The Canadian Private Copying Collective
The CPCC
Private Copying and Copyright

Copyright

Copyright is a legal mechanism that allows those who create original works, like music, to control the use of that work. As copyright holders, creators have a right to control the use of their intellectual property, and place conditions – like payment – on use by others. These payments are called royalties.

Private Copying

The private copying levy is a royalty for music rights holders: songwriters, composers, music publishers, recording artists, musicians and record companies. The levy is collected to provide compensation to rights holders for copies of music made by Canadians for their own personal use.

Private Copying in the World

Canada is one of about 40 countries around the world, working to help ensure that artists and songwriters are paid when their music is copied.

More information on private copying regimes in other countries is available in the report on a recent survey conducted by Stichting de Thuiskopie, the Dutch Private Copying Society.

Private Copying in Canada

When Canadians began copying music for their own personal use, such as making a mixed tape, they were not getting permission to make copies, and were not paying the creators for this use of their music. Since permission had not been granted, these private copies were an infringement of the creators’ copyright.

In 1997 Canada’s Copyright Act was changed to allow Canadians to copy music onto blank audio recording media for their private use. In return, the private copying levy was created to provide compensation to music creators for the use of their music. Canadians pay a small levy on the blank audio recording media ordinarily used for private copying.

The Copyright Act

The Copyright Act is the legislation that establishes the rights of creators of intellectual property and sets out the rules on how this property can be used and how rights holders will be compensated for the use of their work. There are 9 parts to the Act and each one deals with a separate area of copyright law. Part VIII of the Act deals with private copying.

Part VIII

Part VIII of Canada’s Copyright Act allows Canadians to copy music onto blank audio recording media for the private use of the person making the copy. In return, Canadians pay a small levy on the blank audio recording media ordinarily used for private copying. Part VIII also sets out how the private copying levy is to be collected and administered.

This legislation creates an exception to the exclusive right of music creators to authorize or prohibit copying of their work, so the exception comes with some important limitations. While copying music for personal use is not an infringement of copyright, making a copy for any of the following reasons are:

  • Selling the copy
  • Renting the copy
  • Distributing the copy
  • Communicating the copy to the public
  • Playing the copy in public
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