The Canadian Legal Information Institute has joined with the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to file a motion seeking leave to intervene in SOCAN v. Bell, the copyright case that will examine the scope of research within fair dealing. If CanLII’s application is accepted, it plans to argue:
- The Copyright Act and its fair dealing provisions must be interpreted in conjunction with constitutional, administrative law, and common law principles guaranteeing access to justice for all persons. Any restriction to access legal information is in violation of these fundamental principles;
- CanLII’s distinct role as a provider of free legal information to the public relies upon the interpretation and application of the principle of fair-dealing. Therefore any narrowing of the scope and practically of the fair-dealing principle set out in CCH may affect the digitally based services of CanLII that make legal materials freely and widely available;
- An interpretation that the â€œlarge and liberalâ€ standard of fair-dealing is not applicable to digital works would likely be to the detriment of public users of CanLII’s legal materials and would create a likelihood of fiscal and access constraints to legal materials.
I am a member of the CanLII board and was very supportive of the decision to seek leave to intervene.