Direction tells us how you want your private-copying shares paid (e.g., pay writer and publisher shares to the publisher). A Letter of Direction can be mailed to you or you can print off the PDF version from the SOCAN website.
I am also a member of SODRAC or CMRRA: If I have assigned the private copying right to one of these organizations as well as to SOCAN, what should I do?
You can only assign your interest in a work to one collective. You must examine both agreements that you have signed. The earlier of the two dates of signing should determine which collective currently administers your private copying right. If you're uncertain, speak with SOCAN and SODRAC or CMRRA to determine which collective should act on your behalf.
Once I sign the private copying agreement with SOCAN, will you administer all my works?
Yes. When you sign as a writer, a publisher or both, private copying royalties for your share of all eligible works will flow to you through SOCAN.
Does the private copying right exist in many other countries?
Yes. Many countries around the world have similar laws in place, including most G-7 and European Union members. The major exception is the United Kingdom. The U.S. has a similar right but it applies a levy to certain digital media only (e.g. DAT).
Will I earn royalties from other countries for private copying?
SOCAN members who sign the agreement granting SOCAN the right to administer the private copying right on their behalf will be in a position to earn royalties from other countries that also recognize the private copying right, through SOCAN’s agreements with societies in those territories.
When can I expect to receive payment of private copying distributions?
A SOCAN distribution of private copying royalties occurs as part of our quarterly distributions, once we receive our share of royalties from the CPCC.