RINGTONE TARIFFS AUTHORIZED UNDER CANADIAN COPYRIGHT ACT

The Federal Court of Appeal has affirmed the Copyright Board of Canada’s decision that cell phone ringtone transmissions are public communications falling within the scope of paragraph 3(1)(f) of Canada’s Copyright Act. As a result, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) may properly collect a tariff on ringtone royalties. The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear an appeal of this decision.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

How are the terms ‘musical’ and ‘telecommunication' defined in this context?
How did the Court view the Board’s interpretation of the Copyright Act’s reference to ‘communication’ in this context?
What view did the Court take with regard to the ringtones satisfying the Copyright Act’s requirement that the communication be ‘to the public’?

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