General Information about SOCAN & Re:Sound Fees
These materials are adapted from materials developed and owned by The University of British Columbia (the “UBC Materials”), and are used with consent of The University of British Columbia (“UBC”). They are provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. UBC takes no responsibility or liability for any use of these materials, or the UBC Materials, including any changes or modifications made to the UBC Materials.
The Copyright Act allows you to play a sound recording or live radio broadcasts in class as long as it is for educational or training purposes, not for profit, on Queen's premises and before an audience consisting primarily of students, faculty or any person who is directly responsible for setting a curriculum for Queen's. However, if you want to use music for non-educational purposes, for example, for background music at a conference or in an athletic facility, a licence (or licences) must be obtained from a copyright collective (SOCAN or Re:Sound).
Queen's is required to pay SOCAN and/or Re:Sound tariffs when it rents out its facilities (e.g. rooms, gardens, halls, etc.) for events that play music. The cost of such fees can be passed onto the renter of the premises. This document provides some general information about SOCAN and Re:Sound fees and potential applicability of these fees to Queen's facilities.
What is the Difference between SOCAN & Re:Sound?
SOCAN and Re:Sound represent different rightsholders. SOCAN represents songwriters and music publishers, while Re:Sound represents performers and record companies. This means that, if you are playing recorded music on Campus, you may have to pay both SOCAN and Re:Sound.
Applicable SOCAN Tariffs
SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) requires users of music to obtain a SOCAN licence to perform, or authorize others to perform, copyright music in public. Depending on the category a music user falls under, if at all, license fee may be payable on a per-event or annual basis. SOCAN currently monitors and imposes 49 different Tariffs, which have been approved by the Copyright Board of Canada.
The relevant tariff for the purposes of Queen's facility rentals for weddings, events, meeting and conventions, is Tariff 8 – Receptions, Conventions, Assemblies and Fashion Shows. This is a per-event fee and ranges from $20.56 to $87.40 (without dancing) and $41.13 to $174.79 (with dancing), based on room capacity (seating and standing) as follows:
|Room Capacity (Seating and Standing)||Fee Without Dancing||Fee With Dancing|
As stated on the SOCAN website and on its forms, the Room Capacity number to use should be the capacity authorized under the establishment’s liquor license or other document issued by a competent authority for that type of establishment (eg. pursuant to fire & safety regulations).
There may be other SOCAN Tariffs that may be applicable to Queen's facilities and related organizations or establishments depending on the way the music will be performed, for example:
- Tariff 15A – Background Music
- Tariff 21 – Recreational Facilities Operated by a Municipality, School, College, University, Agricultural Society or Similar Community Organizations
A current list of all approved tariffs is available on the SOCAN website.
Applicable Re:Sound Tariffs
Re:Sound requires users of music to obtain a Re:Sound licence to perform, or authorize others to perform, recorded copyright music in public.
The relevant tariff for the purposes of Queen's facility rentals for weddings, events, meeting and conventions, is Tariff 5.B - Receptions, Conventions, Assemblies and Fashion shows. Like with the SOCAN tariff, this is a per-event fee and ranges from $9.25 to $39.33 (without dancing) and $18.51 to $78.66 (with dancing), based on room capacity (seating and standing) as follows:
|Room Capacity (Seating and Standing)||Fee Without Dancing||Fee With Dancing|
The Room Capacity number used for the Re:Sound Tariff should be the same number as is being used to calculate the SOCAN tariff (the capacity authorized under the establishment’s liquor license or other document issued by a competent authority for that type of establishment [eg. pursuant to fire & safety regulations]).
There may be other Re:Sound Tariffs that may be applicable to Queen's facilities and related organizations or establishments depending on the way the music will be performed, for example:
- Tariff 6.B - Use of Recorded Music in to Accompany Physical Activities
- Tariff No. 3 - Use and Supply of Background Music
A list of all currently approved (and proposed) tariffs is available on the Re:Sound website.
Educational institutions are not generally exempt from the Tariffs imposed by SOCAN and Re:Sound. There are some limited exceptions that may apply to educational institutions, as described below.
The following performances are allowed, if performed on Queen's premises for educational or training purposes and not for profit, before an audience consisting primarily of students, faculty or any person who is directly responsible for setting a curriculum for Queen's:
- the live performance in public, primarily by Queen's students, of a work;
- the performance in public of a sound recording of a work or performer’s performance that is embodied in a sound recording (i.e. playing music in a classroom setting); and/or
- the performance in public of a work at the time of its communication to the public by telecommunication.
Also, pursuant to Section 69(2) of the current Copyright Act, if you have radio playing from a traditional radio receiving set, in any place other than a theatre for which admission is paid, you do not need to pay an additional tariff (as the radio station has paid SOCAN under Tariff 1A or 1B):
Radio performances in places other than theatres
In respect of public performances by means of any radio receiving set in any place other than a theatre that is ordinarily and regularly used for entertainments to which an admission charge is made, no royalties shall be collectable from the owner or user of the radio receiving set, but the Board shall, in so far as possible, provide for the collection in advance from radio broadcasting stations of royalties appropriate to the conditions produced by the provisions of this subsection and shall fix the amount of the same.
The exception under Section 69(2) is limited to traditional radio sets, and does not extend to internet radio. Therefore, if Queen's hosts an event that is subject to a SOCAN tariff at which it plays internet radio, the SOCAN fees would still apply.
There may also be exceptions for playing music at some types of charitable or religious events but specific conditions need to be met. These exemptions are set out in Section 32.2 and 32.3 of the current Copyright Act, which states:
Section 32.2 (3)
No religious organization or institution, educational institution and no charitable or fraternal organization shall be held liable to pay any compensation for doing any of the following acts in furtherance of a religious, educational or charitable object:
(a) the live performance in public of a musical work;
(b) the performance in public of a sound recording embodying a musical work or a performer’s performance of a musical work; or
(c) the performance in public of a communication signal carrying
(i) the live performance in public of a musical work, or
(ii) a sound recording embodying a musical work or a performer’s performance of a musical work.
32.3 For the purposes of sections 29 to 32.2, an act that does not infringe copyright does not give rise to a right to remuneration conferred by section 19.
Specifically, Section 19 of the current Copyright Act discusses right to equitable remuneration for sound recording performed in or communicated to the public by way of royalties or license fees paid (eg. those administered by SOCAN).
Therefore, playing music at a charitable event can be exempt from SOCAN or Re:Sound tariffs if the organization performing the music is a charitable organization and the performance furthers a charitable object. However, the performance of a musical work at a benefit where all profits go to charity does not necessarily constitute a performance in furtherance of a charitable object. There must be a closer link between the performance and the charitable object of the organization – they must be directly connected, or the performance must be incidental to the object. Some examples are performing music as part of a church service, an educational meeting with musical interpolations, and accompanying music of an orchestra at a Christmas dinner given to the poor.
Administration of SOCAN & Re:Sound Fees by Queen's
Queen's can pass the SOCAN and Re:Sound fees to the renter/users of the facilities by adding the SOCAN and Re:Sound fees to the final rental rate calculation, but Queen's retains the responsibility to pay such fees to SOCAN and to Re:Sound. Within Queen's facility rental forms, Queen's should ask questions such as whether the event will include music, what the source of music is (e.g. live music, recorded music, radio music) and whether dancing is involved, so Queen's can determine what the SOCAN and/or Re:Sound fee will be, and also include checkmarks for which facility or room is being rented, so that Queen's can determine room capacity.