Canadian Supreme Court embraces fair use in landmark decisions

15 07 2012

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in five copyright cases heard by the court last year, setting the scene to re-write much of Canada’s intellectual property law as it pertains to digital media.

In the five cases, the Court established broader definitions for fair dealing (down here below the Great White North, we call our version “fair use”), in particular, for photocopying textbooks. Previously, a public umbrella body called Access Copyright charged additional fees, often passed directly to students, for university-given access to copyrighted textbooks and similar work. The Court trashed much of that setup, finding that photocopying textbooks for or by students for private study or research is fair dealing, and likely will save Canadian universities and students millions of dollars annually.


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