On August 31, 2022, the Civil Resolution Tribunal of British Columbia (the Tribunal) issued its decision in 1316633 B.C. Ltd. v Windsor-Martin, 2022 BCCRT 979, finding that the alleged copyright infringement claim fell outside the Tribunal’s jurisdiction.
1316633 B.C. Ltd. (the Applicant) alleged that Pamela Windsor-Martin (the Respondent) infringed the Copyright Act by using original photos, product descriptions, and graphic designs from the Applicant’s website, without consent. The Respondent denied copying any content from the Applicant’s website and alleged that the Applicant gave her permission to use the website as a template.
The issues in dispute were:
The Tribunal considered various sections of the Copyright Act and found that the meaning of the term “provincial court” in Section 41.24 of the Copyright Act “likely means a court of the province, such as the BC Court of Appeal, BC Supreme Court, or BC Provincial Court”. The Tribunal determined that it is not included within the term “provincial court”, and therefore had no jurisdiction under the Copyright Act to award a civil remedy (including an order to pay compensation for damages).
The Tribunal also stated that it had no authority to award a remedy for copyright infringement outside of the Copyright Act, as no common law cause of action for copyright infringement exists in Canada.
The Tribunal acknowledged that it had previously issued decisions regarding liability for alleged copyright infringement. However, the Tribunal distinguished its prior decisions from the current dispute, as no previous decision considered whether the Tribunal had jurisdiction over awarding a civil remedy under the Copyright Act or addressed Section 41.24.
The Tribunal concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to remedy any alleged copyright infringement and refused to resolve the Applicant’s claim, citing Section 11(1)(e) of the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act.
Summary By: Steffi Tran
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