Blacklock’s Reporter is a small Canadian online news agency. Like many publishers it has challenges in enforcing its copyrights against unauthorized digital copying. To protect its rights it uses a subscription model to license content. It attempts to keep materials from unauthorized access and distribution by using a paywall. Recently the Federal Court in 1395804 Ontario Ltd. (Blacklock’s Reporter) v. Canada (Attorney General), 2016 FC 1255 concluded that the copyright in Blacklock’s news articles was not infringed when copies of articles lawfully obtained under a subscription by one subscriber were emailed to the Department of Finance and were then forwarded to others within the department. The court found the copying was a fair dealing, an exception from infringement under the Copyright Act.
Archive for the ‘Fair Dealing’ category
Does by-passing a subscription paywall to access a news article violate the new prohibitions in the Copyright Act that make it an infringement to circumvent a technological protection measure (TPM)? Yes, according to a decision just released by an Ontario court in 395804 Ontario Limited (Blacklock’s Reporter) v Canadian Vintners Association, 2015 CanLII 65885 (ON SCSM). Can a defendant rely on the new fair dealing defense for education to excuse the copying if the defendant illegally accessed the work by circumventing a TPM to do so? No, the fair dealing defense cannot apply where a work is obtained illegally.
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.
During the copyright reform process leading up Bill C-32 (the Copyright Modernization Act), some proponents of reform had advocated broadening the Copyright Act’s fair dealing exception to a US style fair use regime. This was opposed by a wide spectrum of the Canadian creative community. Eventually the proposal was not adopted when Bill C-11 was finally proclaimed into force. See, Barry Sookman and Dan Glover, Why Canada Should Not Adopt Fair Use: A joint submission to the Copyright Consultation
Last week was a very eventful one in copyright law with three significant copyright rulings from US courts. The US Supreme Court ruled that importing genuine grey market works into the US does not infringe copyright. The Ninth Circuit affirmed a ruling that the Canadian bitTorrent site isoHunt is liable for contributory copyright infringement. Last, a US District Court ruled that Meltwater’s controversial electronic news clipping service is liable for copyright infringement and is not protected by fair use doctrine.
Yesterday, I gave a talk at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s 17h Annual Intellectual Property Law: The Year in Review program. My talk canvassed developments in copyright in Canada and around the world in 2012. My slides are shown below. The associated paper prepared in collaboration with Glen Bloom, with the help of others, is available here.
The following copyright cases from Canada, the USA, UK and Ireland, Australia, and Europe are dealt with in the paper and slides.
Aga Khan v. Tajdin, 2012 FCA 12
The Copyright Board released a decision earlier today dismissing the application of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) for a decision reducing the royalties paid by commercial radio stations to CSI, AVLA/SOPROQ and ArtistI by 90 per cent, from November 7, 2012 until the Board renders a decision on the merits in the commercial radio tariff proceeding.
The CAB contended there is no longer a legal basis for a tariff targeting the reproduction of a sound recording, or a performer’s performance or work that is embodied in a sound recording, by commercial radio stations as a result of the recent Bill C-11 amendments to the Copyright Act and the fair dealing decision of the Supreme Court in SOCAN v. Bell Canada. The CAB also asked the Board to issue a decision rescinding the CSI tariff.
I can’t figure this one out. I’m a lawyer, not a psychologist.
After the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in the Access Copyright case, two academics, Michael Geist and Ariel Katz, stepped up their attacks on Access Copyright.
My mother warned me to be suspicious when people give gratuitous compliments. So, I read with some suspicion the recent blog post by Ariel Katz, who responded to my post Did the Supreme Court eviscerate Access Copyright’s business model? A reply to Michael Geist, generously calling me a “well experienced lawyer” and a “smart well-trained lawyer”.[]
In that post I argued that Michael Geist’s claim that the Supreme Court’s decision eviscerated Access Copyright’s business model did not stand up to scrutiny. I pointed out that his assertions completely ignored the teachings of the Supreme Court that whether something is a fair dealing is a question of fact and that his claims were not based on any analysis to demonstrate why the Supreme Court decision had the effects he claimed.
Michael Geist in a series of recent blog posts claims that the decisions of the Supreme Court in the SOCAN v. Bell Canada, 2012 SCC 36 (SOCAN v Bell) and Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright), 2012 SCC 37 (Access Copyright) cases eviscerated Access Copyright’s business model. He asserts that the cases make all copying that would be subject to a license from Access Copyright fair dealings. Moreover, he claims that publishers would not suffer significant economic harm if all copying permitted under Access Copyright licenses or model licenses were fair dealings and no educational institution, whether elementary, secondary, or post-secondary, paid a penny for all such uses.