The Copyright Board of Canada has released a decision in which it admits to palpable error that resulted in a hugely inflated tariff. The case involved a tariff for SODRAC for reproduction of music works in cinematographic works for private use of for theatrical exhibition. The Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters had proposed a tiered tariff approach of a maximum of 2 cents per copy containing 30 minutes of music or more (less music would result in a lower tariff). The Copyright Board mistakenly established a tariff of three cents per copy, mistakenly treating three tiers as three cents. As the Board now notes:
CAFDE was seeking a rate of 2 cents per DVD copy containing over 30 minutes of SODRAC music; the Board’s interpretation leads to royalties that are 15 times higher or even more.
While SODRAC argued that the Board could not correct its error, the Board concluded that it could noting that this resulted in palpable error. Moreover, since the erroneous Board decision actually resulted in higher tariffs than those even requested by SODRAC, it also concluded that procedural fairness was breached. The Board has now suspended the tariff and advised that will issue a new decision in the future.