Supreme Court denies leave in satellite radio copyright case

Yesterday the Supreme Court denied CSI’s motion for leave to appeal in the CSI v Canadian Satellite Radio Inc. case. The result leaves standing the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in Sirius Canada Inc. v. CMRRA/SODRAC Inc., 2010 FCA 348. This decision dismissed two judicial review applications from the Copyright Board’s decision released in April, 2009.

The decision of the Federal Court of Appeal contained several important copyright rulings. In particular the Court ruled that:

  • When an entity provides a service for use with its own designed and manufactured devices e.g., a satellite radio service and radio receiving set, and the use of the device with the service will necessarily result in automatic copying of the content by the user, the provider of the service (in this case XM and Sirius), can be liable for the copying which occurs on the device under a theory of authorization.
  • The Copyright Act does not extend to acts of reproduction that take place wholly within another country (here the US), even if the act of copying is authorized from Canada or if the act of copying is initiated from Canada. The real and substantial connection test is not applicable to acts that take place wholly within another country.

The Court also held that copying of small amounts of information of a work in a rolling (temporary) buffer is not a reproduction of a substantial part of a work. Similar rulings were  recently made by the European Court of Justice in the Football Association Premier League case, and by the UK High court in ITV Broadcasting Ltd & Ors v TV Catchup Ltd [2011] EWHC 1874 (Pat) (18 July 2011).

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