When is a matter concluded?
It depends on how you define “conclude.”
Draft regulations establishing time limits for matters before the Copyright Board fall somewhat short of the stated goal of ensuring predictability.
The draft regulations state that the Copyright Board must decide on the approval of a proposed tariff within 12 months after the conclusion of the hearings.
In a submission to Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada commenting on the draft regulations, the CBA’s Intellectual Property Section said if the end of a proceeding is tied to the conclusion of hearings, the word “conclusion” needs to be defined.
“Our members report that the (Copyright) Board has, on its own initiative, sent follow-up questions months or even a year after hearing the parties’ formal submissions,” the Section says. “The timeline may be extended by an additional 12 months, on the eve of the anticipated Board decision, simply by the Board sending a question to the parties.”
The Section recommends the Board set out a predictable timeline for rendering a decision, to start when the hearing concludes – either the deadline for written submissions or the last day of the hearing before the Board.
“A hearing should not be continued if the Board submits further questions or queries to the parties,” the Section says – the Board should be required to submit its questions within the time limit and should not be able to extend its deadline except in exceptional circumstances.