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Access Copyright: Canadian creators and publishers call for fair copyright law on World Book and Copyright Day

On April 23rd, 2021, World Book and Copyright Day, the Canadian writing and publishing industries call on the federal government to fix Canada’s copyright law to address the systemic exploitation of creators’ and publishers’ works by educational institutions.

On a day when we celebrate the power of books and reading, we take this opportunity to bring attention to Canada’s copyright law, which should foster creativity and an infrastructure that ensures creators are paid for the use of their work.

Since the changes made to the Copyright Act in 2012, including adding education as an allowable purpose under the “fair-dealing” exception, Canadian authors, visual artists and publishers haven’t been compensated for the copying of their works by educational institutions. Per year, the education sector copies over 600 million pages from books, newspapers and magazines without fair compensation to creators. In total the education sector owes Canadian creators and publishers over $150 million in unpaid royalties under tariffs approved by the Copyright Board of Canada.

Royalties that would have helped creators sustain a living during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the cultural sector hard, with shuttered bookstores and cancelled book tours and readings. While reeling from the financial blow of the pandemic, creators were unable to depend on royalties from the education sector for the use of their works.

“As the world unites to celebrate World Book and Copyright Day, Canadian creators and publishers urge the federal government to update our copyright law to restore a creative ecosystem where creators are paid and valued for their work. Without fair compensation, we will have fewer Canadian stories to educate and inspire us and pass onto to future generations,” said Roanie Levy, President and CEO of Access Copyright.

World Book and Copyright Day was launched by UNESCO to encourage reading and to show how books can connect us to each other across any divide.