Supreme Court of Canada Rules Against Music Industry Tariffs

The highest court in Canada has delivered some depressing news for music and other rights holders today: they can't charge additional fees to educators, video game makers, and Internet service providers. In a ruling on multiple cases today the Supreme Court of Canada struck down five cases that had to do with tariffs.

In one case that had to do with educators copying materials to teach students the court ruled that the Copyright Board could not charge teachers who photocopied materials for their students because the use of such material in teaching students is protected under the Copyright Act. That case was sent back to the Copyright Board for review. No doubt educators in the country will now get some relief from copyright fees thanks to this ruling.

The court also ruled that Internet service providers would not pay additional copyright fees when music is downloaded, but that court did say that artists should be compensated when music is streamed online.

In another case the Court ruled that movie theatres, broadcasters and cable companies should not be charged any additional fee for the music that is part of a film or a TV program that they are showing.

In yet another case involving music licensing and video games being sold online, the Court ruled that there should be no additional royalty fees for music that is included in the games – and already licensed.

Finally, the Court ruled that providers of various online services should not have to pay fees when music downloaders listen to previews of songs. The court said that previews constituted research, which is a protected practice under the Copyright Act.

Had the court ruled otherwise in these cases, it would have disrupted all kinds of entertainment commerce in Canada so this is a good thing for consumers and entertainment creators as well as those companies that provide either access or delivery of digital goods.

Source: Toronoto Star

"stamp with name of Canada" art © 2012 Alexander Ryabintsev / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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