Orchestras Canada

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Submission to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Consultation on how to implement an extended general term of copyright protection in Canada

March 2021

Katherine Carleton, C.M. Executive Director/ Directrice générale
Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada

P.O. Box 2386
Peterborough ON
K9J 2Y8


Orchestras Canada is grateful for the opportunity to contribute the perspectives of our 140 member orchestras to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's Consultation on the implementation of an extended general term of copyright protection in Canada.

Orchestras and copyright protection

Orchestras interact with copyright protection in various ways. Orchestras make use of published music scores and written parts for live performance. In addition, and especially in the new digital context precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, orchestras engage in audio and video recording, livestreaming, and educational activities that involve the use of published works protected under copyright.

Orchestras' interaction with copyright law is often overseen by the orchestra's librarian(s), and in more established orchestras these positions are full-time and remunerated. Orchestras Canada has consulted with orchestral librarians to develop the following recommendations.

1. Confirming the status of existing Public Domain works

Orchestras have a vested interest in confirming whether or not the works in the "in-between" window, i.e. those that entered the Public Domain under the previous Life + 50 years rule, will regain copyright protection under these new measures. While we have had assurances from SOCAN that this will not affect the performing rights rates for orchestras using Tariff 4.B.2, we note that it could increase costs for groups (including orchestras) that use Tariff 4.B.1.

2. Confirming orchestras' status

Orchestras and other not-for-profit, charitable performing arts groups with a public good mandate request that - for the purposes of this legislation - they be granted the same rights and responsibilities as "non-profit LAMs (libraries, archives and museums)" as defined in the Consultation paper. This is essential to upholding the spirit of the definition and ensuring that orchestras' activities are dealt with fairly.

3. A combination of Options 3 and 5

Orchestras are keen to ensure that creators are appropriately compensated for the use of their work, and they seek clear guidelines to help them do this efficiently and transparently. Accordingly, Orchestras Canada supports Option 3 ("permitting the use of orphan works and/or out-of-commerce works in the context of missions of public interest, subject to claims for equitable remuneration") and Option 5 ("a 100-year term for exceptions"). These options protect the rights of creators and their estates, preserve principles of transparency and efficiency, and help to ensure that works of artistic merit can be enjoyed by the public.


Orchestras Canada thanks the Government of Canada for the opportunity to contribute our thoughts to the implementation of an extended general term of copyright protection in Canada. We would be pleased to discuss our recommendations with you further.

About Orchestras Canada

Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada is the national association for Canadian orchestras, with a mandate to serve Canadian orchestras in both official languages through research, knowledge-sharing, convening, and advocacy. Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada has member orchestras in every Canadian province, ranging from volunteer and youth orchestras to major professional ensembles. We collaborate with other umbrella groups and arts service organizations, including the Canadian Arts Coalition, Imagine Canada, and the ad hoc Arts Service Organization COVID Coordination group.