Access Copyright statement regarding Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology’s Copyright Act Review Report

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

TORONTO (June 5, 2019) – The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology has issued its Statutory Review of the Copyright Act Report. While Canada’s writers, visual artists and publishers are concerned with sections of the Report that threaten to exacerbate harms to their livelihoods, it also provides two instructive recommendations to address education as a fair dealing purpose and harmonization of statutory damages for collectives.

Facilitation to address education as a fair dealing purpose

Access Copyright supports Recommendation 16: That the Government of Canada consider establishing facilitation between the education sector and the copyright collectives to build consensus towards the future of educational fair dealing in Canada.

Immediate action would have addressed the serious harm Canada’s writing and publishing industries have and continue to experience more effectively. However, we are optimistic this collaborative approach will benefit Canadian creators and publishers, as well as students and educators at every level.

With respect to fair dealing, Access Copyright – and the 12,000 creators and 650 publishers the organization represents – is pleased to see that the Report finds the education sector’s bright-line approach to fair dealing, “questionable.” This issue has been well-documented and is reflected in the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s Shifting Paradigms report, which provides constructive recommendations following extensive consultation with a broad range of stakeholders.

“The Industry Committee recognizes the status quo is not sustainable. Today, Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers don’t receive fair compensation when the education sector copies their works,” said Roanie Levy, President & CEO, Access Copyright. “Now, the courts and two Standing Committees – Industry and Canadian Heritage – concur there is a legitimate problem with the education sector’s interpretation of fair dealing. Access Copyright looks forward to working together with stakeholders in government and education to arrive at a sustainable solution.”

Harmonization of statutory damages available to collectives

The Report states unequivocally that all collectives should be entitled to statutory damages, a position endorsed by the Canadian creative and publishing industries and clearly reflected in Recommendation 32: That the Government of Canada evaluate the forms of statutory damages available under the Copyright Act to a collective society or rights-holder who has authorized a collective society to act on their behalf where applicable royalties are set by the Copyright Board of Canada and the defendant has not paid them.

“Key recommendations by the Industry Committee, paired with The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s Shifting Paradigms report, provide a framework for MPs and policymakers to immediately start developing sound policies to fairly compensate Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers for the education sector’s use of their works,” concludes Ms. Levy.

Advocating for Canadian creators and publishers

Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers have provided strong, evidence-based testimony and submissions addressing the well-documented and extensive damage that has resulted from introducing education as a fair dealing purpose in the 2012 Copyright Modernization Act.

The Canadian courts have ruled on the education-sector’s interpretation of fair dealing in the Access Copyright v. York University (2017) decision. Over four-weeks, the trial judge heard extensive evidence presented by both sides on the impact of York’s copying policy on the writing and publishing market. After careful examination, the Court found “overwhelming” evidence of harm, concluding that “any suggestion that the Guidelines have not and will not have negative impacts on copyright owners or publishers is not tenable.”  The trial judge concluded there was clear evidence that the free copying under these policies substituted for the sale of works. York has appealed the decision.

Access Copyright will continue to advocate on behalf of Canada’s creative and publishing industries.

– 30 –

About Access Copyright

For over 30 years, Access Copyright has facilitated content use for educational and professional purposes. Access Copyright has helped people make customized use of published materials combined with an assurance that the original creators and publishers also benefit, so that they can continue creating new and innovative works. This is vitally important to a strong Canadian culture and to all who rely on quality publications.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Anne Yourt, Access Copyright | 647.216.0624