If you’ve ever shopped for a used car, you likely know the two popular services, autotrader.ca and CarGurus. In a decision released earlier this week in Trader v CarGurus, 2017 ONSC 1841, Trader (the owner and operator of autotrader.ca) was awarded statutory damages of $305,604 against CarCurus for infringements of its copyrights in photographs of vehicles. The decision written by Justice Conway of the Ontario Superior Court contains some important interpretations of the Copyright Act including in relation to the scope of the new making available right, the copyright defenses for information location tools and fair dealing, and the calculation of statutory damages.
Posts Tagged ‘fair dealing’
Here is an Op-ed of mine that ran earlier today in the Hill Times. The post below includes endnotes not in that article.
In his Hill Times Op-ed (Canadian copyright reform requires a fix on the fair dealing gap, Dec. 5, 2016) Michael Geist takes issue with the need to address the “value gap” that is hurting Canadian artists, writers, and other members of the creative class. He argues instead that Canada faces a need to address a “fair dealing gap” in our copyright laws. There is no such need and his arguments don’t withstand scrutiny.
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.
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.
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
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.
Earlier this week, the Australian Law Reform Commission published an Issues Paper titled Copyright and the Digital Economy. The paper asked 55 questions about copyright and possible reforms to Australia’s copyright laws. The paper discusses many reforms debated in Canada during the 2009 Copyright Consultations and more recently during the debates and examination of The Copyright Modernization Act (Bills C-32 and C-11) in the House of Commons Special Legislation Committee. These include new exceptions to permit copying for private uses such as format and time shifting, online uses for social media, uses by libraries, archives and for education, and safe harbours for Internet intermediaries.
Just over two weeks ago, the Supreme Court released its opinion in the Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency, 2012 SCC 37 (Access Copyright) fair dealing case. In that proceeding, the Copyright Board examined whether copying of short extracts of works for classroom teaching purposes was a fair dealing.* The Board and the Federal Court of Appeal found it was not. The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and remitted the matter to the Board to reconsider its decision in accordance with the Court’s construction of the fair dealing factors.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court released reasons in the five copyright appeals heard back to back on December 6 and 7, 2011 in the following cases:[i]
- Entertainment Software Association v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, 2012 SCC 34 (ESA v SOCAN)
- Rogers Communications Inc. v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, 2012 SCC 35 (Rogers v SOCAN)
- Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada v. Bell Canada, 2012 SCC 36 (SOCAN v Bell)
- Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright), 2012 SCC 37 (Access Copyright)
- Re:Sound v. Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada, 2012 SCC 38 (RE:Sound)
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.