The Government of Canada is proposing changes to the Copyright Act which will decrease the income, small as it is, of authors in this country. The exemption for education users works this way: the school buys one or two copies of a work, then photocopies portions it wishes to use, or indeed the entire work. Up to now, the school would have to buy a license to do so, a portion of which goes the the author. The details are in the following excerpt from the Canadian Authors Association newsletter ( used with permission.)
CAA Joins Writers’ Coalition On Copyright ReformSix leading professional organizations representing Canadian writers and translators have formed a coalition to ensure that proposed legislation to reform Canadian copyright law will respect our rights, including the right to be fairly remunerated for our work. We will be working together to engage our members to support appropriate amendments to C-32, the government bill that was given first reading in Parliament on June 2nd.
The Writers’ Union of Canada, the Professional Writers Association of Canada, the Playwrights Guild of Canada, the League of Canadian Poets, the Canadian Authors Association and the Literary Translators Association of Canada will work together through the summer and fall to advise politicians and civil servants on required changes to the legislation under consideration. The six associations represent over 4000 professional writers and translators.
CAA is also participating in a wider coalition led by the Canadian Copyright Institute that includes associations from all the creator sectors. We will be sending you further information about these issues, and we also want your feedback and your concerns. This process is very important to all of us as we hope it will influence the outcome of Bill C-32. We look forward to future dialogue with you. In the meantime, here are some facts about the proposed copyright legislation and how it affects writers and publishers:What’s wrong with Bill C-32?
Canadian writers and other creators will suffer hardship under C-32
The average income of a Canadian writer is only $16,000 – that’s less than minimum wage;Most Canadian publishers operate on very slim margins; their sustainability is often fragile;Canada’s creators and publishers need all the income their works can generate. Their sustainability is threatened when income is taken away;Only some of the income from a book or other copyright protected work is generated when it is sold. Other revenues are earned when instead of buying more copies of a book, a school or other institution reproduces pages of the original. To get permission to make copies without infringing copyright, they purchase Collective Licenses, income from which flows back to creators and publishers just like royalties from sales;By exempting educational users and others from the requirement to get collective licenses, C-32 will cost Canadian creators and publishers as much as $30 million a year in license income alone.C-32 violates core principles of Copyright Law
Copyright exists to protect producers and creators. When others use our works, copyright law should ensure the people who worked so hard to produce them are compensated;C-32 expropriates creators and publishers in the name of the public interest; but no other supplier to the educational sector – whether makers of desks or computers or the teachers in the classroom – are forced to work for free!What you can do to fix Bill C-32:Help ensure Canadian creators are heard. Raise our concerns with your colleagues, in caucus, and in the House of Commons;Build bridges with like-minded members of other parties to protect Canadian creators from unfair and arbitrary expropriation;Protect Canada’s place in the new digital economy by supporting amendments to C-32 that – without hardship to consumers – ensure Canada’s creators suffer no hardship. Creators of content need to derive benefit from their work. The vitality of Canadian culture in the global digital economy depends on it!”
This is equivalent to a tax on authors in support of the educational system. It reduces the amount governments have to pay for books and other content in different media which their curriculum requires. It is unfair.