The Copyright Act allows faculty, staff, and students to play sound recordings in class, as long as it is for educational and training purposes, not for profit and on University premises. Furthermore, the audience must consist primarily of students and faculty members of the University.
Other exceptions to the Act include fair dealing, which allows for the use of a short excerpt of a sound recording for the purpose of research or education. The University has developed a set of Fair dealing guidelines, which you should be familiar with.
However, if you wish to play music for other purposes, such as background music at a conference or in an athletic facility, these exceptions would generally not apply. Unless your music falls under an Alternative to Copyright, you should obtain a licence from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) and Re:Sound copyright collectives. To find the relevant licence(s) you will require for a non-educational use of music and sounds, please refer to SOCAN’s Licence Finder and/or Re:Sound’s Tariffs web page.
What is SOCAN?
SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) is a not-for-profit organization that represents the performing rights of music creators, composers and publishers by licensing the use of their music in Canada. It requires users to obtain a licence to perform or authorize others to perform in public any music that is copyright-protected. The licensing fees depend on the type of event, the number of attendees and whether there will be dancing. Consult the SOCAN website for more information.
When a facility at the University is rented out for an event, SOCAN’s Tariff 8 – Receptions, Conventions, Assemblies and Fashion Shows applies. This per-event fee allows you to play (publicly perform) music at receptions, conventions, assemblies and fashion shows. Choosing a fee also depends on factors such as the room capacity and if there will be dancing involved.
What is Re:Sound?
Re:Sound is a Canadian not-for-profit music licensing company that represents the performance rights of artists and record companies. It licenses only recorded music (whereas SOCAN licenses both live and recorded music). Re:Sound collects fees on behalf of the owners of the rights to the sound recordings, whereas SOCAN collects fees on behalf of music composers, creators and publishers. Consult the Re:Sound website for more information.
When a facility at the University is rented out for an event such as a convention or an assembly, Re:Sound’s Tariff No. 5B – Receptions, Conventions, Assemblies and Fashion Shows applies. This per-event and per-day fee depends on factors similar to SOCAN, such as the room capacity and whether there will be dancing.
SOCAN has created a comparison sheet you can consult online with more information on the differences between SOCAN and Re:Sound [PDF, 50.5KB].