Copyright Law: Front and Centre at the Supreme Court of Canada


On December 6 and 7, 2011, Canada’s highest court will hear five separate appeals involving copyright law. All five appeals arise from decisions of the Copyright Board of Canada (the Board) and have the potential to fundamentally impact Canadian copyright law.

SOCAN Tariff 22.A Appeals: Use of Music Over the Internet

Three of the appeals involve the decision of the Board in proceedings commenced in 1995 concerning a proposed tariff covering music use over the Internet (Tariff 22.A) filed by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). The Board heard the matter in two phases. The first phase dealt with jurisdictional issues and internet service provider (ISP) liability and resulted in the 2004 Supreme Court decision, SOCAN v. Canadian Assn. of Internet Providers, [2004] 2 S.C.R. 427. The second phase dealt with, among other things, the quantification of the tariff itself and has resulted in a number of applications for judicial review and three of the five appeals that will be heard by the Supreme Court.

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