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Supreme Court of Canada Releases Five Decisions Re: Copyright

July-16-2012

Area Entertainment, Communications

Summary

On Thursday, July 12, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada (the “Court”) released five (5) widely anticipated decisions regarding existing or proposed Copyright Board (“Board”) tariffs pursuant to the Copyright Act (the “Act”).  The tariffs governed music downloading and streaming, the distribution of video games over the Internet, photocopying of textbooks, and film and tv soundtracks.  The cases stem from appeals of various Board decisions made in 2007 and were heard by the Court back-to-back over two days in December.  All cases involved distributors and users of copyrighted materials being pitted against collective societies such as the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (“SOCAN”), the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency ("Access Copyright"), CMRRA-SODRAC Inc. and Re:Sound, which apply to the Board to collect copyright royalties on behalf of creators.  Goodmans successfully represented a respondent and intervener in two of the cases.  The Court’s decisions come shortly after the first major reform of Canadian copyright law in fifteen years. Amendments to the Act were recently passed under the Copyright Modernization Act, which received Royal Assent on June 29, 2012 and is on the cusp of being proclaimed into force by the federal cabinet.  (Re:  the Copyright Modernization Act, see our Goodmans Update:  The Copyright Modernization Act Becomes Law at:  Section/Publications/Updates).

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