The Supreme Court Of Canada has ruled that music previews comply to the definition of Fair Dealing in the Copyright Act and cannot therefore be subjected to the collection of royalties.

“Research” need not be for creative purposes only. Permitting only creative purposes to qualify as “research” would ignore the fact that one of the objectives of the Copyright Act is the dissemination of the works themselves. Limiting “research” to creative purposes would also run counter to the ordinary meaning of “research”, which includes many activities that do not require the establishment of new facts or conclusions. The fair dealing exception must not be interpreted restrictively and “research” must be given a large and liberal interpretation.

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, Canadian Recording Industry Association and CMRRA-SODRAC Inc had wished to collect royalties from internet providers for both previews and full music downloads, the latter also having been dismissed by another ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada today.

These royalties would have resulted in major expenditures for internet providers, who would have passed these on to the consumer.