June 05, 2008

No more dunt-da-DUNT-da-dunt?

The lady pictured to the right is 77 year old Dolores Claman, composer of the Hockey Night In Canada theme song.

The theme song, otherwise known as Canada's second national anthem, was composed in 1968 and has been a mainstay on CBC broadcasts ever since.

Until now.

With an imposed deadline of June 5th, the two sides apparently can not come to an agreement as per the song's usage in forthcoming seasons. Claman's camp have suggest continuing the current $500 per usage for the next two seasons, followed by "industry standard" raises of 15% in subsequent years. CBC has responded by saying they are prepared to go in a new direction.

My initial thoughts were "what's the big deal?" There will be no games played until October, so this June 5th deadline is as flimsy as a paper house in Oklahoma. Unless they planned on using the music for Olympic field hockey, there is no hurry to get a deal done. Even the CBC is reporting a deal can still be reached. And at $500 per usage, this can not possibly be about money.

It turns out that there is definitely more than meets the eye with this story. You see, back in 2004 Ms. Claman filed a $2.5M lawsuit against the CBC, alleging "the public broadcaster has repeatedly used the distinctive theme song in broadcasts not covered under her licence agreement and has refused requests to negotiate additional fees." The lawsuit is still winding it's way through the Ontario legal system.

And that is where we see the real root of the problem, or at least where the relationship went bad. I suspect the two sides will meet later in the summer and try to hammer out an agreement which will also include the solution to and the withdrawal of the lawsuit.

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