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CMRRA points finger at Apple over iTMS Canada delays

Apple Computer is in the final stages of negotiations with the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (CMRRA) and the record labels represented by Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) over plans to bring its iTunes Music Store to Canada. But according to the CMRRA, the launch date for the Canadian version of the music store remains "entirely in Apple's hands."

The CMRRA is a non-profit music licensing agency, which represents the vast majority of music copyright owners (usually called music publishers) doing business in Canada, while the CRIA is a non-profit trade organization that represent the interests of Canadian companies that create, manufacture and market sound recordings.

"We are as frustrated as you with the fact that iTunes Music Store isn't yet available in Canada," the CMRRA recently told an AppleInsider correspondent who was researching the subject. "We would be delighted to see them here."

The association said that they are presently in negotiations with Apple to license the iTunes Music Store for activity in Canada, and hope the negotiations lead to an agreement soon, but noted that the timing and manner of the service launch remain entirely in Apple's hands.

"As well as completing their agreement with us, they must also make licensing arrangements for the use of the recordings they will distribute, establish their infrastructure and billing system for Canada and develop a marketing plans for Canada," said David Basskin, President of CMRRA Ltd. Basskin said he has no doubt that Apple is capable of completing all of these tasks, but noted that they are all prerequisites to launching the iTunes Music Store in Canada.

Meanwhile, CRIA officials cited Apple's need to iron out logistics like G.S.T. and exchange rates as a source of the longer than expected service delays, but hinted than an announcement was imminent.

"I do know that [Apple] has approached the publishers and they're currently in final negotiations so we should expect news of their launch here in the near future," said Jennifer Hardy, Manager of Administration & Communications for the CRIA.

Unfortunately, requests for further information were referred back to the CMRRA. The CMRRA, in turn, suggests that inquiring parties contact Apple.

"You might do well to convey your interest in the iTunes Music Store to Apple, as I'm sure they would be interested in knowing that there's real demand for their product in this market."