Archive for the ‘Copyright’ category

LSUC: The year in review in copyright (2014)

January 25th, 2015

On January 22, I gave a talk at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s 19th Annual Intellectual Property Law: The Year in Review program. My talk canvassed developments in copyright in 2014. I previously published a paper that summarizes leading cases from Canada, the United States, elsewhere in the Commonwealth and the European Union called Copyright law 2014: the year in review and is available at the link on my blog.

My slides from the LSUC talk is reproduced below and summarizes the following cases:

Canada

  1. Canadian Artists’ Representation v. National Gallery of Canada, 2014 SCC 42

Copyright law 2014: the year in review

January 2nd, 2015

As the creative industries continued to grow economically in importance in 2014, so have the stakes in copyright litigation. Increasingly, the courts have been challenged to resolve complex disputes arising from new uses of works and other subject matter brought about by innovations in technology. While content is often a core and indispensable element of new and innovative services, products or offerings, frequently parties dispute whether the use requires permission and payment to rights holders or can be engaged in without permission or payment. This post reviews some of the highlights of the court battles of 2014 in Canada and other Commonwealth countries, the United States and the European Union.

The Pirate Bay blocked in France

December 8th, 2014

Blocking orders against web sites and services that engage in or enable copyright infringement are common in the European Union. BitTorrent sites like The Pirate Bay are a frequent target of such orders. See, Keeping The Pirate Bays at Bay: using blocking orders to curtail infringements; Blocking orders against ISPs legal in the EU: UPC Telekabel Wien.

Proving copyright infringement: John Kaldor Fabricmaker v Lee Ann Fashions

November 25th, 2014

To prove copyright infringement, the claimant has the onus of proving two things: first the alleged infringer created his or her work by copying from the copyright owner’s work (copying in fact); second, that all or a substantial part of the original work was copied (illicit copying). The analytical steps in each inquiry have been considered in numerous cases. For example, the Supreme Court of Canada reviewed the steps a Canadian court should follow in establishing illicit copying in a “altered copying” case in Cinar Corporation v. Robinson, 2013 SCC 73 (summarized here).

Technological neutrality and copyright: Supreme Court grants leave to clarify scope in CBC v SODRAC 

September 4th, 2014

The Supreme Court granted leave to appeal today in another copyright case, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / Société Radio-Canada v. SODRAC 2003 Inc. The appeal is from the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal which ruled that broadcasters must pay royalties for ephemeral recordings in accordance with the 1990 decision of the Supreme Court in Bishop v. Stevens.

Michael Geist’s attack on artists over Tariff 8 

August 13th, 2014

On May 16, 2014 the Copyright Board released its decision certifying Re: Sound Tariff 8 setting royalty rates for webcasting services in Canada. Re:Sound promptly filed an application for judicial review of the decision, calling it a “significant outlier in the world” that “greatly disadvantages the Canadian music industry in the globalized market place.” Re:Sound’s application was met with a blizzard of support when 70 music organizations released a joint statement publically denouncing the Copyright Board decision. They called it “a serious setback for the music community in Canada” and “for artists and the music companies who invest in their careers”.

Google ordered by BC court to block websites: Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack (Updated)

July 23rd, 2014

In an important decision rendered on June 13, 2014, a Canadian court ordered Google to block a website that was selling goods that violated the trade secrets of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs obtained a default judgment against the defendants. But, the defendants continued to sell the offending goods over the Internet. The plaintiffs, unable to enforce their judgment, asked for Google’s help in blocking the website. Google voluntarily de-indexed specific URL’s requested by the plaintiffs, but this “whac-a-mole” process was ineffective. When Google refused to de-index the offending websites from its search results, the plaintiffs brought a motion against Google for interim relief requiring Google to de-index the websites. Over Google’s objections, in Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack 2014 BCSC 1063, Madam Justice Fenlon of the British Columbia Supreme Court granted the injunction.

YouTube, Facebook, Netflix liable to pay for music in Canada rules Copyright Board

July 21st, 2014

On Friday, the Copyright Board released a decision and certified two SOCAN tariffs, Tariffs 22.D.1 (Internet – Online Audiovisual Services) and 22.D.2 (Internet – User-Generated Content). The years covered by the tariffs are 2007-2013.

The tariffs were certified based on agreements reached between SOCAN and objectors. Between the objectors and other entities which filed submissions, the heavyweights affected by the tariffs participated including Apple, Yahoo!, YouTube,  Netflix, Facebook, Cineplex, the members of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), and the Canadian ISPS Rogers, Bell, and Shaw.

Aereo: SCOTUS rules its service infringing

June 26th, 2014

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a 6 to 3 opinion yesterday that Aereo’s Internet retransmission service infringes copyright. Aereo had tried to architect its television restransmission system to avoid paying copyright royalties or license fees by “renting” dime sized antennae to subscribers. Judge Chin of the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals had called Aereo’s service  “a Rube Goldberg-like contrivance, over-engineered in an attempt to avoid the reach of the Copyright Act and to take advantage of a perceived loophole in the law.” In  American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, Inc., the SCOTUS agreed telling Aereo essentially, it looked like a cable retransmitter, it acted like a cable retransmitter, Congress had specifically amended the Copyright Act to ensure that cable retransmitters publically performed when they delivered programming to subscribers, and that Aereo’s service was indistinguishable in any meaningful way from those services.

Notice and notice regime under C-11 coming into force

June 17th, 2014

The Government announced today that the notice and notice regime established under C-11 is coming into force in January 2015. The delay in bringing these provisions into force was a consultations on possible regulations that the regime permitted. The Government announced that the provisions are coming into force without regulations.

The regime permits copyright owners to send notices to internet service providers and other internet intermediaries claiming infringement of copyright. The notices must be passed on by these service providers to their users. Because there are no regulations, the notices must be processed and passed on by the internet intermediaries without any fees payable by copyright owners.