Scholarship by Windsor Law professor Myra Tawfik was cited in the Supreme Court of Canada decision delivered on July 30 in York University v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright).
This decision has important implications for Canadian universities as the court held that Access Copyright’s license is not binding on institutions that do not accept its terms. The judgment also addressed the question of fair dealing and user rights under Canadian law, affirming that “ultimately, owners’ rights and the public interest should not conflict with one another” and that “creators’ rights and users’ rights are mutually supportive of copyright’s ends.”
In support of this position, the court quoted Prof. Tawfik that copyright law has long been an “integrated system that encouraged creators to generate knowledge, industry to disseminate it and users to acquire it and, hopefully, reshape it into new knowledge” from her chapter “History in the Balance: Copyright and Access to Knowledge” in the book From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright”.
The court also cited another of Tawfik’s publication “The Supreme Court of Canada and the ‘Fair Dealing Trilogy’: Elaborating a Doctrine of User Rights under Canadian Copyright Law” and endorsed her assertion that the Supreme Court is “at the vanguard in interpreting copyright law as a balance between copyright rights and user rights.”
Tawfik said she is “delighted” that her historical research contributed to the court’s deliberations
“There is a growing and rich body of user rights scholarship in Canada, including the work of fellow law professor Pascale Chapdelaine,” she said. “The efforts of Canadian scholars in advancing more nuanced approaches to copyright enabled the Supreme Court to affirm its strong position on user rights.”
Learn more about this judgement on the Supreme Court of Canada’s website.