Copyright law offers up a panoply of interesting questions, which often verge on the philosophical. One such question is: if one tries to make a copy of something, but the copy is defective and useless, has one made a copy at all? According to a recent decision of Master Hanebury, of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, the answer could be yes.… Continue Reading
On June 8, 2015, the Minister of Industry introduced Bill C-65, with the short title Support for Canadians with Print Disabilities Act. This Bill amends provisions of the Copyright Act dealing with exceptions intended to facilitate access to alternate format works by the visually impaired and other persons with so-called “print disabilities”. These changes are intended to implement (and enable Canada to accede to) the Marrakesh Treaty, as announced in the federal budget. (See pp. 21, 281, 286.)
The proposed amendments broaden the exception in section 32, including by removing the exclusion of large print books … Continue Reading
Copyright infringement is normally a factual question – it doesn’t matter whether one intended to copy a substantial part of someone else’s original expression if, in fact, one did so – but there are circumstances where the alleged infringer’s state of mind does matter. Knowledge is relevant to secondary infringement under s. 27 of the Canadian Copyright Act, or to the assessment of statutory damages under s. 38.1, for example. Willful infringement may also be relevant to the applicable limitation period, to the assessment of costs or punitive damages, or to piercing the corporate veil.… Continue Reading
On December 31, 2014, the Canada Gazette published an order proclaiming into force sections 2, 5 and 6, subsection 7(6) and sections 43, 44 and 60 of the Combating Counterfeit Products Act, c. 32, S.C. 2014, as of January 1, 2015. The Act itself received Royal Assent on December 9, 2014.
The principal effect of this order is to bring into force new border enforcement measures intended to combat the importation or exportation of trade-mark or copyright-infringing goods. These measures involve three main features:
- Prohibitions on importation and exportation of infringing copies or goods under the Copyright
The Supreme Court granted leave to appeal on September 4, 2014 in another copyright case, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / Société Radio-Canada v. SODRAC 2003 Inc. The appeal is from the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal which ruled that broadcasters must pay royalties for ephemeral recordings in accordance with the 1990 decision of the Supreme Court in Bishop v. Stevens.
In the Court of Appeal, CBC argued that Bishop v Stevens was no longer good law, having been overruled by a series of decisions of the Court which had, in various circumstances, made references to the … Continue Reading
An employee takes a photograph of a customer on the employer’s premises. The employee has a signed employment agreement which states that all materials developed during the term of the contract are property of the employer. The employer obtains a copy of the photograph and uses it in social media. Later, the employee is terminated for cause.
The former employee sues for copyright infringement and, in the case of Mejia v. LaSalle College International Vancouver Inc., 2014 BCSC 1559, wins. (The case also involved wrongful dismissal and defamation claims which were unsuccessful.)… Continue Reading
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.
The decision of the Board is important. Its significance extends to both the … Continue Reading
Careful observers of the United States Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision yesterday in American Broadcasting Cos., Inc. et al v. Aereo, Inc. may have detected a small Canadian flavour in the majority’s reasoning. As will be revealed, this was no coincidence, and McCarthy Tétrault played a small role by filing an amicus brief on behalf of a coalition of international rights holders and copyright scholars that drew the Court’s attention to the need to interpret the US Copyright Act in a technologically neutral way, as similar copyright laws have been construed by the Supreme Court of Canada and the European Court … Continue Reading
The Government announced today that the notice and notice regime established under C-11 is coming into force. The delay in bringing these provisions into force was a consultations on possible regulations that the regime permitted. The Government announced that the provisions are coming into force without regulations.
The regime permits copyright owners to send notices to internet service providers and other internet intermediaries claiming infringement of copyright. The notices must be passed on by these service providers to their users. Because there are no regulations, the notices must be processed and passed on by the internet intermediaries without any fees … Continue Reading
In Svensson v Retriever Sverige AB, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) recently ruled that hyperlinks to freely available Internet content do not amount to a copyright infringement.
The Svensson case involves a dispute between journalists and a media search service company. Svensson, Sjögren, Sahlman and Gadd (the “Journalists”) wrote and held copyrights to press articles which were published in the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper and on its website. Retriever Sverige AB (“Retriever”) operated a website that provides its clients with hyperlinks to articles published by other websites.
