Posts Tagged ‘Copyright’

Technological neutrality, technological neutrality, technological neutrality: CBC v SODRAQ

November 27th, 2015

The Supreme Court released a landmark judgment yesterday in the closely watched case, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. SODRAC 2003 Inc., 2015 SCC 57. The 7-2 judgment of the Court was delivered by Rothstein J (with whom McLachlin C.J., Cromwell, Moldaver, Wagner, Gascon and Côté JJ agreed).

The judgment established the following principles.

Broadcast‑incidental copying engages the reproduction right. While balance between user and right‑holder interests and technological neutrality are important principles under Canadian copyright law, they are interpretive principles which do not trump, and cannot change, the express terms of the Act. The Court rejected the argument advanced by the CBC and CIPPIC, which intervened in the appeal, that the reproduction right should be interpreted in light of the principle of technological neutrality to apply only where the right would be consistent with the purposes of the Copyright Act.

Robert Thomson’s keynote address on the distributionists

September 2nd, 2015

Last month, Robert Thomson, the CEO of News Corp., gave a keynote address at the 2015 Lowy Institute Media Awards dinner.

He spent a good part of that speech addressing challenges to the creative industries, and to  media companies in particular, posed by powerful distribution channels – what he labels “distributionists” – such as Google.

Term extension and respect for artists: a reply to Michael Geist

April 23rd, 2015

On Wednesday, the government announced an extension of the term of protection for performers and makers of sound recordings, increasing the term from 50 years to 70 years. The announcement was widely applauded by Canadian artists, such as Randy Bachman, Bruce Cockburn, Leonard Cohen, Cowboy Junkies, Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), Kardinal Offishall, Serena Ryder, Tom Cochrane, Gordon Lightfoot, Loreena McKennitt, and Triumph, and by organizations representing artists and makers of sound recordings, including the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA), Music Canada, and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA).

Leonard Cohen expressed the sentiments of many artists in saying:

Canada to extend copyright term for artists and record producers

April 21st, 2015

The Canadian Government announced today that it is amending the Copyright Act to extend the term of protection for performers and makers of sound recordings from its current term of 50 years to 70 years. The announcement, which also included a statement that Canada intends to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty for the blind and visually impaired, was made as part of the Government’s Budget and is expected to be enacted as part of a budget implementation bill to be tabled in Parliament within the next few days.

The Budget expressed the Government’s intentions as follows:

Canada to accede to Marrakesh Treaty and extend copyright term in sound recordings

April 21st, 2015

The Canadian Government announced today that it is making amendments to the Copyright Act to enable Canada to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty and to extend the term of copyright protection for performers and makers of sound recordings from 50 to 70 years. The announcement was made as part of the Government’s Budget and is expected to be enacted as part of a budget implementation bill to be tabled in Parliament within the next few days.

The Budget described the Government’s intentions in relation to the Marrakesh Treaty as follows:

Jurisdiction simpliciter in copyright cases: Geophysical Service v Arcis Seismic Solutions

February 8th, 2015

In Club Resorts Ltd. v Van Breda, 2012 SCC 17, the Supreme Court clarified the rules for when a Canadian court can assume jurisdiction over a claim against a party located outside the jurisdiction. Specifically, it clarified the rules for applying the real and substantial test to determining if there is a sufficient connection between the subject matter of the action and the jurisdiction for  determining jurisdiction simpliciter. The Van Breda case did not, however, address how that test would apply to cases involving infringement of copyright.

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 are reproduced below and summarize the following cases:


  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.

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.