World Book and Copyright Day, celebrated yearly on April 23, was declared by UNESCO in 1995. Established in 1921 to lobby for the protection of authors’ rights in Canada, Canadian Authors Association is uniquely positioned to celebrate this international day recognizing the foundational importance of copyright in relation to books and their creators.
As a key participant in the proclamation of Canada’s first copyright law in 1924, CAA acclaims the international observation of a day recognizing the significance of copyright as a means to protect cultural workers, including writers.
The UNESCO website notes the demonstrated importance of books in the first pandemic year: “During the last year when most countries have seen periods of confinement… books have proved to be powerful tools to combat isolation, reinforce ties between people, expand our horizons, while stimulating our minds and creativity.” Books have proven essential.
Inspired by UNESCO’s expression on the power of books and reading, CAA calls upon the Canadian government to implement its recent federal budget commitment to support the arts and culture sector by fortifying copyright, the law pursuant to which creators are protected.
When the law undermines the ability of writers to earn an income from writing — for example, by enacting the educational purposes exception to the list of fair dealing, and by questioning the validity of copyright tariffs — writers are disabled from creating. When the law enables writers to be exploited and their works to be copied without compensation, the work of writers — creating books — is discouraged.
Quite simply, without writers enabled to write, the creation of books is hindered. Without constant creation of new books, the expression of a national culture and heritage is impeded.
“Canadian creators and publishers are a vital part of our Canadian culture. They deserve our full support in ensuring that they receive full and proper compensation for their work”, said Margaret Anne Hume, Co-Chair of Canadian Authors Association.
CAA applauds the federal government’s recent budget commitment to assisting the arts and culture sector. The occasion of World Book and Copyright Day serves as a call upon the federal government to repair the system that rewards creators for creating. In charting a course of recovery for the arts and culture sector, let’s not forget its foundation: the creator.
Books and hence their creators are key to a thriving and evolving national culture. Copyright is the tool that protects them. With its century-long history of advocating for writers, CAA exhorts the federal government to strengthen creator rights under copyright law as a means of ensuring long-term cultural prosperity.