Warman Vs. Fournier Case Study

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Warman v. Fournier—Implied Consent and Copyright Issues

The Warman v. Fournier case offers an interesting insight into summarizing and republishing works online in either a blog post or online reporting and the implications of copyright infringement. Fournier, who operates a website titled Freedom Dominion was a part of a controversy that involved three separate claims for infringement of copyrighted works. Fournier was relieved of these accusations due to lack of substantiality. The court states, “quantitatively, the production constitutes less than half of the work. The Kay Work itself consists of a headline and eleven paragraphs. The reproduction on Free Dominion included the headline, three complete paragraphs and a part of a fourth” (CanLII,
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In this case, the court ruled in fair dealing for Fournier for the purpose of news reporting as stated by the Copyright Act. While the court ruled in the journalist’s favour, there are still concerns regarding this case. The fairness factors applied to this case: purpose of the dealing, character of the dealing, amount of the dealing, alternatives to the dealing, nature of the work, and the effect of the dealing on the work; are not a checklist. Rather, they are to be looked at holistically. However, this can be a problem. In regards to Warman v. Fournier, the amount of the work that was used was considered; but what constitutes as a substantial amount, or how do you define what is qualitatively important? Bob Tarantino states in his analysis of the Warman v. Fournier case, “no precise answer is possible” (5). Practically speaking, a journalist could ‘summarize’ a large amount of a work and it could count as fair dealing, or use small amount of excerpts from a work and it could be classified as an infringement because the definition of substantiality is not defined. Michael Geist notes in his Toronto Star article, “[w]hile many assume that anything more than a sentence or two goes beyond insubstantial, the court’s ruling …show more content…
This infringement takes both the normative approach and the instrumental approach. Normatively, the Montreal police infringes on the basic human rights of Lagacé. However, this scandal also brings about an instrumental approach, making it difficult for journalists to do their jobs—it advances other interests. Namely, the interest of a journalist being able to do his or her job. This scandal makes journalists jobs more difficult when it comes to interviewing sources. Due to this controversy, journalists all over the country may have difficulty securing sources because their sources may fear prosecution if journalists are being tracked—especially if the journalist is uncovering a controversial topic. So while ICTs like smart phones can simplify the process of interviewing and investigating for reporters, it is also chilling—on both their privacy and the freedom of the

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