The Supreme Court of Canada issued its long-awaited decision in SODRAC v. CBC today, a case that has major implications for the role of technological neutrality in copyright. As I noted when it was argued before the court, though the case was about whether CBC should be required to pay royalties for incidental copies necessary to use new broadcast technologies, at stake was something far bigger: the future of technological neutrality under Canadian copyright law. The case offers wins and losses for both users and creators, but the manner in which the court strongly affirmed the principle of technological neutrality runs the risk of actually undermining technological adoption.
Post Tagged with: "rothstein"
While I didn’t watch the full hearing, it seems to me that the Rothstein hearing was much ado about nothing. I don’t think that Canadians now have a better sense of Justice Rothstein. To do that, they need to read his judgments and speeches, which are far more revealing than […]
My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) examines new Canadian Supreme Court nominee Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein, whose lengthy record on patent, copyright, and trademark matters suggests that he may very well challenge the status quo at Canada' s highest court. The column uncovers several speeches by Justice Rothstein that reveal a candid judge who is uncomfortable with incorporating policy into the legal decision making process, who is willing to examine intellectual property laws of other jurisdictions, and who recognizes the limits of intellectual property law.
Justice Rothstein, who appears before a House of Commons committee today, has emerged as a prominent jurist on intellectual property cases at the Federal Court of Appeal. His best-known decision is the Harvard Mouse case, which addressed the question of whether higher life forms, in this case the "oncomouse", could be patented. Justice Rothstein ruled that it could, concluding that there was nothing in the definition of "invention" under the Patent Act to preclude such patents.
Justice Rothstein has also presided over leading copyright and trademark cases. He wrote a concurring opinion in Law Society of Upper Canada v. CCH Canadian, a copyright case that focused on the photocopying of legal decisions. He sided with the majority in a high-profile trademark battle between Lego and Montreal-based Mega Blocks.