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Copyright and Technology Neutrality

  • 20 May 2015

In March 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada heard oral arguments for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) v. Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers, and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC) on whether royalties are payable with respect of ephemeral copies of works made by broadcasters in the normal course of production and broadcasting activities. A main consideration is the interpretation and application of the principle of technological neutrality in copyright matters affirmed by the Supreme Court in Entertainment Software Association v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada 2012 SCC 34. There are a number of interveners for this case in addition to the parties and the Supreme Court decision is highly anticipated by stakeholders in industry.

Christine Pallotta (partner of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP), Richard Pfohl (General Counsel, Music Canada, CONNECT Music Licensing), Giuseppina (Pina) D’Agostino (director of IP Osgoode, moderator) will discuss principles of technology neutrality and its application to copyright matters. We encourage audience participation for an interactive discussion.

Christine Pallotta is a partner of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto.  Christine is an intellectual property lawyer and the national leader of Intellectual Property Litigation at BLG. Her practice focuses on all aspects of intellectual property litigation, including trade-mark, patent, copyright and confidential information cases, as well as pharmaceutical patent litigation and notice of compliance proceedings. Christine has litigated a number of significant cases, appearing as counsel or co-counsel at the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, Ontario Court of Justice and Supreme Court of Canada. Some of these include the precedent-setting LEGO trade-mark case, a case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada; a patent infringement action for cheque processing involving major Canadian chartered banks; a patent infringement action for oil and gas well completion methods; patent infringement actions and Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) proceedings for a major pharmaceutical company, and a patent infringement action related to computer-implemented lottery systems. She also advises on complex intellectual property issues, including litigation and dispute resolution strategies in patent, trade-mark, copyright and industrial design disputes. She is a registered trade-mark agent and represents clients in trade-mark opposition and summary cancellation proceedings.

Richard Pfohl is General Counsel to Music Canada, which was an intervenor in CBC v. SODRAC.  Music Canada represents the major Canadian recording companies and the interests of key leading independent Canadian recording companies.  Music Canada’s members are engaged in all aspects of the recording industry, including the manufacture, production, promotion and distribution of music. Music Canada member companies actively develop and nurture Canadian talent throughout the world.  Music Canada also works closely with recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters and managers in the promotion and development of the music cluster.  Richard is also General Counsel to the Canadian recording industry’s principal licensing agency, CONNECT Music Licensing (formerly AVLA), which represents over 2250 recording companies, from the largest to the smallest, in Canada. He is active in licensing new technologies to bring music to Canadians on behalf of the recording industry.  Richard has served as President of Re:Sound (formerly NRCC), which administers the rights of performers and makers of sound recordings for all public communications, performances and broadcasts of music in Canada.  He has taught courses on internet, information technology and e-commerce law as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Toronto Law School, and has lectured and co-taught in the Osgoode Hall LL.M. and LL.B. programs.  He has testified before Parliamentary committees and the Canadian Copyright Board.  Prior to joining CONNECT in 2003, Richard was a partner in the Technology and Intellectual Property group of McCarthy Tétrault.  He previously served as Counsel to US Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Technology, and to Senator Dianne Feinstein.  He has served as a director of the Canadian IT Law Association, and he is active on a number of committees of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC).

Giuseppina (Pina) D’Agostino is Director, IP Osgoode and Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School.  Professor D’Agostino joined the Osgoode Hall Law School faculty in 2006 and brings creativity and passion to her role as Founder and Director of IP Osgoode, the Intellectual Property Law and Technology Program at Osgoode.  She is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the IPilogue (www.iposgoode.ca), the first IP law blog of its kind, and Founder and Director of Osgoode’s IP Intensive and the Innovation Clinic. Before her appointment at Osgoode, she was recruited by the federal government’s Recruitment of Policy Leaders (RPL) program for the Department of Canadian Heritage and worked at the Copyright Policy Branch. She completed her doctoral and masters studies with distinction at the University of Oxford where she was a Lecturer in Law and the recipient of various scholarships including a SSHRC fellowship. She is the Deputy Editor for the Intellectual Property Journal (IPJ) and previously was an associate at a large firm in Toronto. Her research interests in the intellectual property law field are wide-ranging and she is highly sought after as a public speaker and consultant. She is a cited authority at the Supreme Court of Canada and is regularly called on by foreign and Canadian federal and provincial governments for advice. In December 2010 she testified before Parliament’s Legislative Committee on Canada’s ongoing copyright reform initiatives. She publishes on a range of issues and her two books, Copyright, Contract, Creators: New Media, New Rules (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar 2010), and The Common Law of Intellectual Property: Essays in Honour of Professor David Vaver (edited with Catherine Ng and Lionel Bently) (Oxford: Hart Publishing 2010) are widely available. In 2011, the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario honoured Professor D’Agostino as one of 34 Canadians in the book The Next Generation, Made in Canada: The Italian Way. In 2012, she was awarded two SSHRC grants for her work, “Triggering Innovation: Transnational Partnership for the Mobilization of Intellectual Property Policy and Practices” and “Fostering Innovation in Canada through Intellectual Property Law.” Professor D’Agostino is currently working with Professor David Vaver on the second edition of Copyright Law published by Irwin Law. For the 2013-2014 academic year, Professor D’Agostino was on sabbatical and was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University.


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