Interbox Promotion Corp v 2428-0414 Quebec Inc, 2003 FC 125

Key Principle:

While sporting events do not themselves qualify as works capable of attracting copyright protection, television reproductions of sporting events may. In the case of televised programming, generally both the programming itself and the communication signal by which it is transmitted is protected by copyright.

Summary:

The Situation:

You manage a pay-per-view television channel that broadcasts sporting events in Canada. Through an agreement with an American broadcaster, your channel has, within Canada, gained the exclusive rights to an upcoming sporting event. Following the transmission of the event, you learn that a local sports bar showed the event without using your pay-per-view service. It did this by illicitly showing the American broadcaster’s channel, contrary to the conditions of public performance that you released. Do you have recourse against the bar?

The Conclusion:

Yes. Through the agreement with the American broadcaster, your channel was either granted ownership of the program within Canada or assigned copyright within the Canadian jurisdiction. As such, only your channel had the right to authorize the public performance of the televised event in Canada.