snIP/ITs Insights on Canadian Technology and Intellectual Property Law

Copyright Infringement Class Action Over University Course Packs Certified in Quebec: Copibec c. Université Laval

Posted in Copyright, Intellectual Property, Litigation
Keith Rose

On February 8, 2017, the Quebec Court of Appeal certified a class action by Copibec against Université Laval, for copyright infringement.

This decision overturns a Superior Court ruling from 2016, which would have dismissed the claim on the basis that Copibec did not satisfy the eligibility requirements under the province’s Code of Civil Procedure for an association to bring a class action on behalf of its members.

Copibec is a collective management organization representing book publishers, visual artists, and newspaper and periodical authors and publishers in Quebec.

Copibec alleges that, in 2014, Université Laval declined to renew its license agreement with the collective and stopped paying royalties for the reproduction of its members’ works, including for use in course packs. The University instead sought to rely on a fair usage policy.  Copibec asserts both copyright and moral rights infringements.

The decisions to date have been essentially procedural and have not considered the merits of the claims. The case will now proceed to trial in the Quebec Superior Court.