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This week at the SCC

|Written By Heather Gardiner

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear the following appeals this week. It’s a big week for copyright law cases:

Dec. 6 — Federal Court — Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada v. Bell Canada

Copyright law: Should commercial Internet websites that sell music downloads allow users to preview the works following the Copyright Board of Canada’s 2007 decision regarding royalties for communication to the public of musical works? It will address whether previews of musical works is a fair dealing for the purpose of research that doesn’t infringe copyright. There is a sealing order in the case.

Dec. 6 — Federal Court — Entertainment Software Association v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada

Copyright law: At issue is whether a video game download that includes music fits under the Copyright Board of Canada’s 2007 decision regarding royalties for communication to the public of musical works.

Dec. 6 — Federal Court — Rogers Communications Inc. v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada

Copyright law: This case also relates to the Copyright Board of Canada’s 2007 decision regarding royalties for communication to the public of musical works, involving Internet service providers.

Dec. 7 — Federal Court — Province of Alberta as represented by the Minister of Education v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency Operating as “Access Copyright”

Copyright law: The Copyright Board of Canada certified a tax for photocopying textbooks in Canadian schools (except for Quebec). The board determined that royalties were payable for some photocopies because they didn’t constitute a fair dealing. The Minister of Education applied for judicial review. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld the board’s ruling. The main question is whether photocopying textbooks for teaching in the classroom is a “fair dealing” under the Copyright Act.

Dec. 7 — Federal Court — Re: Sound v. Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada

Copyright law: This case also relates to royalties for the communication to the public of sound recordings in a movie soundtrack shown in a movie theatre or on TV.

Dec. 8 — Ontario — N.S. v. R.

Charter of Rights and Freedoms: A Muslim woman accused her cousin and uncle of sexually assaulting her. At the preliminary inquiry, she asked to testify while wearing a niqab for religious reasons but the Crown objected and the judge ordered her to remove her niqab. At issue is the Charter’s freedom of religion and right to equality versus the accused’s right to a fair trial and the value of assessing a witness’ credibility based on demeanour. There is a publication ban in the case.

Dec. 9 — British Columbia — Larry Wayne Jesse v. R.

Criminal law: Larry Wayne Jesse was convicted of sexual assaulting a woman at a party. At trial, the Crown introduced evidence from a previous sexual assault conviction that Jesse had not appealed. The judge admitted the evidence from his previous conviction and did not allow Jesse to challenge the conviction on a voir dire. The issue is whether the Crown has the right to introduce evidence from the accused’s prior conviction if it’s related to the current charge and whether the accused can challenge the validity of his previous conviction. There is a publication ban in the case.

The SCC will also release its ruling in:

Dec. 8 — Quebec — Attorney General of Quebec v. Department of Human Resources and Social Development Canada


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