Consumer Protection and Collection Letter
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Obtaining Copyright Permission With A Collective Society

A collective society is an organization that administers the copyright of more than one copyright owner usually representing a certain sector of creators such as writers, musicians, etc.

A Collective Society is defined as a society, association or corporation that carries on the business of collective administration of copyright or of the remuneration right conferred by section 19 or 81 for the benefit of those who, by assignment, grant of licence (for a repertoire of works, performer’s performance, sound recordings or communication signals), appointment of it as their agent or otherwise, authorize it to act on their behalf in relation to that collective administration and distribution of royalties payable.

This article looks at the definition of collective societies pursuant to the Copyright Act.  Section 70.1 of the Copyright Act provides for the existence of collective societies to administer the rights of copyright owners. Members assign their reproduction right to CANCOPY, which has the resources to administer that right on their behalf.  A list of copyright collectives can be found on the Copyright Board’s website.

What is a “Collective Society”?

Section 70.1 of the Copyright Act provides for the existence of collective societies to administer the rights of copyright owners. Members assign their reproduction right to a copyright collective, which has the resources to administer that right on their behalf

Copyright collectives file proposed tariffs specifying the use and price for use which are then certified by the Copyright Board. The collection of the proposed tariffs may be entrusted to a third party by a collective society.  Section 2 of the Copyright Act provides that a collective society represents

“those who, by assignment, grant of licence, appointment of it as their agent or otherwise, authorize it to act on their behalf”.



Mechanical/Synchronization rights/musical recordings

These rights are administered by CMRRA and SODRAC (Quebec).  The Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (CMRRA) is a non-profit music licensing agency, which represents the vast majority of music copyright owners (usually called music publishers) doing business in Canada. On their behalf, CMRRA issues licenses to users of the reproduction right in copyrighted music known as mechanical or synchronization licences.

These licenses authorize the reproduction of music in CD’s and cassettes (usually called “mechanical licensing”) and in films, television programs and other audio-visual productions “synchronization licensing”). A synchronization license grants authority to reproduce a musical composition only. It does not grant authority to reproduce a master recording

Public Performance and telecommunication rights – SOCAN

SOCAN is the not-for-profit Canadian society that administers the performing right in musical works through an assignment of these rights by the copyright owners.

SOCAN is a performing rights society, the only one in Canada. SOCAN is a merger of the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada (CAPAC) and the Performing Rights Organization of Canada (PROCAN).

SOCAN’s role is to license the users of music in return for copyright fees for public performance of the music or the communication to the public of dramatical-musical or musical works. It then distributes these fees as royalties to SOCAN members in Canada and the thousands of foreign music copyright owners whose works the society also licenses in this country. SOCAN’s distributions reflect the use of music in Canada. If foreign music is performed, royalties will be paid to foreign copyright owners; if Canadian music is performed, royalties will go to Canadians. Foreign composers, authors and music publishers are protected through reciprocal agreements with counterpart societies in Canada and other countries.

Certification of tariffs does not specifically mention the right to authorize a performance to the public or the right to authorize a communication to the public by telecommunication. However, as SOCAN has exclusive rights to these rights, the Copyright Board can certify a tariff

Connect Music Licensing for Sound recordings and music video works –(formerly AVLA)

Connect Music Licensing is a copyright collective that administers the copyright (non-exclusive) for the owners of sound recordings or masters audio and music video recordings on behalf of the copyright owners consisting of record companies, independent labels, artists and producers. It licences the exhibition and duplication of music videos and the duplication of audio recordings for commercial use but not for sale. (E.g. television commercial, DJ’s). However, it is for use that is not for sale.  Connect Music Licensing also distributed royalties to its members for the communication, public performance or private copying of their eligible sound recordings.

Off-air taping – ERCC (Educational Rights Collective of Canada)

The ERCC represents copyright owners of television and radio programs when reproduced and performed in public by educational institutions for educational or training purposes.

Neighbouring rights – Re-Sound (formerly NRCC)

Resound is a Canadian non-profit organization representing musicians and record companies on behalf of their performance rights.  They are also a member of the Canadian Private Copying Collective which receives private copying levies from manufacturers and importers of blank audio tapes.  

Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC)
Administers the tariff for blank audio cassettes and compact discs. They represent songwriters, recording artists, music publishers and record companies.  It is a non-profit organization and collects private copying levies.  The member collectives of the CPCC include:

  • Canadian Music Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA)
  • Re: Sound Music Licensing Company
  • Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC)
  • Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN)

Audio Cine Films Inc.

Audio Cine Films is Canada’s exclusive non-theatrical distributor and public performance licensing agent for Canadian, American and foreign feature film producers including Disney, Warner Brothers Universal Studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, Marvel Entertainment, Pixar Animation, MGM Studio, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, DisneyNature, Screen Gems, Tri-Star, Entertainment ONe, VVS, Remstar, Summit, Christal Films etc.

Canadian Screenwriters Collection Society (CSCS)

The Canadian Screenwriters Collection Society (CSCS) is a non-profit organization created by the Writers Guild of Canada to collect and distribute secondary authors’ levies on behalf of film and television writers.  Secondary author levies are for private home copying (blank tape) levies, rental, lending levies and educational use levies.

Other collectives includes Criterio Pictures, Christian Video Licensing International (CVLI), Directors Rights Collective of Canada (DRCC), Producers Audiovisual Collective of Canada, Société civile des auteurs multimédias (SCAM), Playwriters Guild of Canada (PGC), Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques (SACD), Société québécoise des auteurs dramatiques (SoQAD), Canadian Broadcasters Rights Agency (CBRA), ACTRA Perfromers’ Rights Society (ACTRA PRS), Christian Copyright Licensing Inc. (CCLI), Société de gestion collective des droits des producteurs de phonogrammes et vidéogrammes du Québec (SOPROQ), Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC), Musicians’ Rights Organization Canada, Border Broadcasters’ Inc. (BBI), Canadian Broadcasters Rights Agency (CBRA), Canadian Retransmission Collective (CRC), Canadian Retransmission Right Association (CRRA), Copyright Collective of Canada (CCC), Direct Response Television Collective (DRTVC), FW Joint Sports Claimants (FWS), Major League Baseball Collective of Canada (MLB) and CARCC – Copyright Visual Arts founded by CARFAC.

Access Copyright

The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency known as Access Copyright (and formerly CANCOPY) is a non-profit organization representing creators and publishers in Canada, including writers, visual artists and publishers.  Access Copyright licences the works of creators and publishers in order to facilitate easier reproduction to users and easier permissions and payment to the authors, creators and publishers.

They have reciprocal agreements with international reproduction rights organization (RROs) around the world around the world in order to collect licences from users outside of Canada as well and pay the royalties to the members they represent.  COPIBEC(Quebec) is the Quebec equivalent of Access Copyright.  


There are eight major copyright collectives for the administration of four rights.  

Musical Works Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC)

Reproduction (Copyright Clearance Centre (CCC))

Sound Recording PRO (SoundExchange, FLI, AFM/AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund)

Hometaping (AARC, AFM/AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund)

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Top Posts

A law firm for creatives, startups & entrepreneurs in the areas of intellectual property, copyright, contracts, entertainment and technology.