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Ressources

Your performers' rights

Copyright designates, in its broad sense, the rights that creators have over a creative work. In music, copyright concerns three types of creative expression: musical composition, musical interpretation, and sound recording, the respective rightholders being the songwriters, the performers and the record producers.

Careful! The law speaks of “droit d’auteur” even for performers, and not only for authors. You can find the list of all the copyrights that performers hold on their performances in section 15 of the Copyright Act (L.R.C. (1985), c. C-42).

A copyright collecting society is a society, generally non-profit, administered by rights holders (performers, authors, producers), which collectively manages the copyright entrusted by members it represents.

These societies were formed to deal with the impossibility for rights holders, such as performers, to give authorizations for each use of their music. Indeed, given the different uses that can be made of music (radios, streaming, public places, etc.) all over the world, it is often necessary that the authorizations can be obtained from a single entity, namely the collecting society. Thus, collecting societies manage authorizations to use the musical repertoire of their members with music users, and collect and redistribute to them the resulting royalties.

These collecting societies have also been set up to collectively defend and promote the rights of their members. This is one of the missions at the heart of Artisti’s activity: to protect, promote and preserve the rights of performers in Canada.

Note: a collecting society, which manages copyright, is to be distinguished from a union, such as the Union des Artistes, for example, which defends the working conditions of its members.

The rights to remuneration, which are the right to equitable remuneration and to remuneration for private copying, relate to types of exploitation for which music users do not need to ask performers for their authorizations, but they however, have an obligation to pay royalties for the uses they make. The royalties stemming from these remuneration rights can only be collected through a collecting society such as Artisti.

Unlike your rights to remuneration, exclusive rights allow you to authorize or not certain uses of your musical performances. You can either give these authorizations directly to a user in return for remuneration, or entrust these rights to an intermediary like Artisti, who will then be responsible for giving the necessary authorizations to the exploitation of your performances to producers of sound recordings, record labels or online music services, for example.

If you entrust your exclusive rights to a collective society, it will be this society which will negotiate a license or will obtain a tariff from the Copyright Board of Canada fixing the amount of the royalties you will receive for the various exploitations made of your music.

For uses where your authorization is not required (i.e. for your rights to remuneration), the collecting societies can either enter into a license setting out the royalties to be paid with the users or have them established by the Copyright Board of Canada which certifies the tariffs. The Copyright Board is an administrative tribunal that will hear evidence submitted by music users and collecting societies and then make a decision on the royalties to be paid by users.

It is the society Re:sound, of which Artisti is a member, which files the tariffs to be paid for equitable remuneration, targeting various types of users: radio stations, pay audio, satellite radios, gym clubs, nightclubs, restaurants, shops, etc.

For uses requiring your authorization (i.e. your incidental reproduction right or your exclusive rights), you can negotiate your own royalties for the various uses that are made, but as mentioned above, this may be prove impractical. Indeed, it would be, for example, laborious for an artist to negotiate individually with each radio station reproducing his music on a hard disk!

If you have entrusted your exclusive rights to a collecting society such as Artisti, Artisti will be the one who will negotiate your royalties or obtain a tariff from the Copyright Board of Canada. For example, Artisti files directly with the Board the tariffs for your incidental reproduction right or your exclusive rights.

You can find all the tariffs filed and approved by the Copyright Board on its website.

Artisti currently distributes 4 types of royalties, resulting from the types of copyright entrusted by its members when they join:

In Canada, the right to equitable remuneration refers to the right to be compensated when a sound recording of your performance is played in a public venue such as a restaurant, a bar, a nightclub or a hair salon, for example, or when it is broadcast on the radio or on the Internet.

But, be careful, in terms of Internet streaming: when one can choose when to listen to a song and what song to listen to, this streaming does not fall under equitable remuneration, but rather concerns your exclusive rights (see below).

In the past, while people were in the habit of making copies of sound recordings for their personal use, it was normally forbidden to copy music without authorization. Thus, a mechanism was introduced to legalize this practice while at the same time ensuring that the rights holders of the music being copied received compensation for these copies.

This mechanism provides that manufacturers and importers of blank audio recording media who benefit from this personal habit (through higher sales of blank audio recording media) pay royalties that are later distributed to performers à in compensation for the private copying of music.

Today, private copying royalties are 29¢ per blank CD. The royalties thus collected are then distributed to the societies representing the rights holders of the music, which then pay them to their members.

Incidental reproduction rights apply to copies (other than private copies!) that users make for convenience purposes, such as, amongst others, the copies made to facilitate the broadcast of your music in public or on the radio. For example, nowadays, radio stations prefer to copy your music to their hard drives rather than play CDs of your music as they did in the past. Another example: schools that want to use music excerpts in a class or for extracurricular activities often make copies to create music playlists.

To make such copies, users (in this case, radio stations or schools) would normally have to obtain your permission. Since it is very difficult for a performer to negotiate directly with each user who wants to make copies of his or her music, it is rather advantageous for that performer to entrust these rights to a collective society.

ARTISTI is the only collective society of performers in Canada to have both obtained tariffs certified by the Copyright Board of Canada in relation to incidental reproductions made by radio stations, and to have entered into an agreement with the Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec in relation to reproductions made in a school setting.

These refer to all the exclusive rights you have over your performances under the Copyright Act:  the rights of fixation, reproduction, distribution, making the performance available to the public or the rental of your music.

These rights represent important exploitations of your music. This concerns, for example, the authorization you give to put your music online on streaming platforms, or to reproduce your music on physical media such as a CD or vinyl or even to synchronize your music with an audio-visual work.

These are the rights that Artisti offers to administer for you. For more details on these rights, please refer to the explanatory note of our membership contract.

Which sound recordings are admissible?

