TV & Film News – Courts side with SOCAN in CBC TV music reproduction dispute

SOCAN, on behalf of SODRAC members and clients, is finally able to collect for the reproduction of music on CBC television broadcasts. The Supreme Court of Canada has determined that “broadcast incidental copies” – or music embedded in audio-visual content made by broadcasters – has reproduction rights value, upholding a previous Copyright Board of Canada ruling ensuring associated royalties. After almost 10 years of litigation, CBC will have to pay rights holders $1.5-million for 2008-12 licenses, while a final amount for the period from 2012-18 has yet to be determined. SOCAN says now that a definitive value has been set, it will begin negotiations with additional Canadian broadcasters that require a license to use broadcast incidental copyright music. SOCAN had already reached television reproduction agreements with Québec-based broadcasters and several English-language Bell and Corus channels.

CBC and ACTRA have agreed to extend the current Radio and Television Agreements for a one-year period from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. The extension includes an increase to minimum fees of 1.5% for Canadian performers. With the current CBC Radio and Television Agreements having expired June 30, 2020, the 1.5% increase to minimum fees will be retroactive to July 1, 2020.

Game Theory Films is establishing a new distribution fund, aligning major industry partners to make financial and in-kind contributions in support of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour feature filmmakers. Funding will be allocated on a quarterly basis by a committee made up of contributors to the initiative and members from those filmmaker communities with a goal of supporting eight projects in the first two years. The Toronto-based boutique feature film distributor will offer recoupable Minimum Guarantees, committing $100K for the Canadian distribution rights of feature films and also allocating an additional $100K in non-recoupable in-kind services for filmmakers. The MGs will be funded by Woods Entertainment, JoBro Productions, Comweb Foundation and William F. White. Canadian streamer Crave has come onboard as a partner to support the first title selected by the committee with a broadcast and SVOD license. William F. White will also contribute in-kind services along with VFX studio MARZ, URBAN POST, and Entertainment Partners who will provide accounting, scheduling and budgeting software and training as well as tax credit expertise. Pitch submissions will open Aug. 31 on the Game Theory Films website.

Telefilm Canada is supporting calls for the creation of a Black Screen Office and has committed to investing $100,000 annually. The pledge was made Monday during a meeting with filmmakers from the Black community who have called for the creation of a dedicated bureau. “Telefilm supports the formation of an institution to expand the reach of stories and works by Black filmmakers,” said Christa Dickenson, Executive Director, in a release. “The creation of a Black Screen Office will be a concrete step in helping address the imbalances that exist within Canada’s film industry and will work towards dismantling the systemic racism that exists.” In July, Telefilm released its Equity and Representation Action Plan, building on ongoing conversations with the industry.

Telefilm Canada has announced the 20 English-language feature films it will be supporting under the $7 million Production Program for English-language projects with budgets of $2.5 million and below. Fifty per cent of the projects selected are directed and written by women. Find the full list of funded films, here.

OUTtv has commissioned five new shows, including a pilot for Group Sext, a show filmed within the confines of lockdown through Zoom. The reality show, produced by GoButton Media and hosted by drag queen Crystal (RuPaul’s Drag Race UK), sees one Masterdater assess texts, videos and picture messages, whittling 10 sexters down to one for a video call. The entire show was cast, shot and edited during lockdown through a combination of mulit-level video conferencing, self-shooting and sext messaging. With Crystal hosting from the UK, the cast joined in from across Canada and the U.S., while production staff were in lockdown all over Ontario, and editing taking place across three different provinces. Additional series include Thom Fitzgerald’s Cam Boy (8 x 30’), a scripted series from Emotion Pictures; Cannonball (6 x 10 Digital Series), a comedy series produced by Kiss Off Entertainment and Corner Piece Creative that follows two private investigators as they take on wild and wacky cases; comedy series The Browns (3 x 30’), created and directed by John Mark, produced by Producers Entertainment Group and featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Tammie Brown; and Knock Knock Ghost (6 x 60’), which returns to OUTtv for a third season. 

Sportsnet’s second round 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage is underway. Across the network’s streaming and television broadcasts, Chris Cuthbert and game analyst Louie DeBrusk deliver play-by-play commentary from Edmonton’s Rogers Place. From Toronto, Hockey Hall of Famer Jim Hughson and analyst Craig Simpson have the play-by-play call from Scotiabank Arena. From the Hockey Central Studio, hosts Ron MacLean and David Amber anchor pre-, intermission, and post-game commentary with Sportsnet’s NHL Insiders and analysts: Elliotte Friedman, Kelly Hrudey, Brian Burke, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Kevin Bieksa and Anthony Stewart. Rinkside, reporters Kyle Bukauskas, Caroline Cameron, Shawn McKenzie and Christine Simpson share reporting duties in Toronto, while Scott Oake, Dan Murphy and Harnarayan Singh deliver updates from the Edmonton hub. In Punjabi, on OMNI Television, Singh, Randip Janda, Harpreet Pandher and Gurpreet Sian deliver select Vancouver Canucks and Saturday night games on Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi Edition.

The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) has launched its 10-episode Paralympic Super Series Rewind show. Streaming in English and French for 10 days – from Aug. 24 to Sept. 2 – the timeframe in which the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games were originally scheduled, Super Series Rewind showcases top medal performances from the summer Games held throughout the 2000s. Hosted by Benoit Huot, with guest hosts Stephanie Dixon in English and Philippe Gagnon in French, the series is available on the CPC Facebook page. English episodes will also be available via CBC Gem, cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports App, while French episodes can be viewed on the Radio-Canada Sports Facebook page and radio-canada.ca/sports

Corus specialty channels YTV, TELETOON, and Treehouse have revealed their fall schedules. New YTV programming includes Nelvana animated series Ollie’s Pack (Sept. 5), while live-action series Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan makes its debut on the network Sept. 11. On TELETOON, Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs premieres Sept. 5 with new episodes every weekend at 9 a.m. The Flintstones universe extension sees Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm explore the open wilderness outside of the Town of Bedrock known as The Crags. The Looney Tunes reboot debuts Oct. 11, echoing the high production value and process of the original Looney Tunes theatrical shorts. New programming on Treehouse includes animated series The Dog & Pony Show (Sept. 5), produced by redknot, a joint venture between Nelvana and Discovery Inc., and The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo. The Sesame Street spin-off, airing new episodes Sundays at 6:30 p.m., sees Elmo host his own late-night talk show featuring guests like Jimmy Fallon, Kacey Musgraves, Jonas Brothers, Lil Nas X, and Blake Lively.

Discovery’s free fall preview kicks off Sept. 10, anchored by the Season 9 debut of Highway Thru Hell (Sept. 14). The freeview includes the series premieres of Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings (Sept. 17), All On The Line (Sept. 22), Dodgeball: Thunderdome (Sept. 23), and Mysteries of the Deep (Sept. 30); plus new seasons of Diesel Brothers (Sept. 17), and Texas Metal (Sept. 17). The freeview is available through Oct. 22 via participating television service providers, including but not limited to Bell, Bell Aliant, Bell MTS, Cogeco, Eastlink, SaskTel, and participating members of the CCSA.

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