Canadian court rejects fair dealing defence by library

Interlending & Document Supply

ISSN: 0264-1615

Article publication date: 1 March 2000




(2000), "Canadian court rejects fair dealing defence by library", Interlending & Document Supply, Vol. 28 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Canadian court rejects fair dealing defence by library

Canadian court rejects fair dealing defence by library

Keywords Publishing, Copyright, Legal disputes

The Federal Court of Canada has come to a decision in the case relating to the Law Society of Upper Canada's document delivery service and three major Canadian legal publishers (Carswell Thomson Professional Publishing, Canada Law Book Inc. and CCH Canadian Limited). The court has decided that the Law Society has infringed the copyright of the publishers and that the Law Society's claim of fair dealing did not apply.

The case, which has been running since 1993, was brought by the publishers against the Law Society's document delivery service. The service in question involved the Law Society making copies of publishers' works without their permission, then charging customers a fee to send them a copy via fax or mail. The publishers received no payment for this. The Law Society was refused a licence for this service by CANCOPY (the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency) which represents the publishers' photocopying rights.

The Law Society's defence was that it was not infringing copyright under the fair dealing provision in the Canadian Copyright Act which allows "fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, criticism or review". It also claimed that it was permitted to make copies because to pay licence fees would impinge on the public interest or be contrary to public policy.

The court rejected all of the Law Society's claims and confirmed that under Canadian copyright law the defence of fair dealing must be narrowly construed. The judge specifically noted the availability of CANCOPY's licence, stating that there is appropriate legal means to ensure the licence fees are just and reasonable.

Source: Press release

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