Canadian Copyright Institute releases A Fair and Better Way Forward

March 11, 2014 — The Canadian Copyright Institute today released A Fair and Better Way Forward, an analysis and policy statement outlining how some changes to Canada’s Copyright Act are resulting in an unfortunate expansion in educational copying in Canada — on an industrial scale and without payment.

The CCI document acknowledges that the legal provision of fair dealing has been slightly expanded as a result of recent changes to the law while emphasizing that this change by no means eliminates the need for collective licensing in educational institutions. “It certainly does not justify copying practices that are bound to have a devastating impact on the market for published materials,” noted CCI Chair, Jacqueline Hushion, who pointed to the recent announcement by Oxford University Press of the closure of its K-12 publishing division. “That announcement underlined the influence that changes to Canadian copyright law, as well as the decision by provinces and school boards to opt out of Access Copyright licences, had on the company’s decision.”

CCI believes many of the revised copyright guideline documents currently being used in Canadian post-secondary institutions and K-12 school boards are overly aggressive in their expansion of fair dealing territory. This aggressive expansion is unsupported by either the changes to the Copyright Act or recent decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada. John Degen, Executive Director of the Writers’ Union of Canada, explained that “A Fair and Better Way Forward was published with the intention of opening a new dialogue between Canada’s writing and publishing sector and the educational institutions who copy our work for use in their classrooms.”

CCI is extremely disappointed that its invitation for dialogue has been rebuffed by the administrations and organizations to whom this paper was sent last year. “We release it now publicly,” said Gerry McIntyre, Executive Director of the Canadian Educational Resources Council, “in order to raise awareness of the institutional intransigence with which we have been struggling — and to shed greater light on this fundamental issue before further damage is done.” CCI is concerned that – as a result of the education associations’ unwillingness to engage in a constructive dialogue on the matter, teachers and their employers will now be exposed to expensive litigation, since no reasonable avenue for negotiation remains for educational content providers. CCI is greatly concerned that, as a result of this lack of dialogue, Canadian educators and Canadian writers and publishers — two groups with much in common — have been irresponsibly placed in legal opposition to each other.

» Download A Fair and Better Way Forward (PDF)

» CCI Press Release


The Canadian Copyright Institute (CCI) is an association of creators, producers, publishers and distributors of copyright works. Founded in 1965, the CCI has sought to encourage a better understanding of the law of copyright and to engage in and foster research and dialogue on the promotion of ideas and works of the mind.

For more information please contact:

Annie McClelland, CCI Administrator,, 416-975-1756

Scientist Eric Marshall and Journalist Chris Turner are Joint Recipients of the 2014 Freedom to Read Award


via The Writers’ Union of Canada

This year’s award calls attention to recent library closings

The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) recognizes the work and accomplishments of scientist Eric Marshall and journalist Chris Turner with its 2014 Freedom to Read Award

Eric Marshall, a retired biologist living in British Columbia, built a collection of over 200,000 books that became the Eric Marshall Aquatic Research Library at the University of Manitoba. Marshall’s library was recently closed, the result of federal cuts to and reorganization at Canada’s national library and archive system.

Chris Turner is a Calgary-based journalist and author who has written extensively about the related issues of library closings and prohibitions on federal scientists speaking publicly about their work. Turner’s book, The War on Science, was released this month.

“The closing of federal libraries has been a focus for TWUC in the past year,” said Dorris Heffron, chair of TWUC. “Reports of lost and destroyed works in our national collections are greatly disturbing to Canada’s writers, who have a long history of both contributing to and using our federal library system. The incoming Chair of TWUC, Harry Thurston, is an award-winning science writer who has personally used the Marshall Library as a research facility.”

The Freedom to Read Award is offered annually to an individual or individuals whose work has contributed to the national discussion around issues of freedom of expression and the freedom to read.

“The Union has been offering this award for many years,” added John Degen, TWUC executive director. “It’s one of the meaningful ways Canada’s writers participate in Freedom to Read Week.”

