Catherine Leuthold v. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

(Federal) (Civil) (By Leave)




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Intellectual property – Copyright – Infringement – Evidence – Costs – Interpretation – Section 2.4(1)(c) of the Copyright Act – Whether a transmission of a production undertaking to more than one distribution undertaking results in more than one transmission – In interpreting a licence, whether the subjective testimony of witnesses who are employees of one of the parties should be given full consideration – In considering whether an offer made by a party meets the test of a reasonable compromise, is the compromise between the offer made and the amount awarded in the cause, or between the offer made and the claim of the opposite party? – Whether the costs award is appropriate.

The applicant, a professional photo-journalist, sued the respondent for copyright infringement in respect of the use of five of her photographs in a documentary about the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. She sought damages in the amount of twenty million dollars, and was awarded damages in the amount of $19,200. Notwithstanding her success, she was ordered to pay respondents double costs because she recovered less than the settlement offered by the respondents. The applicant appealed but her appeals were dismissed.

Lower Court Rulings

June 14, 2012
Federal Court

T-299-05, 2012 FC 748
Action allowed; respondent ordered to pay damages for six occasions of copyright infringement in the amount of $19,200USD
June 27, 2014
Federal Court of Appeal

2014 FCA 173, 2014 FCA 174, A-330-12, A-543-12
Appeal from judgment on infringement dismissed