Of the five, the two most significant are probably Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada v Bell Canada, 2012 SCC 36, and Alberta (Education) v Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright), 2012 SCC 37.

In SOCAN v Bell Canada, the court held that listening to previews of music that is available for commercial download is ‘fair dealing’ for the purposes of private study or research. ‘Research’ is to be construed liberally, and includes the inquiry necessary to determine whether that Megadeth track is really worth the 99 cents that iTunes is charging. Because this is fair dealing, no royalty is payable for the preview.

The Access Copyright case also considers fair dealing, with the majority concluding that it’s OK for teachers to make photocopies of works subject to copyright for use in the classroom. This too is ‘fair dealing’ for the purposes of the Copyright Act because it facilitates the research and private study of pupils; it’s not as though teachers have some sinister ‘ulterior motive’ in distributing the copies.

[Links available here, here, here, here and here].