Previous recipients have included Toronto publisher, Patsy Aldana, Quebec writer Charles Montpetit, Janine Fuller of Little Sisters bookstore in Vancouver, lawyer Clayton Ruby, novelist Lawrence Hill, and writers John Ralston Saul and Alan Borovoy. Freedom to Read Week (February 23-March 1, 2014) is an initiative of the Book and Periodical Council (

The Writers’ Union of Canada’s 2014 Freedom to Read Award will be presented at the 30th anniversary celebration of Freedom to Read Week, February 25, 7 pm at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St West in Toronto.


CLA statement regarding federal government library consolidation and closure

via Canadian Library Association

The Canadian Library Association (CLA), the national voice for Canada’s library communities, is troubled about budget cuts to Library and Archives Canada and federal government library services. There has been much public debate and discussion about these reductions and very little information forthcoming from the government. CLA wishes to participate in informed dialogue regarding government library consolidation and closure.

 Read full statement here.

Federal budget increases stability of funding to Canadian book publishers

via The Association of Canadian Publishers 

The Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) welcomes the stabilization of funding to the Canada Book Fund (CBF) in yesterday’s federal budget. The budget proposes making the $9 million supplementary portion of the fund, first introduced to the Department of Canadian Heritage budget in 2001, permanent beginning in April 2015.

The Canada Book Fund has been rigorously developed and administered to support Canadian-owned publishers who employ best business practices, commit to innovation, and aggressively promote Canadian authors at home and internationally. The program is targeted and results-oriented; for those publishers who meet its high standards, the CBF is an essential support in ensuring that their businesses remain competitive in an evolving cultural industry.

ACP President Erin Creasey responded to the budget announcement: “We’re very pleased to see a commitment to ongoing support of Canadian book publishers in the budget. The permanent addition of $9 million expected for 2015-16 — an amount that has been a supplementary addition to the fund for the past decade — is critical for independent Canadian publishers to thrive and maintain our competitive advantage. These funds mean that Canadian readers will have continued access to the work of Canada’s best writers.”

Last renewed in 2010, the Canada Book Fund supports a range of programs that help ensure Canadians enjoy continued access to the widest possible range of Canadian books. In addition to support for book publishers, CBF has supported the development and launch of 49th Shelf (, a website that is increasing the online footprint of Canadian-authored books while showcasing them to the world, and eBOUND Canada, which provides the tools independent publishers need to engage in the digital book marketplace.

The Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) is the national voice of Canada’s independent English‐language book publishers. The ACP supports its 115 members in creating an economically sustainable Canadian‐owned and -controlled publishing industry. Visit for more information about the association’s programs and mandate.


For further information contact:

Carolyn Wood

Executive Director

416-487-6116 x222


Dale Askey Recipient of the 2014 Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada from the Canadian Library Association

The Canadian Library Association is pleased to announce that Dale Askey, of McMaster University, has been chosen as winner of the 2014 Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada for his commitment to intellectual freedom in the face of an unprecedented defamation suit brought against him by the academic publisher Edwin Mellen Press.

Mr. Askey, who is now McMaster University’s Associate University Librarian (Library and Learning Technologies) and Administrative Director for the Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship, wrote a blog post in September 2010, when he was still employed at a Kansas university in the U.S., on his personal website “Bibliobrary” about Edwin Mellen Press. He described the publishing firm as a purveyor of “second-class scholarship” and noted that constraints on library budgets for acquisition of first-class scholarship leave no reason to support “such ventures.”

Over two years later, in June 2012, Hebert Richardson, founder and editor-in-chief of Edwin Mellen Press, sued Mr. Askey, alleging what he published was “false and defamatory.” In a broader attack, Edwin Mellen Press sued Mr. Askey along with McMaster University on the grounds that the University was liable for allowing Mr. Askey “to continue the publications and refusing to intervene to require him to remove the defamatory statements from the world wide web”. In the lawsuits, filed in a Canadian court, Mr. Richardson and Edwin Mellen Press sought damages totalling $4.5 million for both the blog post and comments left by blog readers.

