The Copyright Pentalogy

Written by Madelaine Pries

The Copyright Pentalogy refers to five cases ruled on July 12, 2012 by the Supreme Court of Canada that had a profound effect on Canadian Copyright law.

Rogers Communication Inc. v. Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada

SOCAN sought to collect tariffs on music streaming to the public. Rogers argued that streaming to individuals does not constitute “communication to the public”, but The Court disagreed on the grounds that streaming the same things to many individuals constitutes “communication to the public,” and so requires payment.

Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright)

Access Copyright wanted to impose tariffs on their works that were being photocopied for use in classrooms. It was deemed that in producing photocopies “the purpose was instruction, not research or private study,” and so the Court ruled in favour of fair dealing (“Copyright Pentalogy (Fair Dealing, Technical Neutrality & More)”).

Entertainment Software Association v. Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada

Entertainment Software Association allows the download of video games from the internet, for which SOCAN wished to apply a tariff since there was copyrighted musical material in the games that was not being payed for. The Court ruled that against this in favour of technological neutrality.

Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada v. Bell Canada

SOCAN wanted to impose tariffs on the 30 second song previews that Bell offered for copyrighted music before it was purchased. The Court ruled that these previews are used for research purposes, and so counts as fair dealing (“Copyright Pentalogy (Fair Dealing, Technical Neutrality & More)”).

Re:Sound v. Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada

Re:Sound sought tariffs for the use of sound recordings in a movie since the sound recordings existed before they were used in the soundtrack (Canada’s Copyright Act excludes soundtracks from their definition of sound recordings) (“Copyright Pentalogy (Fair Dealing, Technical Neutrality & More)”). It was decided that whether or not the sound recordings existed before, they are deemed part of a soundtrack, and so no tariffs could be applied (“Copyright Pentalogy (Fair Dealing, Technical Neutrality & More)”).

Works Cited

Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright), 2012 SCC 37, [2012] 2 S.C.R 345

“Copyright Pentalogy (Fair Dealing, Technical Neutrality & More).” Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, n.d. Web. 15 November 2015.

Entertainment Software Association v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, 2012 SCC 34, [2012] 2 S.C.R. 231

Rogers Communications Inc. v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, 2012 SCC 35, [2012] 2 S.C.R. 283

Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada v. Bell Canada, 2012 SCC 36, [2012] 2 S.C.R. 326

Wilkinson, Margaret Ann. “The Context of the Supreme Court’s Copyright Cases.” The Copyright Pentalogy: How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law. Ed. Michael Geist. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2013. 71-92. Web.