Copyright Board and the SCC

Last week, the Copyright Board published a series of orders on pending tariff proceedings relating to satellite radio, ringtones, online music and educational institutions asking the parties to comment on the effect of the Supreme Court’s copyright ‘pentalogy’.

The Supreme Court issued five copyright decisions in July, all of which were appeals from the Copyright Board. The decisions included significant reasoning on ‘communications to the public’ and fair dealing. The Copyright Board has recently published orders on several pending tariff proceedings, including the following:

Satellite Radio – The Board has asked the parties in three tariff proceedings (brought by Re:Sound, CSI and SOCAN), to address two questions. First, which transactions between a satellite radio and its subscribers are ‘communications to the public’ in view of the Supreme Court’s decision in ESA v. SOCAN, 2012 SCC 34, and Rogers v. SOCAN, 2012 SCC 35 particularly relating to the buffering or storage that takes place. The Board has also asked for submissions on the effect of fair dealing also in view of the Supreme Court’s decisions in SOCAN v. Bell Canada, 2012 SCC 36 and Alberta (Education) v. Access Copyright, 2012 SCC 37.

Ringtones – The Board established a process to receive submissions from various cell phone carriers and collectives on the effect of the Supreme Court’s rulings on downloading vs streaming. The carriers had requested that the ringtone tariffs established for communication of works be declared nullities and should be repealed in view of the Supreme Court’s decisions.

Online music services – The Board has its decision on a tariff for online music services for 2007-2010 under reserve and asked the parties how they wish to proceed in view of the Supreme Court’s decision in SOCAN v. Bell Canada, 2012 SCC 36 on the Board’s earlier decision regarding online music stores for 1996-2006. Hearings on later tariff periods for online music stores were also suspended until a procedure is established.

Educational Institutions – The Supreme Court remanded the tariff for educational institutions back to the Board in Alberta (Education) v. Access Copyright, 2012 SCC 37. The Board has requested comments from the parties as to what issues need to be re-considered by the Board, whether further evidence is required and a timeline.

Copyright Board Rulings

Earlier this month the Copyright Board started posting copies of its orders and rulings on its website (thanks Sundeep Chauhan and Howard Knopf for sharing this).

Since the Copyright Board website can be a little difficult to monitor for new decisions, I have added automated Copyright Board ruling alerts to my IPPractice daily email. If you are already a subscriber, please visit the Email Manager and add copyright board decisions to your subscription – under ‘Miscellaneous Alerts’. If you are not a subscriber, please consider joining over 600 other intellectual property professionals and subscribe to my daily IP news email on the subscription page and add Copyright Board updates to your subscription.