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On May 31, 2024, the Federal Court of Canada ruled in the case of 1395804 Ontario Ltd. (Blacklock’s Reporter) v. Canada (Attorney General), 2024 FC 829 

The central issue was whether Canadian government employees infringed Blacklock’s Reporter’s copyright by sharing its articles without authorization. This case has implications for Canadian university libraries, as it helps restore the balance between users’ rights and copyright holders. 

Blacklock’s is a subscription-based news service covering the federal government and courts. This matter is part of a series of parallel cases where they alleged that various federal departments committed copyright infringement by sharing subscription passwords to access their content. 

The court ruled in favor of the Canadian government, concluding that the use of the articles was for the purpose of research and that the sharing constituted fair dealing under s.29 of the Copyright Act. 

Additionally, the court clarified that using legitimately obtained passwords to access content does not violate technological protection measures (TPMs). 

This ruling is particularly relevant for university libraries, as it helps to clarify the principle of fair dealing in educational and research contexts; where it works in tandem with TPMs and other licensing agreement terms.  

The UVic Libraries Copyright and Scholarly Communications Office works to ensure compliance with fair dealing provisions; and educates faculty, staff, and students on acceptable use of the Libraries’ digital and print resources. 

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