Supreme Court rules in favour of Montreal animator in children's show battle

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in favour of a Montreal animator in his long-running battle over copyright infringement.

Claude Robinson had already won at the Quebec Court of Appeal, which ruled that the Montreal company, Cinar, had essentially copied his idea for a children’s television show.

Robinson was originally awarded more than $5 million in damages, so Cinar appealed to the Supreme Court, and has now lost.

Robinson created a children’s show concept called The Adventures of Robinson Curiosity in the 1980s that was loosely based on Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe novel.

He sued after seeing a similar show a decade later, called Robinson Sucroe, that went on to become quite popular.

The Supreme Court has ruled by a 7-0 margin that the copyright of Robinson’s original creation had been infringed.

“Claude Robinson was a dreamer. He spent years meticulously crafting an imaginary universe for an educational children’s television show,” Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote on behalf of the court. “I conclude that the copyright in Curiosity was infringed.”

MP Pierre Nantel, New Democrat critic for Canadian Heritage, praised Robinson for his legal victory.

“This case was not only about recognizing the rights of creators, but also about ordinary citizens’ access to justice,” Nantel said in a statement.

“After 17 years of litigation, Mr. Robinson can finally claim his victory. His perseverance throughout this whole process has been remarkable.”