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Supreme Court finds Law Society’s fax service not in breach of copyright laws

News | 03/17/2004 5:00 am EST

Activists for users’ rights are cheering a March 4 Supreme Court of Canada decision in favour of the Law Society of Upper Canada, but copyright reform experts caution the ruling is just one piece of a broader digital puzzle. The court ruled in the case that the Law Society, which runs a fax service and provides photocopy machines in its legal library to aid researchers, didn’t violate copyright laws when it sent excerpts from legal texts published by CCH Canadian Ltd. to student and legal researchers. The publisher had argued that the excerpts from legal rulings, which included summary information added by its own editors, didn’t fall under Canada’s fair dealing exceptions, which protect users who make use of material for private study or research. The court disagreed, and in the process clarified the fair dealing rules with an emphasis on the balance between users and copyright owners.

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