J. Aidan O’Neill

Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Ottawa, Ontario

Aidan O’Neill practises primarily in the fields of intellectual property, media and communications law. He is a member of both the Quebec and Ontario Bars, which he joined in 1982 and 1985 respectively.

Aidan has extensive experience with respect to copyright issues and litigation relating to the communications, new media, and education sectors. In this regard, he regularly advises clients in the context of tariff-setting proceedings conducted before the Copyright Board of Canada. In this capacity, since 1987, he has acted as legal counsel in over 20 different hearings before the Copyright Board, as well as its predecessor tribunal, the Copyright Appeal Board, to establish the royalties payable for the use of musical works, sound recordings and other copyrighted works by private and public broadcasters and satellite services, as well as for the use of published literary works by Canadian educational institutions, and by provincial and territorial governments.

With respect to the royalties payable by educational institutions, Aidan was one of two co-counsel who represented a consortium of provincial and territorial Ministers of Education in the Copyright Board’s 2007 and 2014 tariff hearings in relation to the royalties proposed by Access Copyright for the reproduction of published works by elementary and secondary (“K-12”) schools in Canada. He was also involved in a similar Board proceeding relating to Access Copyright’s proposed royalties that would apply to post-secondary educational institutions, such as Canadian universities and colleges.
In association with his work before the Copyright Board, Aidan also often acts for his clients before the Federal Court of Appeal in relation to judicial review applications arising from the Board’s various tariff decisions. For example, in 2010, he appeared before the Federal Court of Appeal in three separate proceedings relating to the Copyright Board’s decisions with respect to SOCAN Tariff 22, Access Copyright’s K-12 tariff, and CSI’s satellite radio tariff.

Moreover, in December, 2011, acting for the appellants, Aidan was co-counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada in the “fair dealing” appeal relating to Access Copyright’s tariff for elementary and secondary schools in Canada. The Supreme Court’s July 12, 2012 decision with respect to this matter held in Alberta v. Access Copyright (2012 SCC 37) that the Board had improperly interpreted the scope of the fair dealing rights under section 29 of the Copyright Act that enabled K-12 schools to reproduce “short excerpts” of protected books, newspapers and periodicals on a copyright-free basis.

The Supreme Court’s 2012 decision on the scope of fair dealing rights in Canadian educational institutions formed a principal basis of the Objectors’ position in the Copyright Board’s 2014 hearing to establish the royalties payable to Access Copyright by K-12 schools during the 2010-2015 tariff period. This tariff matter is currently under advisement with the Board.

Mr. O’Neill writes and speaks regularly on the subject of copyright law and procedures before the Copyright Board. He is also a member of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (“IPIC”) and is a board member of the Canadian chapter of the Association littéraire et artisique internationale (“ALAI Canada)” which holds regularly scheduled conferences in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa on a wide variety of copyright issues.