When the case came to public attention in February 2013, librarians, academics, and their respective professional associations, among them the Canadian Library Association, protested the lawsuits as an assault on the freedom of librarians to provide informed professional comment on publishers and on the quality of their publications. The lawsuits represented a direct threat to librarians, with far-reaching and momentous consequences for the ethical practice of librarianship as a profession.

In the wake of the widespread public reaction, McMaster University disclosed it would cover Mr. Askey’s anticipated legal costs in defending himself against the defamation suits. As a result of uniformly adverse international media attention, less than a month later, on March 6, 2013, the publisher announced it was discontinuing its legal action against McMaster University and Mr. Askey. Regrettably, the separate lawsuit brought by Mr. Richardson continues.

One of the Canadian Library Association’s core beliefs is that the principles of intellectual freedom and unfettered universal access to information through libraries, are key components of an open and democratic society. The frank professional judgments of librarians are essential to these principles. Librarians must be able to openly discuss and publish their thoughts, research and informed opinion. The impartial evaluation of information quality is a central contribution to scholarship and public debate. This imperative concerns not only academic freedom for academic librarians but freedom of expression for all professional librarians.

Mr. Askey’s judicial experience of ongoing litigious intimidation and interference with academic and intellectual freedom in Canada casts a deep chill on the free speech rights of librarians, and indeed of all authors, to publish responsible professional opinion without fear of reprisal. Such court actions also deprive readers of their constitutional right to receive objective information on subjects in the public interest. The proper forum for public disagreements about the quality of publications and publishing enterprises is in the court of public opinion, not in a law court. Librarians should not face multi-million dollar lawsuits because of a candid discussion of publications or publishing practices. Publishers should embrace positive models of publishing that foster—rather than hinder—research, teaching, learning, and public debate.

This award recognizes and supports Mr. Askey in his exercise of academic freedom and freedom of speech, as evidenced by his upholding of professional responsibility as an academic librarian to provide informed reviews of materials in the process of collection management. In the face of great personal and professional risk, Mr. Askey continues to stand firm in defence of intellectual and academic freedom against this ominous chilling effect on independent scholarship. Not only has he remained steadfast in his professional ethics as a librarian, he has been a role model for professional conduct in the face of great pressures. In honouring Mr. Askey, the Canadian Library Association continues to urge Mr. Richardson, and the Press, to drop the remaining libel action.

The award will be presented to Mr. Askey on February 25, 2014 in Toronto by CLA Treasurer Michael Ridley. The presentation will be part of a celebration of Freedom to Read Week coordinated by the Book and Periodical Council and held at the Gladstone Hotel 1214 Queen St West. Event begins at 7:30 pm; doors open 7:00 pm and will include Dear Censor a short play in defense of the written word by the Toronto theatre group Birdtown and Swanville. For event information: or

The Canadian Library Association’s Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada recognizes and honours outstanding contributions to intellectual freedom in Canada by individuals or groups. Preference is given to librarians and library institutions. However like-minded individuals such as teachers or authors or groups such as schools or publishers are also eligible. The award is given from time-to-time, not necessarily on an annual basis, and there may be more than one recipient in any one year. For more information go to CLA IF Award.

Recent recipients:

  • 2013 Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs
  • 2012 Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee
  • 2011 Alan Borovoy
  • 2010 Kent Weaver
  • 2009 Kim Bolan

The Canadian Library Association / Association canadienne des bibliothèques is Canada’s largest national and broad-based library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, professional librarians and library workers, and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy.

For information contact

Dr. Alvin Schrader, PhD, Chair CLA Intellectual Freedom Advisory Committee 780-719-4907
Marie DeYoung, CLA President, 902-420-5532
Valoree McKay, CLA Executive Director, 613-232-9625 x306

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