Hockey Theme

Saved by CTV

- June 6, 2008 -


Open Letter (which gets longer every day)
From John Ciccone -
Publishing Copyright Administrator:


Click for Short List of Events, Dates and Correspondence


First: thank you a million times over to everyone for so many good wishes and kind words of support. You can't know how much it meant. Last week, it was probably the only thing that gave us spark to keep going. Most days I'm the only one here (what they call a very small business), but I didn't really feel alone. Bless you all.

Well... it's been a whirlwind. Friday evening when the CBC announced that they were moving ahead with their contest to find a new theme song --- obviously dropping the old one, we realized that we'd have to accept the fact that all that we've put up with, all that we've endured over the last lo-o-o-ong six years (yes, 'six' years) was wasted.

The Spin Cycle: What you're not hearing.

I myself thought that after slogging it out for so long, I'd be able to keep standing up for Dolores' rights as long as need be. But in my heart of hearts, looking back to all that the CBC said and did over the last six years, and especially over the last year, it is clear in my opinion that they just wanted to be rid of the song all along.

Perhaps they didn't like the fact that they didn't own the song... or that they couldn't control it by forcing their size on you. Or perhaps they just wanted it on their terms which was a small part of what others had offered in the past.

Years of hearing over and over and over, that the song simply wasn't that important. That people didn't care that much. That they'd forget about it.

I've been told by the CBC lawyer and executive "I could give a kid in his basement with a synthesizer 20 grand and own the song for life"... I confess, it wears you down. We only fought for that because you told us differently.

When you asked about playing it in your wedding ceremony, or school project, or to say goodbyes to family and friends, we heard each one seriously. And we knew that it was much more personal to you too.

Since that first meeting in autumn of 2002 when another CBC lawyer and executive looked at me and said "We'll just drop the song if we don't get what we want", I knew we were in trouble.

Trouble because of their decision to 'bully' one of the most forgiving, and fair-minded people I'd ever met. This is how they chose to treat Dolores, the woman who forgave 25 years of unlicensed use. Who agreed to a royalty fee worth a fraction of the cost of one netcam per game. All because she thought it'd be best to have an amicable, friendly relationship and move ahead to the future. Better for everyone and maybe even for Canadian history. To this day, 6 years later, I still do not understand the mindset that would make that call and turn against Dolores.

Anyway, if there's anything you take with you, I hope that you'll remember this: we wanted badly to fix things in private. We never felt that the fans who just wanted to watch the game and enjoy the show and enjoy the music, should have to be bothered by someone else's behind-the-scenes crap.

For this reason, it dragged out for two-and-a-half years (yes two-and-a-half years) before realizing we'd have to turn to the courts to help us. I suggest that many would not have tolerated it for two-and-a-half weeks.

We also suggested to keep the lawsuit separate, and offered to settle for a fraction of the claim and legal costs "in the interest of preserving Canadian culture".

The prob here is that over the past year, the CBC couldn't stop repeating that "we can't do business with this 'cloud' of a lawsuit hanging over our head". Well... I have an idea... don't do something that results in a lawsuit... and you won't have a 'cloud'.

BTW, folks, as a matter of public record, you can obtain from the courts the transcripts of CBC executives in discovery under oath. CBC's direct responses to our claim can be found there. I'm confident that you would find it compelling. (Or have a look at Tea Maker's Blog for excerpts from the deposition. I understand this blog was set up by CBC employees during their lockout, and participation is still primarily by CBC employees);

I cannot read minds, so to those who've asked if the CBC were trying to 'leverage' a new license against the lawsuit, I do not know.

As another solution, we gave the CBC a license that was virtually identical to the one we had in place for most of the last ten years. This was the $500 per 3-hour game broadcast idea... not the multimillion dollar sole option that Mr. Moore of the CBC painted on this evening's news!

But had they signed that same $500 license any time up to Friday evening, they'd have the song today. And for years to come. Instead, they chose to try another 'bullying' job at one minute to five and tell us we had to accept their deal or they were going ahead with the contest, and that no-one would care, and if the public of Canada did care they'd forget about it soon enough, it's not worth continuing the same license... and just about anything else that can continue to drag this song and it's composer through the mud. As you can see, instead of signing our offer, CBC announced their contest.

We also suggested that they could purchase it the way any music publisher buys a song. That's an easy one: take the average annual earnings of a song, multiply by 13, there's your price tag. Simple as that. At that same time I showed, with facts, how the song could earn and save money for the CBC. All going towards recovering their costs. Maybe taxpayers might like that idea.