To qualify for equitable remuneration :

  • the sound recording must have been published;

and

  • the maker of the recording, in the case of an individual, must have been a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a citizen or permanent resident of a Rome Convention country or a WPPT country at the date of the first fixation of the performance

or

  • the maker of the recording, in the case of a corporation, must have had its headquarters in Canada or a Rome Convention country or a WPPT country at the date of the first fixation of the performance

or

  • all of the fixations for the sound recording must have taken place in Canada, or a Rome Convention country or a WPPT country;

and

  • your performance must still be protected by copyright.

 

To qualify for private copying :

  • The sound recording of your performance must be that of a musical work

and

  • Your performance must still be protected by copyright

and

  • You must have been a Canadian citizen or permanent resident when your performance was originally fixed on the sound recording.

To qualify for royalties for its incidental reproduction, your performance must be vocal, fixed on a sound recording and it must still be protected by copyright.

Furthermore, the sound recording on which it has been integrated must:

  • Have been produced by a producer who, in the case of an individual, is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada or of a Rome Convention country, or a WPPT country at the date of the first fixation of the performance

or

  • Have been produced by a producer who, in the case of a corporation, must have had its headquarters in Canada or a Rome Convention country, or a WPPT country at the date of the first fixation of the performance

or

  • Have been published for the first time in Canada or a Rome Convention country, or a WPPT country in such a quantity as to satisfy the reasonable demands of the public

To qualify for royalties related to your exclusive rights, your performance must be fixed in a sound recording and must still be protected by copyright.

In addition, the sound recording on which it has been integrated must:

  • Have been produced by a producer who in the case of an individual, is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada or of a Rome Convention country or a WPPT country at the date of the first fixation of the performance.

or

  • Have been produced by a producer who, in the case of a corporation, must have had its headquarters in Canada or a Rome Convention country or a WPPT country at the date of the first fixation of the performance.

or

  • Have been published for the first time in Canada or a Rome Convention country or a WPPT country in such a quantity as to satisfy the reasonable demands of the public.

Artisti Management Policy

Publications

Submissions

On September 17, 2021, Artisti filed a brief to assert its position on the issues raised by artificial intelligence.

Artisti wanted to ensure that the performances of performers will remain protected regardless of whether they perform “products” generated by artificial intelligence. Indeed, the definition of “performance” found in section 2 of the Copyright Act clearly specifies that a performance is a performance of a work. Therefore, the rights of performers to their performances could be jeopardized if the “products” generated by artificial intelligence are not considered to be works within the meaning of the Law.

Thus, in the event that the government came to the conclusion that the production of artificial intelligence is not a “work” within the meaning of the law, Artisti asked the government to ensure that the definition of ” performance” found in the Copyright Act be adjusted accordingly in order to guarantee the protection of the performers’ performances of those production.

In parallel with Bill C-10, the federal government launched a major consultation on online intermediaries, in order to possibly modify the Copyright Act and ensure more equitable revenue sharing between the Web giants and Canadian creators. These online intermediaries concern data hosts as well as search engines or social networks, and also platforms such as Spotify or YouTube. Therefore, it is a key topic for many of our members, broadcasted on these platforms.

Artisti has submitted a brief at the end of May 2021 as part of this consultation, to ensure that the reform options planned by the government guarantee a system of fair remuneration for performers for the use of their music on these platforms.

As part of the examination of the regulatory framework for commercial radio, Artisti and Union des Artistes (UDA) jointly submitted their comments to the CRTC on March 30, 2021. These observations support the proposals made by ADISQ (in french), in particular on respecting French-speaking quotas on radio, a key issue for many of our members.

Our main demands include:

  1. More French-speaking vocal music over extended prime time hours, to encourage listening to local music from here.
  2. A dedicated space for music from emerging artists, new releases from established artists and more language diversity, to increase the discoverability of Quebec music as a whole.
  3. Put an end to the practice of abusive editing by radios, which are strictly used for the purpose of circumventing regulations.

As part of the public consultation on Canadian content in a digital world, Artisti filed a brief on November 24, 2016 to recommend that certain changes be made to the Copyright Act, including:

  1. the extension of the private copying regime to all media and digital audio devices allowing music to be copied;
  2. the extension of the exclusive rights and moral rights that have been granted to performers participating in sound recordings to performers participating in cinematographic works (movies, broadcasts, videos);
  3. the establishment of fair remuneration for the online use of performances, in accordance with the recommendations of the Fair Internet for performers movement.

As part of the public consultation on the renewal of Quebec’s cultural policy, Artisti filed a brief on August 24, 2016 in which it recommended that the payment of subsidies or financial assistance from Quebec be subject to the obligation to submit complete information regarding the participation of all performers with each of the sound recordings (also called tracks or soundtracks or titles) for which financing has been obtained and that the information thus obtained be accessible free of charge to the collective societies responsible for distributing the royalties to performers.

On September 14, 2015, Artisti and UDA jointly filed with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) their observations on French-speaking vocal music quotas applicable to the French-speaking commercial radio sector.

Artisti essentially explained that its members earn equitable remuneration royalties from the broadcasts of the sound recordings in which they participate on the airwaves of commercial radio. This is crucial income for them. French-speaking music broadcasting quotas therefore contribute to the support of French-speaking music artists.

Further, Artisti submitted that, if French-speaking music quotas were to be reduced, this should be done solely for the benefit of a local music quota (i.e. music from the province in which the station is located broadcasting station) in English or other languages.

UDA, the Guild and Artisti have issued comments on Bill C-32 (an act to amend the Copyright Act), denouncing in particular the fact that various exceptions appearing undermine the rights of performers, but also the fact that the bill does not give copyright owners any simple and practical means of enforcing their rights. In addition, the brief included demands for full exclusive rights to be granted to performers.