Supreme Court Issues Tariff 22 Decision

The Canadian Supreme Court issued the long-awaited Tariff 22 decision this morning. The court allowed the appeal, overturning a Federal Court decision to impose liability on ISPs for caching of content. The case also has a key jurisdictional element as the court ruled that there may be liability under Canadian copyright law at both the country where the music was transmitted as well as where it was received. The bottom line — the ISPs are big winners as they have had their position as an intermediary strongly affirmed by the court. When combined with another Supreme Court decision from earlier this year (CCH), the Canadian Supreme Court has made it very clear that ISPs should not be held responsible for copyright holders claims of infringement where they act as conduits for the transmission of data. There are three other key elements to the case. First, the court addresses the issue of Internet jurisdiction and rightly concludes that Canadian law may extend outside the country in certain circumstances. Second, it raises the prospect for a notice and takedown system, suggesting that the government should consider establishing rules around this issue. Third, one judge dives into the peer-to-peer file sharing case, expressing significant concern over the prospect for monitoring end users downloading habits and cautioning that copyright law should be interpreted with full respect for privacy rights. see: CAIP v. SOCAN also see: ISPs Free From Paying Royalties for Downloads

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