I tried pointing out what other music publishers (and in the past week, non-music companies) were seeing: even though CBC says that for one year they are given $1 billion and earn another few hundred million selling commercial airtime (see annual reports on, this would likely be a wise investment capable of earning for the CBC. 

No-one was suggesting that they throw their money into a hole in the wall. It would also give CBC complete control over how or where the song was used.

Mr. Moore doesn't mention this in his public statements. Nor does he indicate that he had numerous choices. Not just a purchase option.

I'd even suggested selling the song to a 3rd party. CBC would have a new partner, still use the song, and we'd be fine with considering the purchase price to cover our legal bills and damages, and we could drop the suit. Everybody wins.

I wonder if there were fears over CBC having to deal with someone new. Perhaps someone less forgiving than Dolores. Or, I wonder if the thinking might be 'If they don't sell to someone else and are stuck holding the song, they might want to accept any kind of deal we put in front of them'. Just starting to scratch the surface on that theory.

But this is getting serious now, folks. Here's an example of how the CBC is using it's media power:

I'd been given less than 24 hours to review and accept a deal that seemed extremely different from the past, and frankly, pretty rotten. It felt like being pressured to accept or everything we've endured for the last 6 years was lost. And we'd then be painted as the bad guys.

I had asked earlier that afternoon for a meeting on Monday. This one I wanted to talk to my client about (who'd already been going through hell listening to the 'misinformation') but she was 5 time zones away. Then the real fun began.

I received email back that in order to have a meeting, I'd have to tell them if their proposal (the rotten one) was generally acceptable and that Dolores would be standing by ready to sign off and anything else that made me feel like I had a gun to my head.

Bottom line on the deadlines: less than a half-hour later, at one minute before 5 on Friday, I was sent another email. This one said that CBC has "a 5pm meeting to decide on whether to announce our contest tonight. If we have the basis for an agreement, we will hold off. If not, we'll go ahead with the announcement"...

Maybe I was in the restroom during my 60 second warning, but we had to assume (again) that they were launching their contest as they'd threatened to do so many times before. I faxed out a short notice of that and it's posted at the bottom of this page.

But then I see CBC's own web announcement at:

CBC Link

Mr. Moore is quoted as saying (the article's still there):

"We have no real idea why the deal fell apart," he said. "We're not sure why because the other side hasn't communicated with us. You have to ask the other side what happened."

So... as I'm reading this, I'm holding in my hand printouts of the four emails exchanged between us that afternoon...

Must be those damn invisible fonts again.

Or maybe I've been dealing with an imposter evil twin. But if anybody only knew that side, by reading that announcement, we'd be wrongfully painted as terrible people.

By now Dolores was so depressed about the treatment by the CBC over 6 years, and especially over the last year leading up to this week, she said "no, they really don't want it. Better that they do their contest, find a new theme, and just let the old one disappear and die a dignified death."

It was a tough weekend.

Dolores has two wonderful children, Madeleine and Michael. Madeleine posted this blog. Nice close-up perspective and very thoughtful responses. One line was particularly moving. Madeleine wrote: "To a composer, their music is like their baby - they don't want to see it buried, or forgotten, or sidelined. And my mother, being a rather strong woman, just wasn't willing to be bullied and threatened any more."

Nothing more need be said.

Update: CBC executives and lawyers must learn that we will continue to call them out on statements they make in public. Especially those which exploit the media broadcasting network that they have at their disposal... In this same article, Mr. Moore states "We offered to continue paying the richest licence fee in Canadian television, which was the price they asked for," said Moore. "

Well, here we go again. Greed mongering. What this article does not point out is:

  1. They produce more than 100 three-hour episodes in a season! 

Many episodic series average 8 to 12 episodes per year. They're 1/2 hour or 1 hour long. I mean, hopefully, there isn't some poor cameraman at the CBC earning 12¢ an hour just because the guy was hired on to HNIC and now has to divide his paycheck by an enormous number of shows he's working on!

