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Curiosity Killed the Copycat: Supreme Court of Canada Releases Cinar Corporation v. Claude Robinson (extended version)


Lawyer David Zitzerman
Area Entertainment


The Supreme Court of Canada released its much-anticipated decision in Cinar Corporation v. Claude Robinson on December 23, 2013.  In a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin, the Supreme Court affirmed the Quebec Supreme Court’s findings that Cinar Corporation and certain other defendants were liable for copyright infringement and increased the monetary relief awarded to the plaintiff, Claude Robinson, by the Quebec Court of Appeal. The decision deals with several important issues in Canadian copyright law, including:

1.  distinguishing between elements in the public domain and elements protected under copyright law as original expressions of an author’s skill and judgment;

2.  the proper test to determine whether a substantial part of a work is copied;

3.  the role of expert evidence in a copyright infringement case; and

4.  the assessment of damages in a copyright infringement case.

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