Thursday, December 01, 2016

Blacklock's Sues the Government of Canada - Again

Blacklock's has sued the Government of Canada once again - this time with respect to alleged breach of the Copyright Act and alleged breach of contract by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Here, without specific comment, is the latest Statement of Claim in Simplified Action #T-20142-16.

This is now the 11th case in what I have called the "litany of litigation" against the Government of Canada and some of its agencies.  Except for the case referred to below that Blacklock's resoundingly lost, the other nine cases were stayed until 45 days after the judgement below.

It will be recalled that Blacklock's lost it first Federal Court case to go to trial in a judgment issued on November 10, 2016 which included the following language:
[45]           Blacklock’s maintains that this case challenges the viability of its business model including its right to protect news copy behind a subscription-based paywall. The suggestion that Blacklock’s business cannot survive in the face of the minor and discrete use that took place here is essentially an admission that the market places little value on Blacklock’s work-product. All subscription-based news agencies suffer from work-product leakage. But to customers who value easy, timely and unfettered access to news that may not be readily available from other sources, the price of a subscription is worth paying. It also goes without saying that whatever business model Blacklock’s employs it is always subject to the fair dealing rights of third parties. To put it another way, Blacklock’s is not entitled to special treatment because its financial interests may be adversely affected by the fair use of its material. Nothing in these reasons should however be taken as an endorsement of arguably blameworthy conduct in the form of unlawful technological breaches of a paywall, misuse of passwords or the widespread exploitation of copyrighted material to obtain a commercial or business advantage.
(highlight added)

We shall know on or before December 12, 2016 whether Blacklock's intends to appeal the above ruling.


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