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Cassels Brock Lawyers Appear at the Supreme Court of Canada on a Series of Critically Important Copyright Cases

Published: 12/12/2011

By Casey Chisick, Tim Pinos, Rebecca Valo

Cassels Brock lawyers Casey Chisick and Timothy Pinos appeared at the Supreme Court of Canada during the week of December 5th, 2011, on a series of critically important copyright cases. Cassels Brock acted for CMRRA-SODRAC Inc., a copyright collective that represents the rights of songwriters and music publishers.

SOCAN v. Bell Canada concerned whether iTunes previews infringe copyright. The Copyright Board of Canada found that offering previews was “fair dealing for the purpose of research” and therefore not infringement. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld that finding. CMRRA-SODRAC Inc. was an appellant in this appeal.

Alberta v. Access Copyright concerned whether teacher-initiated photocopying in schools infringed copyright. The Copyright Board of Canada found that it did, and rejected Alberta’s argument that the copying was “fair dealing.” The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed Alberta’s appeal. CMRRA-SODRAC Inc. was in an intervener in this appeal.

Rogers v. SOCAN and Entertainment Software Association v. SOCAN concerned whether music downloads are “communications to the public” within the meaning of s. 3(1)(f) of the Copyright Act. The Copyright Board of Canada held that they were, a finding that the Federal Court of Appeal upheld.

Cassels Brock’s submissions addressed the international law implications of the Court’s decisions. Casey Chisick made oral submissions to the Court in SOCAN v. Bell Canada, while Tim Pinos made oral submissions in Alberta v. Access Copyright. Cassels Brock made written submissions in Rogers v. SOCAN and Entertainment Software Association v. SOCAN.

In addition to Casey and Tim, the Cassels Brock team included associates Jason Beitchman and Rebecca Hamovitch and articling students Stephen Hutchison and Tali Eliav.