Copyright owners sue XM Radio Canada


According to the Canadian Press, the music copyright holders, representing both artists and composers, say they didn’t get royalty payments due by July 31st and the owner of XM Radio Canada has indicated it won’t make any payments until next year. The copyright holders have now sued to block the satellite radio company from using their material.

Artists are represented by the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (CMRRA), the counterpart to SoundExchange in the US, and composers/publishers by the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC), the equivalent of BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. Their joint venture, CMRRA/SODRAC Inc. (CSI) has filed the lawsuit against XM Radio Canada’s parent company, Canadian Satellite Radio Inc. (CSR).

The Copyright Board of Canada ruled in April on rates that both XM Radio Canada and Sirius Satellite Radio-Canada (unlike in the US, they are still separate companies) must pay for royalties due back to 2005. The Copyright Board ruling estimated that payments due for 2006 would total about $1 million, increasing through rapid growth of satellite radio to about $10 million in 2009.

The Canadian Press report said court documents alleged that XM Radio Canada was required to pay royalties by July 31st, but did not do so. CSI alleges that CSR has indicated it will pay no royalties until 2010. There has so far been no comment from XM Radio Canada’s parent company, which is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.