In 2007 the Copyright Board of Canada held that the download of a video game sold over the Internet constitutes a “communication” and is thus subject to a separate tariff for the communication of the copyrighted work. The tariff in question dealt with remuneration for the music used within video games. In one of the five judgments on copyright law released on July 12, 2012, Entertainment Software Association v. SOCAN, the Supreme Court ruled that a download should not be subject to an additional fee. Although it provided a technical analysis of the provisions of the Copyright Act, the ruling centered on the Court’s desire for copyright laws to remain technologically neutral. As technology races forward, more goods and services are being provided online. The Court equated the purchase of a video game over the Internet with a purchase in-store, concluding that there should be no additional tariff for choosing a different method of distribution.
For more information on the series of copyright decisions issued by the Supreme Court on July 12, 2012, please see our Osler Update.