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Summary of the Proceedings
A proposed class action has been initiated in Ontario against Sony BMG Music (Canada) Inc., now Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., (“Sony”), EMI Group Canada Inc. (“EMI”), Universal Music Canada Inc. (“Universal”), Warner Music Canada Co. (“Warner”), the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (“CMRRA”) and the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SODRAC) Inc. (“SODRAC”), in which it is alleged that the record companies are liable for copyright infringement by reproducing certain musical works in sound recordings released in physical formats in Canada, without securing licences from the owners of copyright in those musical works and/or without payment of the necessary royalties. Various allegations are also made against the Defendants CMRRA and SODRAC. Online digital downloads and other digital products are not at issue in the class action.
On May 30, 2011, this action was certified as a class proceeding for the purposes of settlement and the settlement agreements reached with Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., (“Sony”), EMI Group Canada Inc. (“EMI”), Universal Music Canada Inc. (“Universal”), Warner Music Canada Co. (“Warner”), (collectively, the “Record Companies”), the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (“CMRRA”), the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SODRAC) Inc. and SODRAC 2003 Inc. (“SODRAC”) (collectively, the “Collective Society Defendants”) were approved by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Pursuant to the court-approved settlement agreements, CMRRA-SODRAC Inc. (“CSI”) was appointed as Settlement Administrator. An initial claims period was held for Group I Products which relate to Products Released at any time up to and including June 30, 2007 and Group II Products which are Products Released between July 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009, inclusive. The Group I and II Products claims period concluded in February of 2013.
The settlement agreements required a further payment of additional amounts on account of Group III Products which are Products released between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012, inclusive. As outlined above the claims period for the Group III Items will commence on April 3, 2017.