SOCAN, Music Licensing, and You
We often get questions from new entrepreneurs about the licensing of third-party music in their establishment. Navigating through the field of copyright law and intellectual property can be daunting for any new business owner, luckily, the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada is here to help!
SOCAN is a member-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to streamlining the process surrounding licensing fees for music. The Copyright Board of Canada certifies SOCAN’s tariffs and operations in accordance with Canada’s Copyright Act. A SOCAN membership grants you the license to play almost any music, from anywhere on Earth, in your business. If you are operating any kind of entertainment venue, or if music will be involved in your business in any way, a SOCAN membership is the easiest way to make sure you do not run afoul with Canadian or international copyright law. For example, if you are hiring a DJ or playing live music, you still need to pay licensing fees in addition to the cost of paying the performers themselves. Some business owners also mistakenly think that purchasing a CD or song off the internet means that you have the right to use that song. However, under copyright law, the act of purchasing music in that manner simply gives you the right to play that music in private, not in public. Although there are some exceptions, like listening to the radio in your establishment, a SOCAN license is still your best bet to avoid the nebulous legal issues surrounding modern intellectual property laws and music.
If you have any questions about SOCAN licensing, contact them at:
The Halton Region Small Business Centre is here to help you. One of the goals of the Centre is to empower small and medium-sized enterprises and give you the tools to achieve success. For more information about resources, services, business events and seminars, contact us by dialing 311, 1-866-442-5866, online at www.haltonsmallbusiness.ca, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville. You can also follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook.