TORONTO - Ontario land surveyors say land registry offices in the province are selling unauthorized copies of their work, and they are seeking millions in damages.

A proposed class action has been filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice by Keatley Surveying Ltd. on behalf of all land surveyors in Ontario.

The surveyors claim their drawings, maps, charts and plans that were registered, deposited or filed in Ontario land registry offices have been copied and sold without their consent.

The claim seeks $50 million in general damages, an injunction to prevent future use of copyrighted material without permission, and other damages from land registry operator Teranet Inc.

The surveyors claim unauthorized copies are being sold to the public for a fee and they are receiving none of the proceeds.

They say this business model is based on selling unauthorized copies for a profit and is in violation of the Copyright Act.

"The federal Copyright Act provides automatic protection for the creator of drawings, maps, charts and plans," Keatley said Monday in a release.

Teranet has "more than 900,000 unauthorized copies of surveyors' works in its database," Keatley says in the statement of claim.

It goes on to say that the revenue from the sale of unauthorized copies "exceeds $10 million per year."

Allegations made in the statement of claim have not been proven in court.

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