Zero Rating Certification Program

Under Canada's Copyright Act, it is legal for individuals to copy legally obtained recorded music for their own personal use. In exchange, there is a mechanism to compensate those with rights in that music: royalties for private copying.  The Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) is entrusted to collect these royalties from manufacturers and importers of blank media in Canada.  At  present, this levy applies to the following forms of blank media: audio cassette, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R audio, CD-RW and Minidisc.  It does not, however, apply to mp3-type devices such as Ipods. 

Because many organizations and individuals use blank media for purposes other than to copy recorded music, an exemption to this levy was created.  This exemption is otherwise known as the Zero-Rating Certification Program.

As professional musicians, qualifying AFM members are eligible for this exemption!  To be given an exemption, applying musicians must be engaged in activities that warrant certification into the program; including activities such as backing up recordings from a home or commercial studio, or, creating CD’s for archival purposes.    The only major activities that would disqualify a member from this program are purchasing royalty-free blank media for the purpose of sale or distribution. 

Signing up for this program is quite simple.  Interested members can visit the CPCC’s website ( and complete a brief application form here.  Once completed, the CPCC will review the application and forward it to the CFM for additional assessment and for membership verification.   Once approved, the CPCC will provide the applicant with a certificate number, a list of participating retail locations and all other information necessary to begin purchasing media levy-free.

For more information on this program, visit the CPCC’s website ( and select “zero-rating & exemptions” from the menu.  From there, by selecting “zero-rating for buyers” you can find all the information regarding the zero-rating program, including a handy FAQ and a link to the application form.  Alternatively, please contact the Canadian office of the AFM @ 416.391.5161 ext 229 or 226 or

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