Whether you're renting a drill, or hiring a swimming teacher, many things today end up charging by the hour, day or time that it is being used. It's realistic. Mr. Moore has only underlined how generous Dolores has been. Rumoured that the Who earn thousands of dollars for one episode of CSI. Certainly more than $500, I'm sure. I'm also sure that if they did 100 episodes of CSI instead of 20, that annual fee doesn't stand still :-)

  1. If it was the price we "asked for", we didn't ask the CBC to add the following to the previous 10-years:

  • CBC's proposal included extending the territory of Canada to the balance of the world. This represents a 2,000% increase. They wanted it thrown in;


  • CBC wanted the ability to continuously renew at their option as long as they had NHL rights, plus 1 year (think about that last part). Industry standard increases were not mentioned. Also see next point;


  • CBC wanted immunity from injunctions meaning they could make the most egregious offenses, breaches, infringements (think of their track record) and we wouldn't be able to do anything about it. Wonder what they had in mind;


  • They wanted total control over our ability to license it to anyone else (company video, ringtone, Mike Myer's film) but not have to pay for exclusivity as everyone else in the world does. They wanted to simply 'assume' this control. Hand it over, punk;


  • CBC wanted a settlement that barely covered our legal bills, let alone losses. For actions against what they've been admitting to under oath. (Those public records can be accessed by anyone. Or have a look at Tea Maker's Blog for excerpts from the deposition. I understand this blog was set up by CBC employees during their lockout, and participation is still primarily by CBC employees);

I do not know how Mr. Moore can call this the same license.

  • Finally, CBC offered a buyout at less than 1/3 value offered by publishers wanting to buy the song over the past year. That was also supposed to include losses, damages and legal bills. It is no wonder that Dolores' daughter's blog proffers that the CBC appeared to be just shoving lousy deals in front of our face so that we'd refuse, and they could finally drop the song, and blame us.

In the same article Mr. Moore states: "We also offered to buy it outright for a high six-figure sum." Please see above.  I'd be a fool to disregard industry standards to place value on a song. As I once mentioned to him "That's like my saying give me your fancy car and condo for 1/3 the value and stop taking a paycheck. Would you consider it?" It was not considered.

This is the no-brainer stuff. Whether it's an island in Fiji or your hat, a thing has a value. 

After this stuff hit the papers last week, we had four parties approach us to buy the song (Ed: a fifth has just advised they were trying to get hold of us too). CTV was one of them. But we couldn't and wouldn't do a deal with anybody since we still had that offer open to the CBC. After the CBC announced the contest to drop the theme on Friday, things happened unbelievably fast. In two hours Monday morning, I accomplished more with CTV than I could in six years with the CBC.

I did not go back to the other 3 parties. We had no desire to start a bidding war. By now, it was just a light at the end of the tunnel that finally wasn't a train. Let us off.

It did seem right. CTV was professional and trustworthy. They acted with integrity by stepping back while CBC still had our offer open to them. They treated Dolores, her family, and her song just plain nice. A bit of respect was refreshing to see. CTV wanted to keep the song alive for Canadians, and associated with hockey. If they didn't, it would've simply died on the vine and everyone would've forgotten it.

For the record, we did not initiate any of the four offers. In fact, I never would've guessed that they'd come in or I'd at least have explored them over the past year while this whole thing started spiraling into a cornfield. I've promised my confidentiality but hope that someday everyone can know about the others as well. It's quite fascinating.

CBC was fine with finding a new theme. Simply, it's their right to do so.

The bizarre inconsistencies continue to come out of the CBC and frankly I'm not smart enough to know what the hay's going on. But I guess the CBC heard your strong voices after all. While driving to work on Monday, I hear a CBC announcement for both the contest to find a new theme, and now an offer to us to go to arbitration. Both in the same news story. So, which is it folks? New theme? Save theme? I simply do not have it in me to try and figure out anymore. I want my central nervous system back :-)

I'm not involved with the song anymore, but I know it's in good hands. With CTV not only the song is appreciated, but the desires of the fans are too.

Let me know if there's anything I can provide further info on.

This just in: there's a good article in Macleans Magazine. I understand it's the cover story.

The article tries to point out CBC's handling (or perhaps mishandling) of a number of things and encourages us all to take a serious look. The article can be seen at: 

- Maclean's Article

- CTV Interview  


Jun-15-08: I was pointed to a blog today. (Again I thank everyone for being so kind and supportive.) I found a post derogatory towards Dolores. Aside from the sensitivity of an artist, she has the strength to take care of herself too. But that doesn't mean I can't keep standing up for my friends. If I may, here's my reply:

Here’s the real story, and not a fabricated or assumed one:

I was on the phone with Dolores in 1993 when I pointed out that she'd been entitled to 25 years of royalties that the CBC did not pay (confirmed in Maclean's by one of the first HNIC producers, Ralph Melanby). I heard Dolores' response which was "Oh. My. Well, no. I should’ve known. I’m not going to hold someone else responsible for my lack of knowledge. Why don’t we just see if we can all agree on a fair license fee and move forward in a friendly way”.

