How much to pay for a music download?
The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that no royalty is payable for downloads (should that be “streaming”?) of those 30 second previews of music. Apparently, it falls with the fair dealing provisions for “research”. The “1709” blog has the story.
Meanwhile, last year, the Australian Copyright Tribunal accepted that music download services such as iTunes, Bigpond Music, Sony and Universal should pay composers a royalty of:
- the higher of 9% of retail price or 9 cents per track, for music downloads; and
- the higher of 8% of retail price or 8 cents per track,
for single track downloads. There is a sliding scale for the track rates where an album, rather than a single track, is downloaded.
As the price on iTunes is typically $1.69 per “song”, I guess the % rate will usually apply for single track downloads.
(This is just what the composers get paid for the transmission and reproduction on the ‘buyer’s’ computer; not what the record companies or performers (will) get.
The composers’ collecting societies, APRA and AMCOS, had started out trying to get 12% but, in the end, the monopolies and the monopsonistic buyer(s) wound up reaching agreement. Even the ACCC, after some twisting and turning seems to have gone along with the deal, perhaps in recognition of the fact that the Copyright Act specifically gives the Copyright Tribunal power to fix these rates.
By way of comparison, the Copyright Tribunal reported that the corresponding rates were:
Australasian Performing Right Association Limited and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Limited  ACopyT 2