Status of the Artist

At the hearing of Canadian Artists’ Representation/Front des artistes canadiens et al. v. National Gallery of Canada today, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal and indicated an oral judgment would follow. The proceeding related to the interplay of the Status of the Artist Act and the Copyright Act.

The case is an appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal decision in 2013 FCA 64 in which the Court summarized the issue as:

[2] The issue before the Court is whether the Tribunal’s conclusion that the National Gallery bargained in bad faith can be maintained.  The National Gallery says that it cannot because the Tribunal erred in concluding that authorizing the use of existing works falls within the expression “provision of services” as that term is used in the definition of “scale agreement” in the Status of the Artist Act, S.C. 1992, c. 33 (the Act).  The National Gallery also posits a conflict between the Copyright Act, R.S.C. 1985 c. C-42 and the Act, and takes the position that copyright matters must be dealt with using the mechanisms provided in theCopyright Act.

There is some commentary on the decision from Canadian Art, and the successful party CARFAC.

More information on other intellectual property proceedings at the Supreme Court are available on my Supreme Court litigation page.