Gould Estate v. Stoddart Publishing Co. Ltd.

Gould Estate v. Stoddart Publishing Co. Ltd.

"Gould Estate v. Stoddart Publishing Co. Ltd." 1998 CanLII 5513 (ON C.A.), is a leading Canadian copyright case on the ownership of copyright and requirements of fixation.


During 1956, Jock Carroll interviewed a young Glenn Gould for an article in Weekend Magazine. Carroll documented much of the encounter, he took pictures of Gould, wrote notes and took an audio recording of the interview. All of this was permitted by Gould. The article was eventually published under the title "I Don't Think I'm at All Eccentric".

In 1995, after Gould's death, Carroll published a book called “Glenn Gould: Some Portraits of the Artist as a Young Man” that contained nine photographs from the 1956 interview, as well the narrative of the books was largely based on the notes and recording and contained many quotations by Gould.

The estate of Glenn Gould brought an action against Carroll for copyright infringement in the material that Carroll had recorded and the pictures he had taken.

Opinion of the Court

The Ontario Court of Appeal held that the oral statements of Gould could not be protected by copyright because there was not fixation. Gould was not reading from a speech or had prepared anything that was said.

Affirmed by the appellate judge, the trial judge held: :"The conversation between the two men was the kind that Gould would have with a friend. Indeed Gould and Carroll remained friends for a short while afterwards. Gould was not delivering a structured lecture or dictating to Carroll. Rather, Carroll engaged Gould in easygoing conversation out of which emerged comments which provided insights into Gould’s character and personal life. Gould was making offhand comments that he knew could find their way into the public domain. This is not the kind of disclosure which the Copyright Act intended to protect."

External links

* [http://www.canlii.org/on/cas/onca/1998/1998onca10300.html OntCA decision]

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