Toronto Star columnist Michael Geist reports that the Canadian rights collecting society, SOCAN, has put its hand out for a very large share of Internet-derived revenue [tip 'o the hat to Dave Farber's IP list]. Snippets:
The Society of Music Composers, Authors, and Publishers (SOCAN) recently filed a revised Tariff 22 proposal that directly targets music download and streaming sites. SOCAN had previously focused Tariff 22 on Internet service providers. That led to a lengthy legal battle that culminated last year with the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling that ISPs should be treated like common carriers who rarely face liability for the transmission of data on their networks.
In search of a new deep pocket, SOCAN has reformulated Tariff 22 by targeting websites that communicate music to the public. The largest tariff - an astonishing 25 percent of gross revenue - is reserved for sites or services that permit users to select, listen to, or reproduce music for later listening (ie. music download services). By comparison, the top SOCAN tariff for commercial radio stations in Canada is currently 3.2 percent of gross revenue.
SOCAN’s proposal does not stop with music download services. The new Tariff 22 also calls for a tariff of 15 percent of gross revenues from both audio webcast sites that feature content similar to conventional radio stations as well as from established radio stations that webcast their signal. Moreover, gaming sites that communicate musical works as part of their games face a potential tariff of ten percent of gross revenues. In fact, to ensure that no one escapes Tariff 22, SOCAN envisions a tariff of ten percent of gross revenues for all other sites that communicate music.