In the last decade, the Supreme Court of Canada has canvassed many important issues in copyright law including the scope of the rights of reproduction and authorization, what makes a work original, and how to apply the fair dealing defense. In its decision released yesterday in Cinar Corporation v. Robinson, 2013 SCC 73, a unanimous Supreme Court released an important precedent dealing with many other core areas of copyright including the framework for how to assess if a “substantial part” of a work has been reproduced, the assessment of damages for infringement including accounting of profits, non-pecuniary damages and punitive damages, the use of experts in a copyright case, the vicarious liability of directors for infringement, and whether copyright is protected by the Quebec Charter of human rights and freedoms. For copyright lawyers, this case is a goldmine – a treasure trove -of important copyright holdings by the Supreme Court.
Archive for the ‘Reproduction’ category
ReDigi runs a digital music resale business. Buyers of tracks from iTunes or ReDigi can sell them using ReDigi’s service. The service scans hard drives of users and transmits copies of tracks to its cloud. Buyers wanting the music can acquire copies at a discount from iTune’s price from ReDigi. ReDigi was sued for copyright infringement. The novel question was whether a digital music file, lawfully made and purchased, may be resold by its owner through ReDigi under the first sale doctrine. In Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc., 2013 WL 1286134, (S.D.N.Y., March 30, 2013) a US District Court found ReDigi’s service infringing on just about every asserted ground.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in four copyright cases arising from the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal in the France Animation v Robinson, 2011 QCCA 1361 case. The main issue in the appeal was whether sketches and characters of the proposed TV series Robinson curiosity were infringed by the series Robinson sucro. The trial judge found infringement and the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment, in part. The webcast from the argument is being archived and will be available here.
The copyright bar has been eagerly awaiting the release of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada in the five copyright appeals which were heard on December 6 and 7, 2011. The Court announced earlier today that the decisions will be released this Thursday, July 12, 2012.
So you want to protect computer programs by copyright, the Oracle v Google and SAS v WPL cases (Updated)June 3rd, 2012
Are computer programs protected by copyright? That issue was a hot one three decades ago when courts began to struggle with whether these intangible utilitarian objects could be protected. Were they machine parts outside the realm of copyright or literary works, the kind of subject matter that copyright protects? This issue was quickly resolved in favor of copyright protection, first by the courts in the US, Australia, Canada and elsewhere in a series of cases involving the Apple II operating system and in other cases, then by international conventions and treaties and worldwide copyright amendments by governments that wanted to be sure programs could not be blatantly pirated.
Earlier today, the Full Court of Australia released its decision in the National Rugby League Investments Pty Limited v Singtel Optus Pty Ltd  FCAFC 59 (27 April 2012) case. In a note made available along with the reasons of the court for reversing the decision of the primary judge, the court summarized its decision as follows:
In May, 2011 a Belgium appellant court released an important decision finding Google liable for copyright infringement by offering its Google News service to subscribers in Belgium at the Google.be and Google.com websites. The decision in Google Inc v Copiepresse et al, Brussels Court of Appeal (9th Chamber) May 5, 2011 suggests that services such as Google News cannot be legally offered in many countries around the world even from servers located in North America.
On February 14, 2012, the UK Copyright Tribunal in the Meltwater Holding BV v The Newspaper Licensing Agency Limited case suggested Google News and the Google Alerts service would also be illegal in the UK without a license from publishers.