Canadian Recording Industry Association
Music Canada is a Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

-based, non-profit trade organization
Industry trade group
A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association or sector association, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry...

 that was founded 9 April 1963 to represent the interests of companies that record, artists, manufacture, production, promotion and distribution of music in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. It also offers benefits to some of Canada's leading independent record labels and distributors.
Originally formed as the 10-member Canadian Record Manufacturer's Association, the association changed its name in Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) in 1972 and opened membership to other record industry companies. In 2011, changed its name in Music Canada offering special benefits to some of the leading independent labels and distributors in Canada.

Music Canada is governed by a board of directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

 who are elected annually by association members. To be eligible for election a candidate for the board must be among the executive officer
Corporate title
Publicly and privately held for-profit corporations confer corporate titles or business titles on company officials as a means of identifying their function in the organization...

s of the member companies. Graham Henderson
Graham Henderson
Graham Henderson is a Canadian lawyer and the president of the Canadian Recording Industry Association, a lobby group for a number of major record labels in Canada....

 of Universal Music Canada has been president since 15 November 2004; Brian Robertson
Brian Robertson
Brian "Robbo" David Robertson is a Scottish rock guitarist, best known for his work with Thin Lizzy and Motörhead.-Early life:...

 previously held the position from 1974.

Members are divided into 3 classes:
  • Class A members are Canadian individuals or companies whose principal business is producing, manufacturing, or marketing sound recordings. These members hold voting rights, and currently consist of the "big four" record labels.
  • Class B members are Canadian individuals or companies whose principal business is producing sound recordings. These members pay a $600 annual membership fee but have no voting rights. As of 2007, there were 22 class B members.
  • Manufacturing Division members are Canadian individuals or companies whose principal business is manufacturing sound recordings.

Other services

Music Canada is responsible for the distribution of ISRC registrant codes within Canada, and also works with the IFPI
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is the organisation that represents the interests of the recording industry worldwide. It is a not-for-profit members' organisation registered in Switzerland...

 and RIAA to try to prevent copyright infringement of artists' work.


Historically, Music Canada has represented all record labels in the country. Recently, however, some labels and other industry groups have publicly disagreed with Music Canada and claim it no longer represents them. In 2006, six well-known "indie" labels including Nettwerk
The Nettwerk Music Group is the umbrella company for Nettwerk Management, Nettwerk Records, Nettwerk One Publishing, Nutone Records, and Artwerk. With over 150 employees, the Vancouver-based company has offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Boston, Nashville, and Hamburg...

 left Music Canada in a dispute over Canadian content
Canadian content
Canadian content refers to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission requirements that radio and television broadcasters must air a certain percentage of content that was at least partly written, produced, presented, or otherwise contributed to by persons from...

 rules. They claimed the association was only protecting the interests of "the four major foreign multi-national labels," referring to EMI, Universal, Sony BMG
Sony BMG Music Entertainment
Sony BMG Music Entertainment was a recorded music company, which was a 50–50 joint venture between the Sony Corporation of America and Bertelsmann AG...

, and Warner
Warner Music Canada
Warner Music Canada is the Canadian division of Warner Music Group. The label previously operated as WEA Canada, the Canadian subsidiary of WEA International, which later changed its name to Warner Music International in 1990. It was founded in 1967 as Warner Reprise Canada Ltd...

. Other points of contention include Music Canada's stance against the blank media tax, their support for digital locks on music, and positions against copyright reform. In 2007 a group of musicians formed the Canadian Music Creators Coalition
Canadian Music Creators Coalition
Canadian Music Creators Coalition is a group of Canadian music artists opposed to introducing legislation similar to the United States' DMCA into Canadian intellectual property law. The group was officially formed April 26, 2006...

, claiming "legislative proposals that would facilitate lawsuits against our fans or increase the labels' control over the enjoyment of music are made not in our names, but on behalf of the labels' foreign parent companies."

Legal actions

On February 16, 2004, Music Canada applied to the Federal Court
Federal Court of Canada
The Federal Court of Canada was a national court of Canada that heard some types of disputes arising under the central government's legislative jurisdiction...

 to force five major Canadian internet service provider
Internet service provider
An Internet service provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. Access ISPs directly connect customers to the Internet using copper wires, wireless or fiber-optic connections. Hosting ISPs lease server space for smaller businesses and host other people servers...

s — Shaw Communications
Shaw Communications
Shaw Communications is Canada's largest telecommunications company that provides telephone, Canada's fastest Internet and television services as well as broadcasting and soon Wifi. Shaw is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta...

 Inc., Telus
Telus is a national telecommunications company in Canada that provides a wide range of telecommunications products and services including internet access, voice, entertainment, video, and satellite television. The company is based in Burnaby, British Columbia, part of Greater Vancouver...

 Corp., Rogers Cable
Rogers Communications
Rogers Communications Inc. is one of Canada's largest communications companies, particularly in the field of wireless communications, cable television, home phone and internet with additional telecommunications and mass media assets...

, Bell Canada
Bell Canada
Bell Canada is a major Canadian telecommunications company. Including its subsidiaries such as Bell Aliant, Northwestel, Télébec, and NorthernTel, it is the incumbent local exchange carrier for telephone and DSL Internet services in most of Canada east of Manitoba and in the northern territories,...

