Higher Copyright Fees Could Negatively Affect Media Industry

| About: Corus Entertainment, (CJREF)
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Lobbying efforts are heating up as executives at Canadian radio companies brace themselves against the prospect of paying a huge increase in copyright fees.

In a note to clients on Monday, Genuity Capital Markets analyst Carl Bayard wrote:

If the Copyright Board elects to side with the [music industry] collectives once again, the impact on Canadian broadcasters such as Astral Media and Corus Entertainment could be materially higher.

Radio stations pay about C$74-million in copyright fees each year, and the music industry is pushing to more than double that amount to approximately C$200-million including a reproduction tariff for duplicating music into broadcast format, Mr. Bayard said. The Canadian Association of Broadcasters is fighting the increases, which are viewed as little more than a "cash grab" for the music industry to recoup losses it has sustained from file-sharing technology.

Nothing is likely to happen before the Federal Court rules on a 2005 appeal of the Copyright Board of Canada's decision to hike annual fees from C$22-million. Mr. Bayard said the impact on Corus Entertainment (CJR) from that decision was a C$2.6-million royalty cost increase, while Astral [ACM.A/TSX] faced a C$1.5-million increase in royalty costs.