Under the Copyright Act, anyone can make non-infringing use of copyrighted material provided the use is made for an allowed purpose and is fair. This is known as fair dealing. Allowed purposes under the Copyright Act include “research or private study” and “criticism or review”.
Late last year, the Federal Court of Appeal held in Alberta (Education) v. Access Copyright, 2010 FCA 198, that the tribunal “Access Copyright” made no error when it determined that the photocopying of excerpts from textbooks for use in classroom instruction for students in kindergarten to grade 12 was not fair dealing. This is a major win for copyright holders as it clarified their scope of copyright in the context of education.
Today, the Supreme Court of Canada announced that it will hear an appeal of the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision in Alberta (Education) v. Access Copyright. The outcome of this appeal, in addition to the landmark case of CCH v. LSUC, 2004 SCC 13, could clarify the law of copyright in Canada for years to come.