On January 12, 2018, a class action was initiated by Stewart McKelvey against Afterlife.co in response to the unauthorized use of obituaries and photographs on the Afterlife.co.ca website. A copy of the application issued by the Federal Courts of Canada is available here. Should the class be certified, each Canadian who authored works that were used by Afterlife without permission will become a member of the class. Notices will be posted to this page providing information as to how the proceeding is progressing and alerting class members of their opportunity to participate in or opt out of the class action.
We will be providing information to all potential class members as it becomes available, and in a manner approved by the Federal Courts.
Please continue to check this webpage for further updates.
Update (2 May 2019): On May 1st, 2019 Justice Kane of the Federal Court issued a decision in the Afterlife Class Action. It was held that the Respondent, Afterlife, had infringed the copyright of the class members. An injunction was granted and $20,000,000 in statutory and aggravated damages was awarded. A copy of the full decision can be found here.
Class Counsel are in the process of enforcing the judgment against Afterlife. Once reasonable enforcement measures have concluded, any monies collected will be held in trust pending a direction of the court as to how the money is to be distributed to the two million class members.
If you would like to be added to the list of class members please complete the form here wherein you will be asked to supply your name, address, email and the name of deceased person described in the obituary that you authored.
Update (12 February 2019): The hearing of this matter proceeded in the Federal Court before the Honourable Justice Kane on 12 February 2019. Once a decision is received it will be posted to this website. A copy of the Applicant’s Record can be viewed here.
Update (27 July 2018): By Order of the Honourable Justice Locke dated 27 July 2018, this class action has been certified and Stewart McKelvey has been appointed as Class Counsel. You can see the complete Order here.
The Order describes the class as follows:
All natural persons and estates in Canada who have authored or received by assignment an obituary that has been reproduced, in whole or in substantial part, without permission on www.afterlife.co/ca; and all persons in Canada who have authored or received by assignment or the terms of the Copyright Act a photograph that was reproduced, in whole or in substantial part, without permission on www.afterlife.co/ca.
Excluded from the Class are all directors, shareholders, officers and employees of the Respondent.
Update (30 January 2018): The Applicant’s Certification Motion Record was filed on January 30, 2018. A copy of the record is available here.
IMPORTANT: Class members may opt out of this Class Proceeding by completing and delivering the opt-out form to Class Counsel by no later than October 1, 2018. The opt-out form can be found here.