The Journalists … Continue Reading
On March 3, McCarthy Tétrault partner Steven Mason filed an Amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in the high profile Aereo case in support of the broadcasters and studio appellants who are challenging Aereo’s business model of re-transmitting TV broadcasts over the Internet without paying retransmission royalties. The brief argues that the international, bi-lateral and multilateral treaties the United States agreed to requires US courts to provide a broad technologically neutral right of communication to the public that would fully cover Aereo’s service.
The brief is signed by a “who’s who” of international rights holders, including the International … Continue Reading
While 2013 was not a seminal year for Canadian copyright cases when compared to 2012, there were certainly some memorable decisions which provide a worthwhile read by any standards. The following is a sampling of some of the most interesting cases of the year. A fuller description of the below decisions can be found in Barry Sookman’s paper which was recently presented at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s 18th Annual Intellectual Property Law: The Year in Review program. A link to the paper can be found on Sookman’s blog.
The most important copyright case of the year … Continue Reading
At McCarthy Tétrault’s Toronto Technology Law Summit, Bram Abramson, Daniel Glover, James Archer, Bob Nakano, Pat McCay, Naseem Malik, and David Tait, were featured in the Six Minute Lawyer panel. Each lawyer provided brief updates on a variety of topical and timely tech law issues, ranging from the regulation of commercial communications to tax issues.
Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules
Bram Abramson provided an overview of the CRTC Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules (“UTRs”), which are overseen by the Commission’s Compliance and Enforcement Section. These rules cover unsolicited phone calls or faxes for the purpose of solicitation. … Continue Reading
Keith Rose is an Articling Student at McCarthy Tétrault.
On November 7, 2012, with the publication of Order in Council P.C. 2012-1392 (the Order) in the Canada Gazette, the long-awaited Copyright Modernization Act, S.C. 2012, c. 20 has mostly been proclaimed into force.
This Act was the fourth attempt at a major revision of Canada’s Copyright Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-42 since 2005. Three previous Bills died on the Parliamentary order paper; however, in this case, the fourth time was the charm. Bill C-11 received Royal Assent on June 29, 2012.
Many observers had anticipated that the new law would … Continue Reading
The Supreme Court recently granted leave to appeal in four copyright cases arising from the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal in the France Animation v. Robinson, 2011 QCCA 1361 case. Robinson alleged that Cinar’s cartoon Robinson Sucroë was a copy of his own work Robinson Curiosité. The trial judge found infringement and the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment, in part, but reduced the damages award.
The cases canvass many copyright issues including:
- the application of the standard of originality to partially completed work
- the test for infringement when there has been substantial alterations and improvements
If your organization is currently thinking about establishing or acquiring a technology business in Canada, the 2012 edition of Doing Business in Canada, written by McCarthy Tétrault, will prove to be a valuable resource. The guide provides a broad overview of the legal considerations that non-residents should take into account to help ensure their success as they enter into a business venture in Canada. Each section offers timely information, up-to-date legislative provisions and insightful commentary on different areas of law. After downloading the guide, we encourage you to consult one of our lawyers for a more comprehensive analysis … Continue Reading
The recent McCarthy Tétrault Technology Law Summit included a panel on “Key Developments in IP Law,” featuring James Skippen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, WiLAN Inc. and McCarthy Tétrault partners Beth MacDonald, David Gray and Barry Sookman. Paul Armitage, another McCarthy Tétrault partner, moderated the panel.
James Skippen commented on the growing awareness of the value of intellectual property, and patents, in particular. He observed that, instead of being a neglected asset class, patents are playing a more prominent role, and may even, in some circumstances, exceed the value of a company’s other assets.
After describing WiLAN Inc.’s history … Continue Reading
January is a great time to make some resolutions for the coming year. In addition to the personal ones you have made, here are 10 involving tech issues that are (or should be) important to your organization.
1. Closing the Loop on Open-Source
Open-source software code and other types of materials and technical artefacts that are subject to open-source licensing models are proliferating in your business. Some of this material is made available under open-source license agreements that are fairly benign. In some cases, however, the license agreement can be quite problematic, including requiring you to make available to the … Continue Reading