A high profile music licensing deal has captured Canadians' attention in the past several days. The story weaves together Canada's national broadcaster, Canada's "national game," and a ubiquitous melodic cultural artifact, and in an era of free music and rampant digital reproduction, has put the business of song licensing on the national stage... or ice.
I'm sure you've heard the gist of this story, but just in case. The writer of the Hockey Night in Canada theme song, Dolores Claman, a Canadian jingle writer who now lives in London, England, retained the ownership and copyright of the song and has licensed it the CBC since 1968. Her and the song's publisher, Copyright Music & Visuals, have been upset with the CBC recently for their alleged use of the song in ways that went beyond the license agreement, and there is an unsettled court battle over this. It seems that when the license came up for renewal this year, the bad blood over the lawsuit hampered negotiations. CBC wanted to get more use from the song, but didn't want to pay the cost of an outright 'all uses in perpetuity' deal.
This is where it gets really interesting. Last Friday, after the CBC announced the that...