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Statutory, but not punitive, damages for copyright infringement

Rundle provided training services to assist federal government employees in passing various language proficiency tests for bilingual positions in the federal public service. The Court found that Rundle knew the tests were confidential and protected by copyright, but nonetheless covertly collected test materials and used them for her own training services.

The Crown elected to seek statutory and punitive damages of $20,000 for each of the six tests that were compromised ($120,000), as well as $15,000 in punitive damages. The Court awarded statutory damages in the amount of $60,000, and declined to award punitive damages. Although punitive damages are available in addition to an award of statutory damages, the Court noted that subsections 38.1(5)(a) and (b) of the Copyright Act already contain considerations regarding the conduct of the parties that overlap with those used to assess entitlement to punitive damages.

A copy of the decision may be found here.