Canada’s Supreme Court to rule on Rogers copyright infringement case

The Supreme Court has not said why it has chosen to hear  the case

Rogers office

Canada’s highest court has agreed to hear the case between national internet service provider Rogers and U.S.-based film production company Voltage Pictures.

According to CP24 — publishing a story from the Canadian Press — the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has agreed to hear an appeal from Rogers about charging a fee for revealing the personal information of individuals suspected of copyright infringement.

Rogers filed this SCC appeal in August 2017, after the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) ruled in May 2017 that the carrier couldn’t charge fees for its copyright infringement identification services.

Understanding how it came to this

Under Canada’s current copyright laws, copyright holders are allowed to send copyright claims to internet service providers letting ISPs know that there has been a copyright infringement.

ISPs are then allowed to charge copyright holders a fee in order to identify individuals suspected of infringing copyright.

The Rogers-Voltage case came to a head when Rogers insisted on charging Voltage Pictures $100 CAD-per-work-hour in order to identify an individual suspected of copyright infringement.

Voltage disagreed with Rogers’ fee and subsequently sued the national ISP. The Federal Court of Canada (FCC) ultimately ruled in favour of Rogers, but the FCA later ruled in favour of Voltage and decided that Rogers could not charge a fee.

The reason that Rogers is allowed to charge this fee — indeed, the reason that any ISP is allowed to charge however much they see fit — is because Canada’s copyright laws do not enumerate precisely how much an ISP can charge for identification services.

Rogers’ appeal to the SCC seeks to answer two questions:

  • What are the obligations imposed on Canadian ISPs by the Notice and Notice Provisions?
  • Do those obligations supplant ordinary principles related to third-party discovery orders and, in particular, the principle that a third-party should be reimbursed for the costs it incurs?

According to the Canadian Press, “the Supreme Court gave no reasons for deciding to hear the case.”

Source: CP24