A sordid tale

After reading the statement of claim for the "Hockey Night in Canada" theme (available here), it is clear that it is as much about the history of HNIC itself, as it is about the composition. The constant to-ing and fro-ing (Molson/Molstar, CBC)  of ownership of the broadcasts, the growth of product placement marketing, and the need to fill a 500-channel universe with re-broadcasts are all detailed in the claim.

The song is as old as I am; and it is a victim of much of the same changes in the world that the North American mass market has been. I agree that the composer should be compensated fairly for her work. And I agree that the CBC has pushed (and broken) the limits of the licensing agreement as laid out in the claim.

I wish the author well in her fight.

The question that I raise is the need for this fight to be made public. Why? Garnering of public support? If her legal case is strong (as it appears to be), there would be no need to take this fight into the public domain. The courts should be able to hand down justice.

As a reminder to others? I suppose. All firms who assume a license agreement should realize the legal ramifications. There is a cost involved. In this case, there is not a large record company or the RIAA backing her up, but rather Mr. Ciccone and his firm.

So, in the end, the stand I take is that the CBC and Ms. Claman and her representatives should settle this quietly, and not sully the iconic sound that has come to represent a segment of the Canadian life to Canadians. This sound represents a nation unified by television, a nation that could finally see its sports heroes.

And, that unifying force has been drowned out, first by cable, then the decline of the NHL in Canada, and finally, this year, by the lockout that has completely removed the league from the televisions of the world.

And you know what? I would gladly kick in $1.00 a broadcast to watch some of the old grainy games, when Montreal v. Toronto still mattered, and the HNIC theme, the league and the broadcasts were still a national  icon on Saturday nights.

As long as Dolores Claman got $0.05 for every $1.00 I spent, of course.

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