A slate of five digital copyright cases were ruled upon this week in Canada's Supreme Court, but the precedents set in one online music controversy could send ripple effects well beyond the nation's borders.
According to the Globe and Mail, both digital downloads and online music streaming have traditionally been classified as public communication, with service providers paying licensing fees to musicians and composers for the right to "perform" a song. However, this week saw that stance overturned when the high court ruled that digital downloads constitute a private transmission of media, consequently relieving internet companies of the cost formerly associated with such services.
"I think in the medium term we're going to see an expansion of online music services - legitimate opportunities to buy and sell digital music on the internet - because the process for clearing the rights got a lot simpler and less expensive with these judgments," University of Ottawa professor Jeremy de Beer told CBC.
These rulings come at an interesting time, following reports that the European Union is currently exploring amendments to its music copyright framework from a different angle. According to Reuters, officials are currently developing plans to strengthen intellectual property protections for artists and expedite the delivery of royalties to rights owners.