FAQ – Claims Process

Please find below a list of frequently asked questions to assist you with the claims process.  CSI will continue to add to this list in the weeks and months to come. If you still have questions about the Claims Website or the claims process, please contact us.

What does the list represent?

I) Items Related to Past Settlement Periods – Groups I, II and III

The settlement of the class action requires that the items for which the pending (unpaid) royalties are greater than $1,000 be published on a public website for Class Members to review and claim where applicable.

The list, therefore, contains song and recording details provided by the four major record companies for tracks that have a minimum aggregate pending value of $1,000.00.  That is, CSI has combined, wherever possible, multiple lower value pending items for the same, or similar, recordings in order to achieve the $1,000.00 threshold. Each of these lower value items are displayed separately in the list and must be individually researched and claimed.

For each item, CSI discloses all of the identifying information it received from the record companies as well as any additional information it can supplement from its own research.  Note, however, that the actual pending value of each track is not disclosed.

The amount available to be claimed for each item could be for 100% of the ownership of the musical work or could be for a fractional share of the musical work. As such, before you make a claim to a work you represent, it’s important to verify, and attest, that you have not been paid for your share of the musical work in relation to the applicable recording.

Each item is categorized as either a Medium-Value Item or a High-Value Item.

Medium-Value Items are those with an aggregate value greater than $1,000.00 but smaller than $2,500.00. These are to be published on this site for a period of six months.

High-Value Items are those with an aggregate value equal to or greater than $2,500.00. These are to be published on this site for a period of twelve months.

The deadlines for claims submissions for Groups I and II are now closed. The Claims Period for Group III Products will begin in the near future. Please visit the Claims Period page for more information on this topic.

This list does not contain any Low-Value Items for which the aggregate value is equal to or less than $1,000. The portion of the settlement allocated to Low-Value Items is paid to Class Members based on a market share allocation.

II) Items Related to Post-2012 Products

For Post-2012 Products, that is, products released in Canada starting January 1, 2013, the list represents items for which mechanical royalties have been paid into the Licensing Trust by the major record companies for ownership shares of musical works that have remained unidentified or unlicensed 150 days after the product’s release date.  Song and recording details, as provided by the record companies in their licence requests and royalty reporting, are displayed along with any additional information that CSI can supplement through its own research.  Individual royalty amounts are not disclosed, however the value category (High/Medium/Low) of each item is displayed.

In the majority of cases, CSI will display the ownership share percentage that is being held in trust, although there are certain line items in the data that will not carry this level of detail.  As such, before you make a claim to a work you represent, it’s important to verify, and attest, that you have not been paid for your share of the musical work in relation to the applicable recording.

What is the CSI Licensing Trust?

Where the ownership of a musical work remains unidentified after a period of 150 days after the release date of the recording in Canada, the royalties accrued for unidentified ownership shares are paid by the record companies into a trust account established and administered by CSI for the benefit of those rightsholders. This trust account is referred to as the Licensing Trust.

Are Post-2012 Products subject to the same restrictions for claiming based on the aggregated track value (High/Medium/Low)?

No, this is not the case for Post-2012 Products. All items eligible for claims will be published to the Claims Website regardless of their associated value.  CSI will apply the same valuation logic to each item in order to assist rightsholders in prioritizing their review of the items to be claimed.  To facilitate research by rightsholders, CSI will, wherever possible, aggregate the value of items across multiple products or payment files that have been matched to the same musical work.

How will CSI process the details of the quarterly Licensing Trust files?

CSI will review the details of each quarterly royalty file where the associated royalties are being paid into the Licensing Trust.  CSI will undertake to research and identify rightsholders based on ownership shares that have been recently registered and licences that may have already been issued in order to make an initial distribution on these items.  This work will be done within a reasonable period of time to allow for the timely publishing of details to the Claims Website for any remaining unidentified shares.

Can I obtain the full list of Medium and High Value Items in an Excel spreadsheet format?

A list will be available for Group III on request.  Please contact CSI.

A list is not currently available for Post-2012 Products.

How do I know what to claim?

In order to know what to claim, you must search the list for the musical works that you represent.  This can best be achieved by searching by the track (song) title and/or artist.

While there are searchable fields for “Writer” and “Publisher/Rightsholder”, please note that the content of these fields is often empty, inaccurate or too generic to be useful (i.e. "pending account", "suspense account", "unknown" are variables often found in this field).  As such, you cannot simply rely on those fields for searching purposes, and should focus on the artist name, album title or track title for works where you know you have a musical work for which you have not received royalties.

