Area of Law: Intellectual Property
Answer # 321
Royalties, tariffs and other feesRegion: Ontario Answer # 321
Royalties and tariffs are fees that are paid to copyright owners by people who first use the copyrighted works. When someone other than the copyright owner publicly uses or sells the work, they must pay a royalty to the copyright owner as a commission for the use or first sale. However, if you hold a private performance of someone else’s work, such as playing a song in your home, you will not have to pay a royalty.
Tariffs are standard charges that copyright users must pay to use certain copyrighted works. For example, tariffs are paid by cable companies to rebroadcast television programs. The Copyright Board of Canada is a federal tribunal that was established to regulate tariffs.
If you want to use someone else’s work but you cannot locate the owner of the copyright, you can apply to the Copyright Board for permission to use the work. The Copyright Board will probably charge you a fee and keep that fee for the owner until he or she is found.
It can be very difficult for copyright owners to collect these fees. To solve this problem, many authors or creators join a collective. Collectives grant permission for people to use the works that are owned by their members. Collectives collect royalties for their members. There are many collectives that cover all different types of works, however, most common are for music performance rights, and mechanical reproduction rights. An example of a collective is ACTRA Performers’ Rights Society.
For more information and to obtain a list of Canadian collectives visit the Copyright Board of Canada.
For more information about copyrights, refer to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
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