French- and English-Language Canadians Protest Copyright Inaction

In News by Porter Anderson

‘Québec rights holders have not been immune’ from the devastation of Canada’s copyright act in fair-dealing,’ says Copibec’s Christian LaForce.

Image – Getty iStockphoto: David Leduc

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

See also: Rights Edition: Yet Another Blow to Copyright in Canada

Kate Edwards: A Copyright Landscape ‘Rife With Uncertainty’
Every time regular followers of the Canadian copyright crisis think that nothing else could add more insult to injury, another potential moment to address the issue seems to get past an uncaring government in Ottawa.

On March 1, Publishing Perspectives reported on “yet another blow to copyright in Canada.” Today, there’s yet another puzzling miss of any effort to mitigate the damage created by Canada’s ironically named Copyright Modernization Act of 2012.

This time, both Access Copyright and Copibec, Canada’s English-language and French-language copyright collectives are speaking together in a statement condemning the Canadian federal government’s budget for 2024 “neglecting to include long-needed action regarding Canada’s fair dealing regime.”

Canadian publishers and authors report that more than CA$200 million in licensing revenue (US$146.4 million) has disappeared during the last decade, with additional unknown lost sales.”

The Copibec-Access Copyright Statement

In the new joint statement provided to Publishing Perspectives from Copibec and Access Copyright, we read:

“Despite sustained and concerted advocacy from the entire creative and book-publishing industry in Canada regarding copyright reform, the government has once again chosen to delay the adoption of measures that are necessary to ensure that rightsholders are properly compensated when their works are used in Canada.

“After more than ten years of consultations and promises, definitive legislation has never been more urgently needed to set clear limits on the issue of fair dealing and ensure fair remuneration for rightsholders.

“For over a decade now, Canadian creators and publishers have stressed the urgency of clarifying the issue of fair dealing in Canada. It is disappointing that ‘Budget 2024’ does not provide the tangible solutions needed to remedy this situation.

Kate Edwards

“’Since 2012, the copyright landscape has been rife with uncertainty for writers, book publishers and rights collectives,” says Kate Edwards, CEO of Access Copyright.

“’Canadian authors, visual artists and publishers outside of Québec—those served by Access Copyright—have borne the primary impact of government inaction, which has resulted in millions upon millions in lost revenue for those who create and publish Canadian literature and Canadian-specific learning resources.’

“Québec rights holders have not been immune.

Christian Laforce

“’Without a clear legislative signal from the government, the risk of an increasingly permissive interpretation of fair dealing in Québec grows which will hurt Québec creators”,’ says Christian Laforce, executive director of copibec.

“Without certainty as to fair dealing and other necessary changes to the Copyright Act, Canada will continue to be out of step internationally. 

“It is imperative that Canadian authors, visual artists, and publishers enjoy the same rights and remuneration as their peers around the world, and that they be assured that their government will fiercely defend these rights alongside the future of Canadian literature.

“The Copyright Act does not adequately protect Canadian authors, rightsholders and publishers. The government must take action during the current parliamentary session to remedy this longstanding issue. Access Copyright and Copibec will continue to work in partnership with others across the sector to propose solutions that will strengthen and protect Canadian creators and their stories.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Canadian market is here, more from us on the Copyright Modernization Act is here, more on other copyright issues in world publishing is here, and more on rights trading, its trends and issues, is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.