CIPPIC appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in York University v Access Copyright

Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada as an intervener in the York University v Access Copyright case which addresses the scope of educational fair dealing guidelines.

The York University v Access Copyright case is an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which commenced as an action against York University by the Copyright Board of Canada in regards to the reproduction and authorization of reproduction of copyright-protected educational materials. The copyright board demanded that York University pay royalty fees under an interim tariff set by the board. The fees payable related to the paper copying of course packs for York students, digital copying through learning management systems, and other copying. The Federal Court of Appeal held that York’s Guidelines were not fair in either their terms or their application and it dismissed York’s counterclaim and claim for declaratory relief.

In their intervention, CIPPIC argued for a purposive interpretation of fair dealing that embodies Charter values: recognizes that copyright is right to exclude, not simply be paid; identifies the relevant perspective as that of the ultimate user; recognizes universities’ unique role as cradles of authorship and innovation; appreciates educational institutions' role in society where truth is contested and appreciates that intermediaries and commercial actors are aspects of marketplaces that facilitate the socially beneficial exercise of both owners’ and users’ rights.


Read CIPPIC’s factum

You can also watch the oral arguments.


CIPPIC General counsel David Fewer acted as a counsel for CIPPIC before the Supreme Court of Canada. The intervention was supported by a broad team of students, including articling student Bo Kruk, interns Sarah Crothers, Matthew Akl, Tina Dekker, and research assistant Courtney Wong.


CIPPIC is Canada’s first and only public interest technology law clinic. CIPPIC's team of legal experts and law students have worked together to advance the public interest on critical law and technology issues since 2003.

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