's Sympatico
Bell Sympatico
Bell Internet, originally and frequently called Sympatico, is the residential Internet service provider division of Bell Canada. It was affiliated with MSN. As of June 2009, Bell Internet had over 2 million subscribers in Ontario and Quebec and was the largest ISP in Canada.- History :Sympatico was...

 service and Quebec's Vidéotron
Vidéotron GP is a Canadian integrated telecommunications company active in cable television, interactive multimedia development, video on demand, cable telephony, wireless communication and Internet access services. Currently, the company primarily serves Quebec, as well as the francophone...

 — to hand over the names of 29 people accused of copyright infringement
Copyright infringement
Copyright infringement is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright holder's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works.- "Piracy" :...

 through peer-to-peer file sharing
Peer-to-peer file sharing
P2P or Peer-to-peer file sharing allows users to download files such as music, movies, and games using a P2P software client that searches for other connected computers. The "peers" are computer systems connected to each other through internet. Thus, the only requirements for a computer to join...

. On April 2005, Vidéotron
Vidéotron GP is a Canadian integrated telecommunications company active in cable television, interactive multimedia development, video on demand, cable telephony, wireless communication and Internet access services. Currently, the company primarily serves Quebec, as well as the francophone...

 indicated its willingness to supply customer information to Music Canada.

On March 31, 2004, in the case of BMG v. John Doe, Justice Konrad von Finckenstein
Konrad von Finckenstein
Konrad W. von Finckenstein, QC is the current Chairman of the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission . He has held the post since January 25, 2007 and his term is scheduled to end on January 24, 2012. von Finckenstein previously served as Justice of the Federal Court from 2003...

 of the Federal Court of Canada
Federal Court of Canada
The Federal Court of Canada was a national court of Canada that heard some types of disputes arising under the central government's legislative jurisdiction...

 ruled that making music available for download over the Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 was not equivalent to distribution and was thus noninfringing. The Justice compared the peer-to-peer filesharing activities to "having a photocopier in a library room full of copyrighted material" and wrote that there was no evidence of unauthorized distribution presented. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld the lower courts ruling denying the disclosure of the customers' identities, but, in reference to "what would or would not constitute infringement of copyright," stated: "such conclusions should not have been made in the very preliminary stages of this action, since they would require a consideration of the evidence as well as the law applicable to such evidence after it has been properly adduced, and could be damaging to the parties if a trial takes place."
The Copyright Board of Canada
Copyright Board of Canada
The Copyright Board of Canada is an economic regulatory body empowered to establish, either mandatorily or at the request of an interested party, the royalties to be paid for the use of copyrighted works, when the administration of such copyright is entrusted to a collective-administration society...

 earlier that year had included downloading music in the list of "private copying" activities for which tariffs on blank media applied. (Private copying is the act of copying music for personal use from a noninfringing source, and is itself noninfringing.) That made it extremely unlikely that downloaders could be successfully prosecuted, leaving only the possibility of acting against uploaders, those supplying the works to others on the networks.

In 2008, the operators of the isoHunt
isoHunt is a BitTorrent index with over 1.7 million torrents in its database and 20 million peers from indexed torrents. With 7.4 million unique visitors , isoHunt is one of the most popular BitTorrent search engines. Thousands of torrents are added to and deleted from it every day. Users of...

 website filed a motion with the Supreme Court of British Columbia
Supreme Court of British Columbia
The Supreme Court of British Columbia is the superior trial court for the province of British Columbia. The BCSC hears civil and criminal law cases as well as appeals from the Provincial Court of British Columbia. Including supernumerary judges, there are presently 108 judges...

 seeking a declaratory judgment
Declaratory judgment
A declaratory judgment is a judgment of a court in a civil case which declares the rights, duties, or obligations of one or more parties in a dispute. A declaratory judgment is legally binding, but it does not order any action by a party. In this way, the declaratory judgment is like an action to...

affirming the legality of their operation. The motion was denied, and the court ruled a full trial was needed. This decision was appealed by the operators of isoHunt; the appeal was also denied. In late 2009, isoHunt filed a formal suit against Music Canada and the four "major" record labels seeking "declaratory relief to clarify its legal rights."

Additionally, in October 2008, the four main members of Music Canada were sued by the estate of Chet Baker and several other artists for copyright infringement. The major claims in this lawsuit are as follows:
  • That some three hundred thousand works were illegally distributed by the Music Canada's members, and

  • That they failed to seek proper licensing and distribution agreements with the creators of the aforementioned works, instead placing the works on what is colloquially referred to as a "pending list" (i.e., any payments to be made for the use of the aforementioned works are reserved, pending an agreement with the artists who created the works).

As the standard punitive damages for each act of infringement is set at $20,000, and there are three hundred thousand works on the "pending lists", Music Canada may face punitive damages of a minimum of $6 billion.

Gold and Platinum certification awards (Timeline)

Certification For releases before May 1, 2008 For releases after May 1, 2008
Gold 50,000 40,000
Platinum 100,000 80,000
Diamond 1,000,000 800,000

Physical singles
Certification For releases before February 1, 1982 For releases before September, 2002 For releases after September, 2002
Gold 75,000 50,000 5,000
Platinum 150,000 100,000 10,000

Digital downloads (singles)
Certification For releases before January 1, 2007 For releases before May 1, 2010 For releases after May 1, 2010
Gold 10,000 20,000 40,000
Platinum 20,000 40,000 80,000

RingTones (singles)
Certification For all RingTone releases
Gold 20,000
Platinum 40,000

Certification For all Video releases
Gold 5,000
Platinum 10,000
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