Canadian Supreme Court expands Fair Dealing in 5 cases
The Canadian Supreme Court ruled on five cases on Thursday, and in each provided broader interpretations of fair dealing regarding intellectual property and digital media. Certain fees levied by the Copyright Board on downloaded music, movies, games and even printed material have been removed.
One of the cases centered on photocopies of teaching materials at colleges. The court ruled that teachers as well as students should be able to photocopy sections of textbooks for instructional purposes and not incur fees. This ruling has the potential to save universities a considerable amount, as millions of dollars are paid each year with such fees.
The other four cases focused on delivery of digital copies of various types of material, including music and videos. They ruled that simple transmission of music does not make ISP’s and cable companies liable for extra fees, but streaming media does require a separate fee from the Copyright Board. Fees cannot be imposed for music in downloaded video games now above the royalties already paid when creating the game, and previews of online music should not cause fees to be imposed on ISP’s and cable companies.
These rulings will help maintain Fair Dealing in a time when the legislature is seeking more stringent interpretations of copyright law. Fair Use (as it is known in the US) has been under increasing pressure over the last couple of decades, so it is good to see such a ruling from the Canadian courts.
You can see the story at the Winnipeg Free Press.
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