June 29, 2017

Independent publishers applaud Supreme Court decision on Google v. Equustek

The Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) welcomes news of the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on the case of Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc. et al. The Court upheld an injunction of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and allowed by the BC Court of Appeal, requiring Google to de- index websites that unlawfully sell the intellectual property of another company. The 7-2 majority decision confirms that search engines share responsibility in preventing the illegal trafficking of intellectual property. ACP was an intervener in the case, acting alongside the Canadian Publishers’ Council.

The Equustek decision will be important to book publishers given the widespread online piracy of books. The Court’s decision is expected to support efforts to curb internet-based infringement of a range of digital products, including ebooks, audiobooks, and scanned print books.

ACP is also pleased that the Court’s decision affirms the importance of freedom of expression, a core value of ACP. The Court determined that the de-indexing of illegal content by search engines does not limit this freedom.

“The Supreme Court’s decision recognizes that in a borderless online environment, search engines have important responsibilities for upholding intellectual property rights,” said ACP president Glenn Rollans. “This is welcome news to independent publishers who have limited resources to combat online piracy while seizing digital opportunities.”