The Copyright Board came into existence on February 1, 1989 upon proclamation ofsections 12 to 15, 17, 20 and 25 of the Act to amend the Copyright Act (Chapter 15 of the Statutes of Canada, 1988) assented to on June 8, 1988.
It replaced the Copyright Appeal Board which, since 1936, was responsible for the annual review and approval of royalties payable to the performing rights societies for the performance of musical works in Canada.
They are embedded in existing jurisprudence, especially that of the “public interest”. That the Board should now consider that it suddenly has an obligation to decide cases “in the public interest” is astonishing. What else has it and its predecessor been doing for more than 80 years? Is the Board unaware of Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence going back almost 8 decades? While some consultants are doubtless salivating at the prospect of providing lucrative so-called “expert” evidence on these issues that will result in protracted and much more expensive hearings, this should not be necessary if the Board simply follows longstanding case law and takes responsibility for deciding the ultimate legal questions itself rather than relying upon so-called experts, who are often repeat performers and rarely truly independent when it comes to Copyright Board proceedings.