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XM Canada Sued Over Copyright Royalties

SOCAN says satcaster in arrears on mandated copyright royalties

Two groups representing music copyright holders are suing Canadian XM Satellite Radio Holding’s XM Canada.

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, or SOCAN, said in its announcement of the lawsuit that the satcaster has failed to pay required copyright royalties, leaving SOCAN “with no alternative but to claim payment of all royalties past due and, if necessary, to seek an injunction preventing XM from broadcasting music in the event that it remains in breach of its payment obligations.”

The Globe and Mail reports another copyright “collective” is part of the suit as well.

The Copyright Board of Canada approved royalties this April to be paid to SOCAN by both XM Canada and Sirius Satellite Radio Canada. Royalties dating back to July 2005 were due on July 31 of this year.

SOCAN says XM Canada is required to pay SOCAN “4.26 percent of its service revenues.”

SOCAN told the Globe and Mail that XM Canada has paid interest on the amount owed but intends to start paying on the principal in September 2010.

“The company is committed to meeting its obligations but notes that its royalties include a significant retroactive tariff to 2005, coming due during a very challenging economic time,” XM Canada said in a statement to the paper, which reports the satcaster made some $96.4 million in cumulative revenue to May 31, 2009, but only had just over roughly $3 million in cash on hand. [All figures converted to U.S. dollars.]