Part 3 of the Tea Makers “Copyright is hard. Let’s go shopping!” series

The CBC “hockey-anthem” “challenge” receives extensive coverage in Maclean’s (not onliné). Sarmishta Subramanian, “Settling the Score,” 2008.08.25:

Like some insiders, [Larry LeBlanc] was also put off buy the contract terms.... While it’s increasingly common for private production companies to squeeze a portion of the writer’s royalties, this composer was disappointed to see a public broadcaster apparently do the same....

Moore insists the CBC routinely buys out authors of news themes, for instance, for $50,000 to $70,000 (no royalties), and that the current offer is a pretty good deal. “There’s got to be a guarantee that we’re not in a similar situation as we were with their last theme, where 10 years from now, the composer is holding us up for ransom,” he says.

Yes, he actually said that. (Moore has admitted he’s never even talked to Dolores Claman, so I’m not sure how she was “holding [the CBC] up for ransom.”)

The rules have been vetted with Nettwerk Music Group, which... is helping to run the contest. “They’ve told us these types of rules are fair, and we’ve gone probably an extra nine or 10 yards to make sure that they’re exceedingly fair.”

Nettwerk Records – the label that brought us Moev – is in on this? It turns out this was widely reported, but I never saw it before. In fact, if you upload anything to the contest, you have the option of receiving Nettwerk newsletters.

I asked Terry McBride of Nettwerk – possibly the smartest man in the Canadian music business; he is Oldplay’s manager, among other things – a few questions:

First, exactly what kind of advice did Nettwerk give CBC about the hockey-anthem contract? In particular, what rights (including moral rights) did you recommend CBC acquire in that contract?

What kind of "administration" in Nettwerk doing for the contest, exactly? How much is Nettwerk being paid for any and all of its services?

Should I infer that Nettwerk will be the label releasing any singles, downloads, albums, and the like that derive from this contest? Are there such plans?

And will Nettwerk try to become the actual agents or managers of the winners or finalists?

His answer? “We are A&R consultants only at this time, we have been paid nothing and are simply trying to help out.”

Aaand back to Maclean’s:

Nevertheless, a blog has sprung up, called Hockey Rights in Canada,

It’s just a posting on my personal Weblog (linked here previously).

detailing what its Toronto-based author, Joe Clark, feels are the pitfalls in the rules. Clark, a self-appointed watchdog/advocate on TV closed captions for the deaf...,

Somebody else was going to appoint me? (The phrase is ambiguous, but it’s usually a slight.)

finds the CBC’s stipulation that the winner sign over “moral rights” appalling. When you waive moral rights, he writes, “[t]hey can cut up, mangle, change, or ruin your work at will and there’s not a single thing you can do about it.”

He notes that all five semifinalists waive these rights – even if they don’t win. “I remember telling Dolores many years ago that given the history, she’d have to shoot me before I let her sign a moral-rights waiver to the benefit of the CBC,” says John Ciccone.... [who] suggests that with that waiver, the CBC could also conceivably license the theme out very lucratively – to Home Depot? Molson? Viagra? – with no input from the composers.

LeBlanc also complains that everyone else is getting paid, but he would not be paid if he accepted CBC’s offer to judge the contest.

Does anybody, apart from the entrants, still think this whole thing is a good idea?