Music Licensing

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The Copyright Act allows K-12 organizations to play a sound recording or live radio broadcasts in class as long as it is for educational or training purposes, not for profit, on a school's premises and before an audience consisting primarily of students, teachers or any person who is directly responsible for setting curriculum for a school district or school. However, if you want to use music for non-education purposes, for example, for music at a school dance, school sporting event, at an event where the admission fee is intended to make a profit, on school premises for no other reason than as background (e.g., in the classroom, cafeteria, hall, etc.), a license (or licenses) must be obtained from a copyright collective (SOCAN or Re:Sound).

Schools are also required to pay SOCAN and/or Re:Sound tariffs when it rents out its facilities (e.g., rooms, halls, etc.) for events that play music. The cost of such fees can be passed onto the renter of the premises.

What is the Difference between SOCAN & Re:Sound?

SOCAN and Re:Sound represent different rightsholders. SOCAN represents songwriters and music publishers, while Re:Sound represents performers and record companies. This means that, if you are playing recorded music in a school, you may have to pay both SOCAN and Re:Sound.

Administration of SOCAN and Re:Sound Fees by Focused ED

Focused ED has historically supported a flat-rate "blanket" license agreement on behalf of its members with SOCAN.

Focused ED has worked with Entandem Inc., as agent for SOCAN and Re:Sound, and has established license agreements for School Year 2022/2023 and School Year 2023/2024.

Broadly, these agreements cover members for four (4) primary possible (non-educational) use cases:

  • incidental (background - e.g., cafeteria, lunch spaces)
  • band concert
  • dance
  • sporting event

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