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FIRST OFF . . .

<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

Canadian songwriters and music publishers are finally getting more than their two-cents’ worth from record companies. In a deal reached between Canada’s major record companies and music publishers, songwriters and publishers will get 5 1/4 cents in royalties to split between them each time an album containing one of their songs is sold. For 65 years, the rate has been 2 cents--a penny for the composer and a penny for the publisher. That meant even if a composer had a song on a hit album that sold 50,000 copies in Canada--the gold record level--he earned only $500 from its sales. His publisher made the same amount. “It was ludicrously low and so unfair to the artist,” said Paul Berry, who represented the music publishers at the bargaining table with the recording industry.


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