Coalition of cultural organizations representing over 50,000 Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers calls on Minister St-Onge to engage with François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, to end the standstill in fulfilling the government's promise to fix Canada's Copyright Act
TORONTO, Aug. 3, 2023 /CNW/ – For over ten years now, since an undefined education category was added under fair dealing in the Copyright Act, Canadian creators and publishers have been deprived of over $200 million and counting in earned royalties by elementary and secondary schools, universities and colleges.
"As Minister St-Onge takes the reins from Minister Rodriguez, tackling meaningful copyright reform must be at the top of her list of priorities," said Danny Ramadan, Chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada. "The government needs to act urgently to end the mass, systemic, free copying of creators’ works by educational institutions outside of Quebec."
In April 2022, the federal government acknowledged that the Copyright Act had broken Canada’s publishing marketplace and committed to repairing it. Since then, the government has not taken the meaningful steps required to do so. Failure to act with a sense of urgency continues to negatively impact publishers, creators as well as organizations such as Access Copyright, a key piece of cultural infrastructure that Canadian creators and publishers rely on to be fairly compensated for the use of their work.
"Minister Champagne holds the pen on copyright policy in Canada, and he appears to listen only to voices coming from the education sector," said Glenn Rollans, President and Publisher of Brush Education and the spokesperson for the Association of Canadian Publishers on copyright issues. "After suffering more than a decade of systematic, unfair copying by schools and post-secondaries without permission or compensation, we are counting on Minister St-Onge to press Minister Champagne to stand up for Canadian writers and publishers and represent our interests too."
Collectively and individually, the creative sector will continue to ask the government to do the right thing, especially as its continued inaction has brought immense harm to Canadian creators and makes Canada an outlier internationally.
"Quite frankly, Canada is an international embarrassment on this issue," said John Degen, Chief Executive Officer of The Writers’ Union of Canada. "Our government needs to get this one right if we have any chance of addressing something like artificial intelligence, which, if left unchecked, will eviscerate whatever is left of Canada’s writing and publishing marketplace."
We have been patient.
We have counted on the government.
We are out of time and need urgent action.
There is a ready-made solution to address the devastating impact of education fair dealing. Canadian creators and publishers urge the federal government to act today so there will be Canadian stories tomorrow.
This release is sent on behalf of the following organizations: Access Copyright, Association of Book Publishers of BC (Books BC), Association of Canadian Publishers, Association of Manitoba Book Publishers, Book Publishers Association of Alberta, Canadian Artists’ Representation (CARFAC), Canadian Authors Association, Canadian Publishers’ Council, Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP), Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Copibec, Copyright Visual Artists – CARCC, League of Canadian Poets, Literary Press Group of Canada, Manitoba Writers’ Guild, News Media Canada, Playwrights Guild of Canada, Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV), Saskatchewan Writers Guild, SaskBooks, The Writers’ Union of Canada, Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ), WritersNL, Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick and Writers’ Guild of Alberta.
SOURCE Access Copyright