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Digest of the Week - Copyright: Presumption of Ownership

Digest of the Week - Copyright: Presumption of Ownership

Presumption of ownership where owner's named appeared on publication in usual manner

Canadian Standards Assn. v. P.S. Knight Co.
2016 CarswellNat 581
Federal Court

Intellectual property --- Copyright — Ownership — Authorship

Copyright owner was standards development, testing, and certification organization — Owner published Canadian Electrical Code Part I, which was in its 23rd edition in 2015 — Owner's code was complete code of electrical standards, and it was adopted by various provinces in their legislation — Competitor published book called Electrical Code Simplified that was substantial copy of owner's 2015 code — Owner brought application against competitor for relief for copyright infringement — Application granted — Owner could not rely on presumptions of validity and ownership based on registration pursuant to s. 53 of Copyright Act — Copyright was registered three days after application was commenced rather than in normal course of business — Nonetheless, owner was entitled to presumption of ownership pursuant to s. 34.1(2)(a) of Act since owner's name was on 2015 code in usual manner — Copyright did not belong to Crown — Owner was neither government organization nor under government control — It would be contrary to purposive construction of Act to strip owner of its rights in 2015 code simply because certain provinces incorporated it into law — Owner obtained assignments from many, if not all, authors who contributed to improvements.

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