a 2 i m

Landmark Canadian Supreme Court Ruling: Search Engines Can Be Compelled to Remove Illegal Sites from Results


Ottawa, Canada and London, UK, 28th June 2017 – In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada has today issued a judgment confirming that Canadian courts have the power to compel search engines to take effective action to remove illegal sites from their search results both in Canada and worldwide.

In the case, which was brought by Canadian firm, Equustek, a Canadian court had ordered Google to eliminate from its search results websites that illegally sell goods violating Equustek’s trade secrets.  After Equustek won the case in the lower courts, Google appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

Music industry organisations from around world intervened to support Equustek’s case that Google must take on the responsibility to ensure it is not directing users to illegal sites. These included: IFPI, representing the recorded music industry worldwide; Music Canada, representing the Canadian recording industry; WIN, representing the global independent music industry, ICMP, representing music publishers and CISAC, representing authors and composers globally.

In its decision today, the Supreme Court found in favour of Equustek and upheld the lower courts’ decisions ordering Google to remove links to the illegal sites both in Canada and worldwide.

Frances Moore, IFPI CEO, commented on the case: “Canada’s highest court has handed down a decision that is very good news for rights holders both in Canada and around the world. Whilst this was not a music piracy case, search engines play a prominent role in directing users to illegal content online including illegal music sites.

“If the digital economy is to grow to its full potential, online intermediaries, including search engines, must play their part by ensuring that their services are not used to facilitate the infringement of intellectual property rights.”

Alison Wenham, WIN CEO added: “This decision represents an important step towards a fair internet for consumers and rights owners. Common sense has finally prevailed.”

Coco Carmona, ICMP Director General, commented: “Creators and rights holders are completely dependent on the effective enforcement of intellectual property rights. Search engines, as gatekeepers of the Internet, should play a key role in ensuring that IPR infringements do not occur and this decision from the Canadian Supreme Court recognises this role. ICMP therefore welcomes this ruling and hopes it will help curb online infringement and ultimately help to protect the livelihoods of composers, songwriters, artists and their business partners, in Canada and across the world.”

Gadi Oron, Director-General of CISAC, said: “This is an important decision for the creative industries, copyright holders and the digital economy. It serves as a strong reminder that the success of creators in the digital world depends on the responsibility of online intermediaries to deter unlicensed use of creative works. Search engines are the gateway to the online market and as such, should help prevent access to infringing content.”

– Ends –

For further information please contact:

John Blewett ([email protected]) or Ariana Gollogly (Email: [email protected]) +44 (0)20 7878 7900


Notes to editors:

About IFPI

IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1,300 major and independent companies in 58 countries. It also has affiliated industry national groups in 57 countries. IFPI’s mission is to promote the value of recorded music, campaign for the rights of record producers and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all markets where its members operate.

www.IFPI.org | Twitter: @IFPI_org

About WIN

The Worldwide Independent Music Industry Network (WIN) is a global forum for the professional independent music industry. It was launched in 2006 in response to business, creative and market access issues faced by the independent sector everywhere. For independent music companies and their national trade associations worldwide, WIN is a collective voice. It also acts as an advocate, instigator and facilitator for its membership.

winformusic.org | Twitter: @winformusic

About ICMP

ICMP is the world trade association representing the interests of the music publishing community internationally. The constituent members of ICMP are music publishers’ associations from Europe, Middle East, North and South America, Africa and Asia-Pacific. Included are the leading multinational and international companies as well as regional and national music publishers, mainly SMEs, throughout the world.

As the voice and point of reference of music publishers, the community of composers and songwriters, and the production music sector, ICMP’s mission is to increase copyright protection internationally, encourage a better environment for our business and act as an industry forum for consolidating global positions.

www.icmp-ciem.org | Twitter: @_ICMP


CISAC – the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers – is the world’s leading network of authors’ societies (also referred to as Collective Management Organisations, or CMOs).  With 239 member societies in 121 countries, CISAC represents over four million creators from all geographic regions and artistic repertoires including music, audiovisual, drama, literature and visual arts. CISAC protects the rights and represents the interests of creators worldwide.

www.cisac.org | Twitter: @CISACNews | Facebook


About A2IM:
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of more than 700 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.

Learn more about A2IM here.
For information about how to join our community, see here.