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CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada

2004 SCC 13 (2004)

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CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada

Canada Supreme Court

2004 SCC 13 (2004)

Facts

The Law Society of Upper Canada (the Law Society) (defendants) operated a research library that provided photocopy services for Law Society members. Members could request reproductions of legal materials from the library or photocopy library materials themselves. CCH Canadian Ltd., Thomson Canada Ltd., and Canada Law Book Inc. (the publishers) (plaintiffs) sued the Law Society for copyright infringement for distributing photocopies of the publishers’ works to Law Society members. At trial, the court dismissed most of the publishers’ copyright claims, holding that the works were not original. The court of appeal disagreed, and held that all the works in question were original and hence protected by copyright. The Law Society appealed this decision for some of the works affirmed as copyrighted by the court of appeals, including reported judicial decisions, headnotes preceding these decisions, a case summary, and a topical index. The headnotes included a case summary, a statement of the case, the case title, and other case information. The topical index was a list of cases with headings indicating the main topics and brief summaries of decisions. The judicial decisions were reproductions of decisions, to each of which were added the date of the case; the courts involved; the names of counsel for each side; and lists of cases, statutes, and parallel citations. The publishers also corrected grammatical errors in the decisions.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McLachlin, C.J.)

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