Reporting International Performances

SOCAN distributes royalties collected by international performing rights organizations (PROs) around the world through a system of reciprocal agreements. This means that SOCAN collects and distributes royalties for members of international societies in Canada, and international PROs  collect and distribute royalties on behalf of SOCAN members in their territories. Royalties collected by an international PRO are subject to the copyright laws, tariffs and distribution rules in its territory, meaning that not all of them pay on the same types of performances, nor use the same methods and formulas to reach a royalty payment.  SOCAN distributes international royalties quarterly, coinciding with its distribution of royalties from domestic performances. In some cases, payments will include performances from the previous year; however in other cases, royalties may be applicable to performances dating back two, three, or four-plus years, depending on the territories and the distribution practices of the foreign PROs.

How do international PROs know how to pay on my song?

When you register your songs with SOCAN, they are uploaded to an international database called CIS-Net. International PROs refer to this database to obtain registrations for songs they may not have in their system already. If you have signed with a publisher with international sub-publishing agreements, generally the sub-publishers will register your songs directly with the PRO in each territory. However in the absence of these agreements, CIS-Net allows international access to your registration information. 

I think my songs have been performed internationally – what do I need to do?

First, make sure you have registered your songs with SOCAN. If they have been registered, then find out how (radio, TV, commercial, etc.), when (first airdate), and where (country of performance) it was used.  You can refer to this document and scroll down to page 11 to see a chart of what and how the Top 12 international PROs pay on. If your type of performance appears to be payable in the applicable territory, or if your type of performance and/or territory is not listed, please follow the instructions below on what to tell SOCAN.

What do I need to tell SOCAN?

Often, you will receive your royalties for international performances without having to notify SOCAN. However, having the following information on hand will ensure we have what we need to confirm payment is received, and if we don’t receive it, be able to file an effective claim with the relevant society.

What information SOCAN needs depends on the type of use, but in all cases it’s imperative the song in question has already been registered with SOCAN (with the exception of score music for film/TV – see below):

                  Radio:

  • Date(s) of performance (hard dates are best, but approximate can be useful)
  • Name of song (s) performed as well as any AKAs
  • Country/territory of performance
  • Station name and type

*Note that if the relevant society pays on a sample basis for the radio performance type in question, your song may have aired but not been captured for distribution.

                  Concert:  

  • A completed NLMP form (available on our website by following the NLMP link), and/or a copy of the show contract
  • A set list
  • Exception:  for New Classical concerts, a programme from the concert will usually suffice in place of an NLMP and set list.
  • Country/territory of use

                  TV/Film:

  • Ensure the cue sheet includes the correct information for your song(s) or score, is signed by the producer, and has been submitted to the relevant PRO in the territory of use. If you have a copy of the cue sheet you can e-mail it to SOCAN, and we can then send it to the relevant PROs. If the program or film is airing in the USA, ensure that your U.S. PRO affiliation is indicated on the cue sheet (i.e. SOCAN/BMI, SOCAN/ASCAP, or SOCAN/SESAC), and that your publisher (if applicable) has the same U.S. PRO affiliation
  • The songs are registered, if they are not score (score does not require registration)
  • Any broadcast or airplay info (countries, stations, release/air dates, time of day broadcast, etc.)
  • Any foreign title translations (film, series, episode)

                  Advertisements:

  • Copy of the commercial (a YouTube link is fine)
  • First airdate
  • Copy of the media buy schedule (optional, but encouraged). You can usually obtain one from the agency that licensed
  • Territory(s) of use
  • MP3 copy of the song included in the commercial
  • Stations/type of media (less important if you have already provided a media buy schedule)                  

Please note that SOCAN does not distribute on advertisements (of one minute duration or less)
in Canada at this time.

What is SOCAN’s claim process?

Once we receive notification from a member that they have not been paid for a use, we check that the type of performance being reported is payable in the applicable territory. Different territories have different distribution rules and not all performances may be payable. If the use appears to be payable, we then check to see if we have received payments from the period covering the use’s performance date from that PRO. Most international PROs pay us at least one quarter behind our own distributions, and some, especially the smaller ones, may only pay us once every year or less.

If the performance should have been paid and the time frame it was due has passed, or if it’s not clear whether the PRO pays on that particular performance type, we then submit a claim with that PRO. We send the relevant information provided by the member, along with a copy of the work registration, and request for payment. We continue to follow up on these claims until either payment is received, or we receive a satisfactory answer as to why it cannot be paid from the PRO.

How far back can I claim royalties?

This depends on the policies of the PRO in the territory of use. However, three years is the standard set by CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers). The sooner you notify SOCAN of a potentially missed payment, the better the chances are we can recover those royalties for you.

To whom at SOCAN do I report international performances?

You can contact the SOCAN Membership department to report international performances, or any other query related to your SOCAN membership, at 1-866-307-6226, or members@socan.ca.