Provincial land registration regime gave Crown complete control over publishing plans of survey

Real Property - Registration of Real Property - Registration of Land

T Inc. managed Ontario's electronic land registry system as service provider to government. When plans of survey were registered and deposited at land registry office, T Inc. scanned plans of survey and added this electronic information to its databases. T Inc. provided electronic copies to public for statutorily prescribed fee. K Ltd. was successful in motion to certify class action on behalf of land surveyors who registered or deposited plans of survey in provincial land registry offices. Second common issue was whether copyright in plans of survey belonged to Province pursuant to s. 12 of Copyright Act. T Inc.'s motion for summary judgment was granted and class action was dismissed. K Ltd.'s appeal to Court of Appeal found was dismissed. K Ltd. appealed to Supreme Court of Canada. Appeal dismissed. Section 12 of Act states that Crown will have copyright when work is prepared or published by or under its direction or control. Statutory provisions which gave Crown right to control making of copies suggested that Crown possessed extensive control over publication process. Only Crown could control dissemination of registered and deposited plans of survey. It was particularly significant that Crown had power to amend content of plans of survey once registered or deposited. Provincial land registration regime gave Crown complete control over process of publication. Because of extent of direction and control, copyright vested in Crown by operation of s. 12 of Act when registered or deposited plans of survey were published.

Keatley Surveying Ltd. v. Teranet Inc. (2019), 2019 CarswellOnt 15110, 2019 CarswellOnt 15111, 2019 SCC 43, 2019 CSC 43, Wagner C.J.C., Abella J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Côté J., Brown J., and Martin J. (S.C.C.); affirmed (2017), 2017 CarswellOnt 14961, 2017 ONCA 748, Doherty J.A., D.M. Brown J.A., and B.W. Miller J.A. (Ont. C.A.).

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