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 responsible for collecting and distributing private copying levies on behalf of its member collectives (CMRRA, SOCAN, and Re:Sound). Since 1999, CPCC has distributed over $300 million to over 100,000 songwriters, composers, music publishers, recording artists, musicians and record companies.

2) What is private copying?

A “private copy” is a copy you make of your music collection for your own personal use, anywhere, anytime. A personal compilation of favourite songs 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.

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. These rights-holders are paid a small royalty (a levy) whenever a business sells 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 public hearing. Currently, the levy only applies to blank CDs – a medium that is on its way to obsolescence.

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

The private copying levy is earned income for creators and music companies and helps them to continue to create music. The private copying levy is not a tax, charity, or subsidy program. Unlike a tax, which is collected by the government, the private copying levy is a royalty collected by the CPCC to provide remuneration to music rights-holders for the use of their work for private copying.

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. The allocation for each year is as follows:

2010 – 2021:

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

Click here to see Allocation of Levies for earlier years

6) How much money has been distributed?

Since 1999, CPCC has distributed over $300 million to over 100,000 songwriters, composers, music publishers, recording artists, musicians and record companies.

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 eligible rights holders. As information identifying exactly which music is being copied for personal use does not exist, the CPCC has used 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 have provided 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. Although Canada used to have levies on audio cassettes and MiniDiscs, currently the private copying levy only applies to CD-Rs, CD-RWs, CD-RAs and CD-RWAs – technology that is almost obsolete.

13) Why are levies only on blank CDs now?

The original intention in the wording of the Copyright Act was to make levies technologically neutral, so they could keep up with changes in how Canadians consume music. However, a major court ruling said that because the Act only talks about media (like, cassette tapes and blank CDs), we can’t collect levies on devices (like phones or tablets), even though that’s where most private copies are made now. Shouldn’t every copy count?

Around the world, technologically-neutral private copying levies are recognized as the best solution to make sure rights-holders are paid for private copies, but Canada hasn’t kept up. Annual revenue from the private copying levy has declined by over 90%, from a high of $38 million in 2004 to just $1.1 million in 2019. CPCC is actively advocating for Canada’s Copyright Act to be made technologically neutral.

14) Hasn’t the rise of streaming made private copying obsolete anyway?

No –Canadians still need copies of their music for offline listening, like when they can’t access their streaming service. And technology keeps making it easier to copy music. Our research shows that there are 6 billion tracks of music stored on Canadians’ phones and tablets right now, and about half of those copies were made in the past twelve months. The research also tells us that music rights-holders are already paid for half of the 6 billion copies because they license downloading and streaming services, but they’re not being compensated for the other billions of private copies on those devices that can’t be licensed. That’s why we need technologically-neutral levies. How we copy music keeps changing; how creators and music companies get paid has to keep up.

15) 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.

16) How can I stay up-to-date with CPCC’s work?

You can stay in touch with us via our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and you can also subscribe to our newsletter here.

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