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Protection against copyright infringement strengthened by Robinson case but at what cost

On December 23, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered an important decision on copyright infringement in Cinar Corp. v. Robinson. The Court affirmed the trial judge’s finding that Cinar infringed Claude Robinson’s intellectual property and allowed a considerable increase in the monetary relief the Quebec Court of Appeal awarded Robinson.

The unanimous judgment, written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, on behalf of the seven judges who presided over the case:

I conclude that the copyright in [Robinson Curiosité] was infringed. The trial judge committed no reviewable errors in finding that [Robinson] Sucroë reproduced a substantial part of [Robinson Curiosité]. The Cinar appellants incorrectly argue for an approach that dissects Robinson’s work into its constituent parts. Rather, a qualitative and holistic approach must be adopted. In order to determine whether a substantial part of Robinson’s work was copied, the features that were copied by the Cinar appellants must be considered cumulatively, in the context of Robinson’s work taken as a whole. This is precisely the approach adopted by the trial judge. In addition, the expert evidence relied upon by the trial judge in his analysis was admissible.”

For more read my latest post on Slaw here.

Yosie Saint-Cyr
First Reference Managing Editor

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Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., Managing Editor

Managing Editor at First Reference
Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., is a trained lawyer called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practised business, employment and labour law until 1999. For over 18 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro from First Reference. Read more
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