Access Copyright Turns 30!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

August 23 is a big day for Access Copyright.

It was back in 1988 when Canadian creators and publishers recognized the need to band together to form a collective society to provide a one-stop solution to license the photocopying of published works while ensuring rightsholders would be fairly compensated for that copying. Their efforts came to fruition with the creation of CANCOPY.

Tuesday, August 23, 1988 was Day One for the organization.

Thursday, August 23, 2018 marks Access Copyright’s 30th anniversary.

Our early history was one of slow but steady growth. We signed our first licence in 1991. We made our first distribution to rightsholders in 1993. The first digital licence was signed in 1999. Over the years, the number of affiliates and sectors served by us increased.

With over $440 million in royalties distributed to rightsholders, we’ve always been motivated by the belief that those who wish to use published content should be able to do so quickly and easily while providing an opportunity for the creators and publishers of that content to be fairly paid.

Over the years, we’ve changed and evolved, including updating our name to Access Copyright in 2002. We’ve had many triumphs along with our fair share of challenges, especially in the past few years. As we reflect on the past 30 years, we would like to recognize those who have contributed to our organization.

  • Over 150 members of the creator, publisher, education and technology sectors who have served on the Access Copyright Board and provided strategic guidance to our organization.
  • Over 13,000 writers, visual artists and publishers who have entrusted us with representing their reproduction rights.
  • Over 900 current licensees who have recognized the value in the mutually beneficial system of collective licensing.
  • Our membership of 34 creator and publisher organizations with whom we work closely to champion the work of Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers.
  • Our staff members whose work supports Access Copyright’s social mission.

As we celebrate on August 23, we remind ourselves that yesterday, today and tomorrow we continuously strive to support the vast array of Canadian creators and publishers who passionately practice their craft everyday and to give those who value and depend on that content a simple way to use it and ensure it can continue to be created.

30 Years of Access Copyright: By the Numbers


A Timeline of the Past 30 Years