The Canadian Private Copying Collective
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

Canadian Private Copying Collective  – CPCC
Société canadienne de perception de la copie privée  – SCPCP
1235 Bay Street, Suite 900, Toronto, Ontario M5R 3K4

416 486 6832
1 800 892 7235
416 486 3064 [FAX]


Frequently Asked Questions


1) What is the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC)?

Established in 1999, the CPCC is a non-profit umbrella organization whose member collectives represent songwriters, composers, music publishers, recording artists, musicians and record companies. It is responsible for collecting and distributing private copying levies.

2) What is private copying?

A “private copy” is a copy of a recorded track of music, or of a substantial part of such a track, that is made by an individual for his or her own personal use. A personal compilation of favourite tracks is a good example of how people typically create private copies.

Part VIII of the Copyright Act allows consumers to copy recorded music for their own personal use.  In exchange, the private copying levy was created to compensate music rights holders for private copies made of their music. Similar levies are collected in over 40 countries around the world. Copies of music have value, if they didn’t people wouldn’t make them.  In a public opinion poll conducted by Praxicus Public Strategies Inc., 67% responded that music rights holders should be paid when copies are made of their music.

3) What is the private copying levy?

The private copying levy is a royalty that exists to provide compensation to songwriters, composers, music publishers, recording artists, musicians and record companies for private copies made of their music. It is applied to the kinds of media that are ordinarily used for private copying. The media that the levy applies to and the rates that are charged are determined by the Copyright Board of Canada, based upon evidence presented in a formal hearing.

4) Isn’t this just another tax by the federal government?

The private copying levy is not a tax. It is a royalty paid to music rights holders. Unlike a tax, which is collected by the government, the private copying levy is collected by the CPCC to provide remuneration to rights holders for private copying. The private copying levy is earned income for rights holders and helps them to continue to create music.

5) Who is entitled to receive private copying royalties?

Private copying royalties are distributed to music authors, music publishers, recording artists and record companies through the CPCC’s member collectives. While music authors and publishers may qualify regardless of their nationality, only Canadian performers and Canadian record companies qualify to receive the private copying levy.

The Copyright Board of Canada determines the allocation of royalties to be distributed amongst the different categories of rights holders:

Click here to see Allocation of Levies Chart 2000 – 2019

The allocation for each year is as follows:

2010 – 2019:

  • Music authors and publishers: 58.2%
  • Performers: 23.8%
  • Record companies: 18%

2008 – 2009:

  • Music authors and publishers: 60.1%
  • Performers: 22.6%
  • Record companies: 17.3%

2001 – 2007:

  • Music authors and publishers: 66%
  • Performers: 18.9%
  • Record companies: 15.1%


  • Music authors and publishers: 75%
  • Performers: 13.7%
  • Record companies: 11.3%

6) How much money has been distributed?

Distribution of the private copying levy began in early 2003. Please see the CPCC’s Financial Highlights for the current amount of levies distributed.

7)  What is the distribution process?

The CPCC and its member collectives have developed a distribution process that ensures royalties are fairly distributed to the tens of thousands of rights holders. As information identifying exactly which tracks of recorded music are copied does not exist, the CPCC uses two comprehensive sources of information – data reflecting the recorded music that is sold both in retail outlets and online in Canada and data reflecting the recorded music that is broadcast by commercial radio stations and the CBC. Airplay and sales data are weighted equally in the distribution process and provide the best available indication of the tracks that Canadians typically copy for private use.

8 ) I am a rights holder. How do I sign up to receive private copying royalties?

Rights holders receive payment through the CPCC’s member collectives.

9) What is the Copyright Board of Canada and what authority does it have?

The Copyright Board is an economic regulatory body empowered to establish the royalties to be paid for the use of copyrighted works.  It determines which media are ordinarily used for private copying and sets a private copying levy on those media.

As technologies come and go and the value of copying can change over time, the Copyright Act does not contain a list of specific types of media on which there should be a levy and keep fixed levy amounts for all time. Instead, it sets up a framework that allows for periodic review by the Copyright Board.

10) How does the Copyright Board of Canada set the private copying levy rates?

The process by which the private copying levy rate is set is fair and open. The Copyright Board sets the private copying levy after hearing arguments from the CPCC on behalf of rights holders, the blank media industry, and other concerned individuals and organizations. The process the Copyright Board follows is described on its website.

In general, the CPCC files a proposed tariff for a fixed period. Organizations and individuals who are not in agreement with the proposed tariff may participate in the tariff hearing as objectors and offer their own arguments and evidence regarding the proposed tariff. The Copyright Board reaches a decision on which media there should be a levy and at what rate based on evidence presented by all of the participants in the tariff hearing.

11) Who pays the private copying levy on blank audio recording media?

Importers and manufacturers are required to pay the private copying levy on blank audio recording media sold or otherwise disposed of in Canada. The levy does not apply to blank media that are exported from Canada or sold to organizations that represent the perceptually disabled. Importers and manufacturers include the levy in the cost of the blank media sold to retailers who in turn include the amount of the levy in the price of the media to consumers.

12) Does the private copying levy apply to all types of blank media?

The private copying levy only applies to blank media that is ordinarily used for private copying. The CPCC must present evidence to the Copyright Board that proves that a specific type of media is ordinarily used to copy music. An important factor in the calculation of private copying levies is the extent to which the media is also used for other purposes. The Copyright Board applies a discount to the rate of the levy to reflect that the media is used for other uses such as data storage. Currently the private copying levy applies to CD-Rs, CD-RWs, CD-RAs and CD-RWAs.

13) Zero-Rating

a) What is the Zero-Rating Program?

The Zero-Rating Program is run voluntarily by the CPCC in recognition of the fact that many companies and organizations use blank audio recording media for business purposes. The program allows companies registered in the program to purchase and/or sell blank media at a “zero-rate”. The program is available to a wide range of groups. Purchasers are required to be certified in advance by the CPCC and must purchase media from a CPCC authorized seller.

b) Who can buy media levy-free?

Following is a list of the types of organizations that can qualify to join the Zero-Rating Program as buyers:

  • advertising agencies
  • broadcasters
  • conference and training companies
  • courts, tribunals and court reporters
  • duplication facilities
  • educational institutions
  • firms duplicating audio and data for business
  • government departments
  • law enforcement agencies
  • medical institutions
  • the music, film and video industries
  • religious organizations
  • software companies
  • technology companies
  • telemarketing firms

Participation in the program is open to any type of business, institution or non-profit organization, and to professional musicians who are members of the Music Rights Organization of Canada. Even very small businesses can qualify, regardless of whether they are incorporated or simply registered businesses.

For more information please visit the CPCC’s Zero-Rating Program.

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