How are copyright royalties established in Canada? What is the tariff-setting process? How long does it take? What has been written about it? These are just some of the questions answered in my new empirical review of copyright tariff setting.
The process of setting copyright tariffs in Canada is extremely important. The economic value of royalties set through this process is estimated at over $400 million per year. Some of the most recent and important Supreme Court decisions on copyright law originated from copyright tariff-setting proceedings. The Copyright Board of Canada, the tribunal charged with administering the process, is on the front lines of copyright policy. Copyright tariff-setting greatly impacts business issues around online music streaming, internet service provider liability, levies on iPods and other devices, peer-to-peer file sharing, radio and television broadcasting, access to educational materials, and much more. Copyright tariff setting is a key part of Canada’s cultural policy framework, as well as industrial and technology policy too.
So it may be surprising that, until now, there has never been rigorous empirical analysis of Canada’s copyright tariff-setting process. My study for the first time synthesizes the existing work on this topic, schematically maps how tariff-setting happens; develops a methodology for empirical analysis; and collects and analyses data to begin measuring the time this process takes. My empirical research findings deliver unique understanding of Canada’s tariff-setting procedures, enabling more informed debate about copyright issues, and helping policymakers as well as the Board to better respond to the needs and concerns of copyright stakeholders.
According to my data, 852 different tariffs were certified by the Copyright Board in respect of the 15-year period between and including 1999-2013. There are 209 pending tariffs that were proposed for that period but have not yet been certified. The certified tariffs took an average of 3.5 years to certify after filing. The average pending tariff has been outstanding for 5.3 years since filing as of March 31, 2015. On average, tariffs are certified 2.2 years after the beginning of the year in which they become applicable, which is in effect a period of retroactivity. The standard deviation in the time from proposal filing to tariff certification is 2 years. A hearing was held in 28% of tariff proceedings. The average time from proposal filing to a hearing in those proceedings was just over 3 years. The average time from a hearing to tariff certification was almost 1.3 years.
Download and read the English version and French version of my study here for full analysis of these statistics and related issues. The peer-reviewed version of the paper is forthcoming in the Copyright Journal of the USA.
Check out the infographic accompanying my submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade, and Commerce