Christopher Moore examines the second Robertson copyright class action settlement and the virtual absence of Access Copyright from the proceedings. Moore concludes “Access Copyright cannot ever defend creators’ copyrights against publishers who seek to abuse them. Its very structure forbids it.”
Post Tagged with: "robertson"
The Globe and Mail and Heather Robertson have settled their 13 year old fight over the rights of freelance writers and the use of their work in electronic databases. The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada, where a divided court ruled in favour of Robertson. The case has […]
Osgoode Hall prof Pina D'Agostino posts on the SCC's Robertson v. Thomson decision. Limits on contractual contracting is an issue I touched on during the 30 Days of DRM. It was also raised by a Senate report on Canadian media, though Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda rejected a recommendation to […]
The CBC has posted a brief (and somewhat incoherent) interview I did on copyright in the wake of the SCC's Robertson decision.
The Supreme Court of Canada released its much anticipated Robertson v. Thomson decision this morning – here is a quick take. The Canadian version of the U.S. Tasini case, at issue was the rights of freelance writers and the use of their work in electronic databases. Much like the U.S. case (which clearly had an impact on this case), the court was split. By a 5-4 majority, the court ruled in favour of Heather Robertson, finding that the reproduction of the freelance articles into a searchable database was not covered by the copyright held by the publishers (whose rights were limited to the compilation of works that comprise the newspaper).
At one level, the split in the court simply reflects a different view on the nature of a converting the content in a newspaper into a database. The majority (written by Justices LeBel and Fish) thinks that the use is very different and thus no longer part of the publisher's copyright. From this perspective, information such as date, page placement, etc. is merely "historical data". The dissent, written by Justice Abella (joined by Chief Justice McLachlin, Binnie, and Charron) argues that the database involves a substantial reproduction of the original compilation and that therefore "the publisher's entitlement under our media neutral Copyright Act is able to adjust the form of its work to suit the exigencies of new media technologies."
At a deeper level, however, the case may signal some differing perspectives about copyright law.