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Court tells Big Content to stop being silly

by on13 July 2012

y lawbookhammer

Slaps down silly fee idea

 A top Canadian court has told Big Content that its attempts to screw cash out of schools for photocopying bits of text books or from music sites for previewing songs are illegal.

The Supreme Court of Canada looked at five different cases that touched on tariffs set by the Copyright Board at the request of Big Content. In one of the rulings, the court decided that there should be no fees levied against Internet service providers when their consumers download music.

The court ruled that the downloading of an individual file is not a “public” transmission. But it said that when music is streamed online, it is a “public” transmission and therefore fees can be levied. Which is pretty much common sense.

In another case, the court ruled that Internet providers should also not have to pay fees when music downloaders preview songs. The Copyright Board decided in 2007 that there was nothing wrong with such previews because they were essentially “research.”

Big Content representative SOCAN, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada appealed that decision to the Supreme Court as it thought it could make a few quid forcing ISPs to pay up. It was a fairly daft move as it would have stopped users from knowing what a song was like before they bought it. The only remedy for this was to pirate it. Which goes to show how clever Big Content is.

The court upheld the view of education ministers and school boards that photocopying material for students does not infringe the Copyright Act. The educators had argued that the practice should be allowed because they fall well within the Copyright Act’s so-called “fair dealing” exemptions. The court agreed and said it was important to consider the intentions of teachers when assessing whether photocopying works for students constituted “fair dealing.”

In another bizarre ruling movie theatres would not have to pay performance fees for music which appeared in a film soundtrack of a flick they were screening. Finally, the court ruled that performance royalties do not need to be collected for music used in downloaded video games.

It all sounds common sense to us, but it seems that Big Content needs to be told what is reasonable as they can't make up their own minds.

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