I own/administer multiple publishing companies. How do I register them all?

When you register to use the Claims Website, you will be asked to provide identifying information in the form of a CSI account number (or CMRRA Account number) or IPI number.

For publishers who are CMRRA clients, all of your registered publishing catalogues are associated with your main account, and as such you need only to register using your main account number.

For administrators, management companies or law firms who represent multiple different clients or accounts that are separate and not associated with one another, you should register using the “Other” option that is available in the user registration screen. When submitting a claim to CSI, you will be able to select the specific catalogue or account on whose behalf you wish to make a claim.

I performed a search and get no result. Why is this?

There are a variety of reasons why this may happen.

First, it may be that the information was entered by the record company under an alternative title or name. Please try searching under alternative titles, names and spellings.

Second, the list does not contain any information related to products released in Canada prior to 2010.

Third, in the case of Group III items, it may be that no royalties are owed for the item or to the rightsowner in question. The portion of the settlement allocated to Low-Value Items will be paid to Class Members based on a market share allocation.

Why are there some fields of recording data that appear blank in the search results of the Claim Unpaid Royalties page?

There are two scenarios that may cause this to occur:

  1. When processing the record company royalty files, CSI relies on certain mandatory identifiers to link the royalty data to the complete set of recording details that was captured from the record company's licence request for that item.  This information is then displayed on the claims website. In the early royalty reporting periods for the Licensing Trust, some of the record company data either contained incorrect identifiers, or these were missing entirely.  This particular issue is prevalent primarily in the 3Q2013 and 4Q2013 files.  As a result, only the information that was supplied directly in the royalty reporting is available, which is most often a product identifier such as a Catalogue Number or UPC.
  2. Where the record company has included a Balance Forward item in their royalty reporting, there is no associated detail supplied.  This is due to the fact that the Balance Forward is supplied in the royalty file alongside of the musical work as a whole, and is not associated with one particular set of release or recording information.  CSI will process these line items in accordance with the remaining line items that are included in the same Pending Usage Group.

How do I submit a claim as an author and/or a composer?

If you are an author and/or a composer and the musical work in question falls under a publishing deal, then any claim must be initiated by your publisher/administrator.

If you are an author and/or a composer, a publisher or a society represented by SODRAC, then SODRAC should claim your portion of the royalties on your behalf.

If you are self-published, then your user account and claim submissions are optimally processed under a payable publisher type account. If you have not previously registered this type of account with CSI, we will create one for you when you first submit a claim. The claim submission form will provide further instructions on filling out the form.

Can I submit my catalogue of songs to CSI for research?

No. It is the responsibility of each Class Member to search the list and make claims where applicable. CSI is unable to assist you with this process.  However, CSI is responsible, along with CMRRA and SODRAC, to research the High-Value Items in an attempt to identify the rights owners in question.

To the extent that CSI or CMRRA is able to identify a Rightsholder for a High-Value Item, it will, in the absence of an existing claim, contact the appropriate party to request his/her claim to such item through the Claims Website. SODRAC, for its part, will automatically claim the royalties on behalf of its members and represented societies.

Can CMRRA or SODRAC help me with the research and claims process?

Yes, but only to a limited degree.

On behalf of its affiliated publishers, CMRRA will review the list of items to assert claims for previously issued licences for which royalties were never paid. In those cases, CMRRA will register a claim for payment on those licenses, even in the absence of a claim from the Rightsholder via the Claims Website.  In addition, CMRRA will also attempt to identify any unlicensed works, or portion thereof, on behalf of its clients and, where required, alert them of the items that need to be claimed. As CMRRA is a non-exclusive agency, it cannot determine solely from its own records if a Rightsholder has already been paid directly by the record company. As such, a claim from the Rightsholder via the Claims Website is sometimes necessary to attest to the validity of the claim.

On behalf of its members and the societies it represents, SODRAC will review the list of Medium and High-Value Items and will make a claim to the unpaid royalties on all of the musical works in its repertoire, irrespective of the existence of a mechanical licence, and even in the absence of a claim by the Rightsholder via the Claims Website.

CMRRA and SODRAC's ability to research the entire list within the given deadlines is limited. This process takes time, as the research involved can be complex and the list of items is long.  It is therefore incumbent upon each Class Member, whether or not represented by CMRRA or SODRAC, to search the list and make claims where applicable. This is the best way to ensure that the maximum attention has been given to claiming your royalties.