The greedy person you’re trying to paint would’ve said “Let me find a lawyer. I’ve just hit the lottery.” She didn’t even ask to sleep on it. She decided on the spot.

As for me, even if I received 100% commission, 100% of zero is zero. I not only fully supported her decision, I was proud to represent that decision. It’s the good part of humanity.

This forgiving of 25 years in conjunction with being comfortable with $400 - $500 per 3-hour game exemplifies how Dolores is nothing short of gracious, compassionate and fair. During these 6 years of this CBC nightmare it has indeed crossed my mind that maybe they thought she could be kicked around more easily given her amicable disposition.

These days, it sometimes seems that there are more people with the propensity to win big at all costs. Or to hurt or take advantage of others. So when you meet a one-in-a-million person like Dolores, it kind of picks your spirits up. Over the years I’ve seen countless displays of quiet generosity and charity from that woman. When someone paints her as the opposite, with no basis of fact or reality, it’s just as crushing to one’s spirit.

Anonymous, since I know first hand all facts, I know that you do not. I'd once again encourage you to keep asking questions, then voice your opinions.

Click Here for List of Events, Dates and Correspondence

The Spin Cycle: What you're not hearing.

Your comments and views are always welcome here. I respect your rights to express your perspective and encourage you to keep doing so, no matter what they are.

Thanks for letting me have the greatest job in Canada... getting to know you through this song.

Best regards,
John Ciccone

June 9, 2008

(rev: Jun-12; Jun-13; Jun-14; Jun-17-08)


CTV Live Newscast

Wayne Gretzky, the "Ambassador of Hockey", on CBC's Hockey Night In Canada, mentions the Song


Articles, Blogs...

Dolores Claman with John Ciccone

September, 2002

For release June 9, 2008:

CTV Saves 'The Hockey Theme'; Acquires Exclusive Rights to "Canada's Second National Anthem"

CTV Inc. together with Copyright Music & Visuals today announced that CTV Inc. has acquired all rights to 'The Hockey Theme' in perpetuity, preserving the song's legacy and ensuring it will be heard on national television for years to come. "The Hockey Theme" song will now live on CTV Inc properties TSN, RDS and across Canada on CTV during coverage of the upcoming 2010 Olympics as outlined below.

The deal between CTV and the song's administrator, Copyright Music & Visuals, was agreed to in principle after the CBC publicly announced last Friday at 5 p.m. ET that a deal could not be reached with the rights holders. Due diligence was completed earlier today.

The song, which was created by Vancouver's Dolores Claman in 1968, will now be used in NHL broadcasts on TSN and RDS beginning this Fall. In addition, CTV will utilize the song as part of its hockey coverage during the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

"The song has a long and storied history in Canadian sports and has become ingrained in the hearts and minds of hockey fans across the country. It is an iconic tune, embraced by Canadians everywhere, and we felt it was imperative to save it. We know we will be in hockey forever, so there's no doubt this acquisition will create value for us," said Rick Brace, President, Revenue, Business Planning and Sports, CTV Inc. "It's an honour and a privilege to own such a cherished piece of Canadiana."

"I am very moved by how so many Canadians have taken the hockey theme to heart. We are so pleased the song has found a new home," said Claman. "Throughout our negotiations, CTV displayed a tremendous amount of respect for my family and the song. The Hockey Theme means so much to Canadians, and we know it's in good hands with CTV."

The announcement complements TSN's new six-year multi-platform NHL deal, featuring more coverage of Canadian teams than ever before with at least one Canadian team in every game. Earlier this year, RDS extended its exclusive rights agreement with the Montreal Canadiens through the 2011-12 season.

CTV, together with TSN and RDS, boast the most powerful and prestigious sports programming lineup in the country featuring the NHL and Stanley Cup Playoffs, NFL games and the Super Bowl, every CFL game including the Grey Cup, International Hockey including the World Juniors, NBA, Blue Jays Baseball, all four golf Majors, all four tennis Grand Slam events, Season of Champions Curling, NASCAR and F1, and this month's NBA Finals and UEFA EURO® 2008.

About Copyright Music & Visuals: John Ciccone is founder of Copyright Music & Visuals (CMV), which has specialized in copyright clearance and music consulting since 1985. Since 1993, John has had the pleasure of administering the publishing copyright in The Hockey Theme, composed by Dolores Claman.

