Published Dec 24, 2010While musicians and record companies make money off each song that is legally downloaded via music services like iTunes, they get nothing when consumers listen to a 30-second preview of a track. If all goes according to the Canadian music industry's plan, however, the Supreme Court of Canada may change how royalties are distributed for certain song samples.
CBC reports that the Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear a case that will figure out if song previews are eligible for royalties the same way as if a tune is spun on the radio. The case was filed by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), who are suing Rogers and Bell Canada, among other communication companies, for letting consumers sample songs without compensating the record companies and its artists.
An October 2007 ruling from the Copyright Board of Canada said that 30-second previews downloaded off the Web don't break copyright laws and weren't subject to royalties. Music producers challenged the decision and went to the Federal Court of Appeal, but the case was turned down.
No date has been set for the latest case, but this could be a landmark decision in how musician royalties are distributed and collected in Canada.