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Spectre: Canadian Copyright and the Mandatory Tariff— Part I
Intellectual Property Journal (2015)
  • Ariel Katz
Canadian copyright collectives and the Copyright Board have in
recent years advanced the theory that when the Board certifies collectives’
tariffs (or fixes the royalties in individual cases), those tariffs
become mandatory on users. Users have no choice whether to
deal with the collective; they must pay the specified royalties as long
as they make a single unauthorized use of a work from the collective’s
repertoire. Many users, for some strange reason, have also
subscribed to this view, despite its extraordinary consequences.
This article, first in a series of two, shows that this spectre of a
“mandatory tariff” lacks any basis in law. Established case law debunks
it, standard principles of statutory interpretation contradict it
and the legislative history discredits it. An approved tariff creates a
compulsory licence that interested users can avail themselves of, if
they wish to obtain a licence, but it does not force users to become
licensees. Copyright collectives can recover unpaid royalties only
from users who offered to pay them and later default on their
  • copyright,
  • copyright collectives,
  • monopoly,
  • royalty stacking,
  • antitrust
Publication Date
Citation Information
Ariel Katz. "Spectre: Canadian Copyright and the Mandatory Tariff— Part I" Intellectual Property Journal Vol. 27 Iss. 2 (2015) p. 151 - 211
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Creative Commons license
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC_BY-NC-SA International License.