About CTV: CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster, offers a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming. It has the number-one national newscast, CTV National News With Lloyd Robertson, and is the number-one choice for prime-time viewing. CTVglobemedia Inc. is Canada's premier multi-media company which owns CTV Inc. and The Globe and Mail. CTV Inc. also owns radio stations across the country, and leading national specialty channels. Other CTVglobemedia investments include an interest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and in Dome Productions, a North American leader in the provision of mobile high definition production facilities. More information about CTV may be found on the company website at

- CTV-

For more information: Bonnie Brownlee, CTV Inc., 416.332.7190 or Andrea Goldstein, CTV, 416.332.7575 or



For release June 6, 2008:

Hockey Night In Canada Theme Announcement

Hockey Night In Canada Theme Announcement:

This afternoon John Ciccone communicated with Scott Moore of CBC and requested a meeting on Monday to further discuss the issues surrounding the Hockey Theme.

At 4:59 PM (one minute before CBC's deadline) Mr. Moore advised that CBC intended to proceed with an announcement of a National contest unless he had the basis for an agreement.

Ms. Claman is saddened and disappointed that CBC is not prepared to negotiate further. A further statement will be made on Monday, June 9th at 5:00 PM.

For a more detailed history of the theme see:

For further information contact:
John R. Ciccone
Copyright Music & Visuals

June 4, 2008

Dear Friends:

It's a sad day.

Effective immediately following the last playoff game of this season the CBC will cease using the Hockey Night in Canada Theme.

A more formal announcement follows below, but first a small but important message...  Dolores Claman, composer of the song, would like to express her deepest gratitude to all the many kind people who over the years have said how much the song means to them.

Each time someone called or emailed to use the song in their wedding ceremony, or school project, or family event... or just to tell a story about great childhood memories, it's been a tremendous honour. And though we've received many, none will ever be forgotten.

We will continue with our sheet music, CD, etc. as long as we can and as long as you continue to ask for it.

We'll still be here if you'd like to contact us for any reason. Feel free to send email to John Ciccone:  

Once again, thank you.

John R. Ciccone
Copyright Music & Visuals

For release June 4, 2008:

Hockey Night In Canada Theme to End:

This evening's Stanley Cup game 6 may be the last occasion that the widely recognized “Dunt- da-DUNT- da-dunt” refrain of the Hockey Night in Canada Theme (sometimes referred to as "Canada's Second National Anthem") will ever be heard in association with Hockey Night in Canada.

The composition was written by Dolores Claman in 1968 and has become one of the longest running theme songs in broadcasting history.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation ("CBC") has advised the composer, owner and administrator of the musical composition that it is not prepared to enter into a new license agreement with respect to the use of the theme. The current license agreement expires at the conclusion of the 2007/08 NHL playoffs.

The CBC has been offered a new license on terms that are virtually identical to those that have existed for the past decade (the cost to CBC to use the theme is approximately $500.00 for each game broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada). However, the CBC has chosen to move in a new direction.

Although the parties have been involved in litigation since 2004, this has not interfered with CBC’s ongoing use of the Theme in conjunction with Hockey Night In Canada - Similarly, the resolution of the outstanding litigation is not a pre-condition of the proposed new license agreement.

Dolores Claman states: "I am saddened by the decision of the CBC to drop the Hockey Night in Canada Theme after our lengthy history together. I nevertheless respect its right to move in a new direction."

For release June 5, 2008:

Hockey Night In Canada Theme Response:

As of noon on Wednesday June 4, 2008 the CBC had made it clear that it was not prepared to enter into a new license agreement for the Hockey Night in Canada Theme. Email communications between the parties (including the statement: "I am sorry that we seem unable to continue our relationship" by Mr. Scott Moore of CBC) corroborate this fact and the conclusion of negotiations.

The CBC rejected our proposals set to expire on Friday, and replaced it with their own earlier deadline of Wednesday.

We were therefore surprised by the representation of Mr. Moore of late this afternoon that the CBC "thought" the negotiations were ongoing!

Late this afternoon, the CBC reversed its position and delivered a proposal for a new license of the theme. We can only assume this abrupt reversal is due to the remarkable public response to our announcement of last evening. We are honoured by the public's fondness for the song - considered a piece of our heritage. The offer advanced late this afternoon is presently being reviewed.

Dolores Claman, composer of the song has been deeply touched by the strong show of support she received today from fans around the world. "I wrote this song with a picture of warriors in my head…hockey warriors. Now it would seem the hockey fans are the true warriors. Thank you so much for all of your kind words and anecdotes about how much the song means to you."

For a more detailed history of the theme see:

For further information contact:
John R. Ciccone
Copyright Music & Visuals







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