Canlii Goes to Court

Well only as an intervenor.

According to a Press Release out this week, CanLII and the Federation to Defend Free Access to Law at the Supreme Court

CanLII and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada have been granted leave to intervene at the Supreme Court of Canada in SOCAN v. Bell et al., a copyright case to be heard later this year in which the Court will be asked to provide guidance on the meaning of “research” as a fair dealing user right under the Copyright Act.

While the facts of the SOCAN case relate to online music previews and not legal research, the legal questions at issue include the meaning of “research” as a head of fair dealing and how, in the internet age, courts should balance copyright holders’ interests with user rights. CanLII and the Federation will argue for a large and liberal interpretation of the term “research” as set out in CCH v. Law Society of Upper Canada and in subsequent cases.

Here is the factum and the court file.

While the ability of the Federation to provide free access to Canadian law through CanLII is not under immediate threat, CanLII and the Federation are concerned about the detrimental impact on access to law and justice that could flow from a narrow interpretation of “research” and from a restrictive approach to fair dealing rights in respect of copyright material.


  1. Bravo Can Lii!!!!!

    It should come as no surprise, but is most certainly welcome, that Can Lii, one of the very best online resources for legal research, is stepping forward to provide argument in defence of stopping copyright-creep….well done!!!