Ottawa – The Canadian Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from the Society of Composers, Publishers and Music Authors. This means online music stores and others targeted in the lawsuit will not have to pay royalties for providing previews to online users.
The consequences of the decision are to reaffirm an expansion of Canadian fair dealing rights – including where consumers exercise their rights using online platforms.
A lower court had said the song previews in Apple’s iTunes, which last about 30 seconds, fall under Canada’s fair dealing doctrine, which is similar to the U.S. fair use doctrine in exceptions to copyright law. The previews were construed as research.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association intervened in the case to support fair dealing and the user right to “research.”
The following statement can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“We are pleased this case has been dismissed as it benefits consumers and online companies. Fair dealing is a catalyst for research, creativity and innovation.
“Businesses in many cases provide the conduit for consumers to exercise their fair dealing rights and the Supreme Court recognized that today.
“What this case illustrates is that fair dealing is quite a lot like U.S. fair use exceptions to copyright law. Fair dealing can allow innovative technology products to help consumers and to make content more useful.”