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Welcome to the fifteenth instalment of Monday #MusicMatters as part of the JAMS Canada PRO Series – “Here’s What I Know”.

We caught up with Dave Daw for his insight on Copyrights and Music Licensing

What is the process for musicians to copyright their music in Canada?

COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION – As copyright applies to musical works, if you write a song or create a sound or video recording (or other artistic endeavour), you can choose to officially “register” your copyright in your country of origin, and this “claim” of your intellectual property rights will then be honoured and protected by all countries who subscribe to the Berne Convention.

In Canada, the USA and in other co-operating Berne Convention countries, any artistic creation is actually copyrighted at the moment of conception, (without you doing anything else) but you may also choose to “register” your copyright in Canada at: or in the USA at: by paying the associated fees and receiving your official copyright registration documentation for that original work. This would also mean that your (registered) copyright would then be added to official worldwide copyright database(s) indicating your authorship.

More info on our website at:


Should Canadian songwriters register with the Library of Congress for international protection?  Or other organization? If so, what are the benefits?

COPYRIGHT VALIDATION – While “registration” of your copyright may be essential should you ever need to enter into legal proceedings to protect your intellectual property; of equal importance, is the ability to “validate” your copyright, as “registration” (depending upon the procedures in the country where you register) may not be adequate on it’s own, to prove your ownership in the absence of additional documentation that “validates” the music and lyrical content, as well as the date of creation.

Typically, for a court-of-law in any country to consider a copyright case, one of the parties must have officially “registered” their copyright in the country where the attending court presides. However, many experts agree that an “official” Canadian copyright registration is actually no guarantee that you could win a court battle to prove your intellectual property rights, unless you can also produce other supporting evidence validating your ownership claim. This is particularly true in Canada, since the copyright department does not archive a copy of your work, or even listen to it at all. On the other hand, the US Library of Congress does file a copy of your work in their archives, so is considered by many to be a more effective process than Canadian copyright registration.

More info on our website at:


What do you offer as a service to help artists with music licensing?

Need Help Licensing “Cover-Songs”? Summit Sound offers services to secure mechanical licenses on your behalf. Our “Mechanical Licensing Application Fee” is $50. per song and is in addition to any mechanical licensing fees due.

Many of our customers choose to have us provide this service to simplify this process, but if you wish to obtain your own licenses, the information on our website will assist you to do so.

More info on our website at:

What are the organizations that musicians should join if they want to increase their chances of licensing their music?  SOCAN, CMRRA, Connect? Other?

I’m not convinced that joining any group (such as a performance rights organization ) will be of any great benefit for writers to get others to license the use of their music, and organizations such as CMRRA and HFA are more of a tool to assist artists to secure licenses than it is to market your own music to others.

While “copyright” defines ownership of a musical work, “performance rights” simply protect the rights of copyright owners, pertaining to the public performance of these same original “works”

Registering your song with a “Performance Rights” organization is thus essential to ensure that you can collect appropriate royalties for it’s use in public performances by yourself or others, (ie. live concerts, streaming, radio air-play, background music etc.) but it could also serve as one more valuable piece of evidence you could add to your arsenal of “validations” of your copyright for any specific work. Membership in a performance rights organization is usually free, but in Canada SOCAN is your only performance rights affiliation option. If you are a US citizen, you can choose between ASCAP, BMI or SESAC to administer your performance rights. These P.R.O.’s in different jurisdictions, also co-operate to protect your rights outside your own country.  Links to these North American P.R.O.’s can be found on our Summit Sound website at:

COVID-19 How has COVID impacted you as a recording studio engineer/ performing artist/producer?  How have you pivoted?

We were required by law to close our studio during Covid-19 as we were not considered an essential service, however despite being allowed to re-open in the first phase of the lowering of government restrictions, since most of our clients are musicians who still have no work, none of them are in a position to record or re-order product since they are not performing.

We were fortunate to have some mastering as well as some audio mixing, editing and video work for CDN & US clients who produce dramatic and animated work that we could do in the studio during the time that we could not have clients visit the studio.

We are available any weekday 24 hrs per day for free consultation on any topic related to custom music production.


David Daw is a co-owner of Summit Sound Inc. and a member of the Covenant Award winning vocal group the Proverbs.  Dave is a graduate of the Loyalist College communications studio techniques programme, chief engineer and president of Summit Sound . Dave works regularly as a producer, recording & mastering engineer,  vocal coach & background vocalist in the studio; and outside the studio as a pro-audio & lighting consultant and installer.

Find out more about Dave on his Facebook page @davedaw and @summitsound or his website



Look for more JAMS Canada PRO Series “Here’s What I Know” Monday #MusicMatters here on our website and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In.

Some contributors also responded with videos – please subscribe to our JAMS Canada YouTube channel: