Tag: Copyright

Bitcoin developer fiduciary duty

Bitcoin file format not protected by copyright: Wright v BTC CoreBitcoin file format not protected by copyright: Wright v BTC Core

Technologies associated with blockchains have raised many novel issues of law. One of the issues is whether copyright is capable of subsisting in file formats used in the Bitcoin System. This issue was raised in the recent U.K. case, Wright & Ors v BTC Core & Ors [2023] EWHC 222 (Ch) (07 February 2023). In what can only be described as a technical question of copyright law, Justice Mellor concluded that copyright did not exist in the file format because the fixation requirement for copyright subsistence was not met.…

Barry Sookman Supreme Court appellant lawyer

Supreme Court of Canada confirms all acts of making available are covered by Copyright Act: SOCAN v ESASupreme Court of Canada confirms all acts of making available are covered by Copyright Act: SOCAN v ESA

In a decision just released in Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada v. Entertainment Software Association, 2022 SCC 30, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that Canada fully implemented its WIPO copyright Internet Treaty “making available” obligations through a combination of the communication to the public, reproduction, and authorization rights. In doing so, the Court held that any unauthorized act of making a work available online, and any subsequent unauthorized streaming or downloading of the work, are infringing.…

Copyright Year in Review 2021-2022

Copyright Year in Review 2021-2022Copyright Year in Review 2021-2022

I had the pleasure earlier today to provide a talk to ALAI on “Copyright The Year in Review 2021-2022. I prepared an annotation of the cases covered which included the following cases: 

Pyrrha Design Inc. v. Plum and Posey Inc., 2022 FCA 7

Trimble Solutions Corporation v. Quantum Dynamics Inc., 2021 FC 6

Patterned Concrete Mississauga Inc. v. Bomanite Toronto Ltd., 2021 FC 314

Arc En Ciel RH c. Services Swissnova inc., 2021 QCCS 1187, motion to dismiss appeal denied, Arc En Ciel RH c.

Copyright and IOT and AI

Copyright, AI and IOT: my submission to the consultationCopyright, AI and IOT: my submission to the consultation

Here is a copy of my submission to the copyright consultation on the implications of AI and IOT on copyright.

Thank you for providing an opportunity to provide input into the  Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IOT) copyright consultation.

The copyright consultation raises important issues. The government should be cautious before making any amendments to the Copyright Act given the complexity of the issues and the difficulty in assessing how the changes would work in practice.


I am Senior counsel in the Technology Law Group of McCarthy Tetrault LLP.

copyright update

Copyright Potpourri 2020-2021: my ALAI Canada presentationCopyright Potpourri 2020-2021: my ALAI Canada presentation

I had the pleasure of speaking earlier today at an ALAI Canada meeting to give a copyright law update for 2020-2021. The title of my talk was Copyright Potpourri. The cases canvassed were:

York University v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency, 2020 FCA 77

York University, et al. v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency, SCC Docket 39222

Bell Media Inc. v. GoldTV.Biz, 2019 FC 1432


Entertainment Software Assoc.

Copyright Board making available right decision released  Copyright Board making available right decision released  

The Copyright Board just released its long awaited decision on the scope of the making available right under the Copyright Act. In a well reasoned and thorough decision, the Board ruled that the MAR right applies to the making available of both streams and downloads, acts that have to be exclusive rights in order for Canada to meet its international treaty obligations under the WCT and WPPT.

The Board summarized its reasons as follows:

As will be made clear from the reasons that follow, subsection 2.4(1.1) of the Act deems the act of placing a work or other subject-matter on a server of a telecommunication network in a way that a request from a member of the public triggers the transmission of that work or subject matter, including in the form of a stream or download, whether or not such a request ever takes place, to be a communication to the public by telecommunication.

Norwich orders: who pays under the notice and notice regime? Voltage v DoeNorwich orders: who pays under the notice and notice regime? Voltage v Doe

ISP are often ordered to disclose subscriber information to copyright holders seeking to vindicate their rights. Prior to the Copyright Modernization Act, ISPs were entitled to be paid reasonable compensation for compiling and disclosing the information. In an important ruling yesterday in Voltage Pictures, LLC v Joe Doe #1 2017 FCA 97, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the notice and notice regime established under the CMA changed the law. According to the Court, ISPs are now expected to retain and verify subscriber information without payment of any fees.…

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

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.…

Robert Thomson’s keynote address on the distributionistsRobert Thomson’s keynote address on the distributionists

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.

None of them actually create content, and they certainly have little intention of paying for it, but they do redistribute the content created by others – they would argue that such redistribution is a natural extension of their role as social networks.