Canadian Library Associations React to Copyright Act Review Committee Report
June 14, 2019
Following the release last week of the report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) on the Statutory Review of the Copyright Act, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) issued statements this week applauding and commending the Committee for its thorough analysis and balanced recommendations.
CFLA Chair Alix-Rae Stefanko:
CFLA-FCAB welcomes the recommendations in the INDU report, especially those expanding access for Canadians and the recognition and respect for Indigenous Knowledge.
CARL President Jonathan Bengtson:
The INDU Committee has done an exceptional job of producing a set of recommendations that retains a balanced approach between creator and user rights, and begins to tackle important issues such as Indigenous autonomy in the areas of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.
Canadian Libraries Commend the Parliamentary Review of the Copyright Act
Ottawa, June 14, 2019. – The Canadian Federation of Library Associations/Fédérations canadienne des associations de bibliothèques (CFLA-FCAB) commends the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) for its thorough report. The Committee’s Statutory Review of the Copyright Act demonstrated its consideration of a wide array of views from stakeholders, produced an in-depth exploration and nuanced analysis of testimony and concurrent developments, and delivered numerous, balanced recommendations to address the concerns expressed.
“CFLA-FCAB welcomes the recommendations in the INDU report, especially those expanding access for Canadians and the recognition and respect for Indigenous Knowledge,” said CFLA-FCAB Chair Alix-Rae Stefanko.
The INDU report addresses many of the priorities and concerns of libraries and archives in the 36 recommendations presented in the review. CFLA-FCAB advocated for many of them and finds much to commend from the report:
With regards to fair dealing, CFLA-FCAB appreciates the following:
- The recommendation to make the list of fair dealing purposes illustrative rather than exhaustive (Rec. 18).
- The recognition there is insufficient evidence linking the decline in publishers’ revenue to the addition of education for fair dealing.
- The recommendation to extend the timeline for the review of educational fair dealing, (Rec. 17); however, CFLA-FCAB believes it will take more than three years to obtain new and authoritative information and to observe the effects of new legal developments.
About Indigenous Knowledge, CFLA-FCAB:
- Applauds the emphasis on Indigenous Knowledge and the requirement for recognition and protection in Canadian law, both within the Copyright Act and beyond (Rec. 5).
- Is concerned that Rec. 5 introduces new terms (“traditional arts and cultural expressions”) rather than the terms Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCE) that are defined and understood in the global context.
- Recommends a firm commitment to timelines and adequate resources for the recommended consultation with Indigenous groups, experts and stakeholders.
- CFLA-FCAB would have preferred the recommendation to first recognize and affirm Indigenous ownership over their own knowledge, and subsequently recommend consultation, including support for the development and implementation of protocols to share and protect Indigenous Knowledge.
CFLA-FCAB welcomes the Committee’s findings on many important issues. Of special note are the following:
- The finding that circumventing technological protection measures for non-infringing purposes should be allowed, and that modernizing the Act in relation to digital technology is necessary (Rec. 19).
- The recommendation to reconsider Crown Copyright and adopt open licences for works prepared and published by the Canadian government (Rec. 11). CFLA-FCAB is encouraged by the potential of broadly assigning an open licence to government works that are subject to copyright controls, and we note this should preferably be CC0 or CC BY. The Committee also commented on issues related to perpetual copyright for unpublished Crown works and stated that, “Exercising copyright over governmental publications created in the public interest should be the exception rather than the rule” (p.45). CFLA-FCAB looks forward to working with Parliament to propose approaches to resolving such points.
- The facilitation of text and data mining for research and analysis (Rec. 23).
- The proposal that should the copyright term be extended from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author of a work, the extended protection should be subject to formalities (p.35-36).
- The recognition of the importance of equity of access for persons with perceptual disabilities, and of the need to track the availability of accessible formats to measure progress in this area.
CFLA-FCAB is heartened that the INDU Committee took little note of the Shifting Paradigms document, submitted by the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Instead of fulfilling the mandate set out by the INDU Committee to consider remuneration models for artists and creative industries, CFLA-FCAB observes that the Heritage Committee presented only three recommendations (1, 14, 22) that dealt with the remuneration issue at all.
CFLA-FCAB found the Statutory Review to be a thoughtful response to a challenging and complex set of issues. CFLA-FCAB is poised to engage in the discussions leading up to the implementation of many of the recommendations presented in the Statutory Review of the Copyright Act.
CARL Issues Statement on the INDU Report on the Copyright Act
June 11, 2019 – The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has released a statement in response to the recent Statutory Review of the Copyright Act: Report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
In short, CARL applauds the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) for their reasoned analysis and balanced conclusions.
CARL Statement on the INDU Report on the Copyright Act
CARL applauds the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) for the reasoned analysis and balanced conclusions in their recent Statutory Review of the Copyright Act report.
CARL President Jonathan Bengtson remarked, “The INDU Committee has done an exceptional job of producing a set of recommendations that retains a balanced approach between creator and user rights, and begins to tackle important issues such as Indigenous autonomy in the areas of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.”
The report includes 36 recommendations, many of which reflect the positions put forward by CARL and our member institutions in their briefs and appearances before Committee. Notable highlights for the research library community include:
- Amending the fair dealing exception so that allowable purposes are illustrative rather than exhaustive (Rec 18);
- Applying open licences to Canadian Government works (Rec 11);
- Facilitating the use of a work or other subject matter for the purpose of informational analysis (i.e. text and data mining) (Rec 23);
- Relaxing anti-circumvention rules so that Technical Protection Measures can “generally not prevent someone from committing an act otherwise authorized under the Act” (Rec 19);
- Opposing the extension of copyright as required as part of the USMCA but, in the event that it is ratified by all parties, recommending both a registration system and a reversion right to counteract some of the disadvantages of term extension (Recs 6-8);
- Engaging in comprehensive consultations with “Indigenous groups, experts and others on the protection of traditional arts and cultural expressions in the context of Reconciliation”3 (Rec 5);
- Prioritizing means for ensuring that works are made available in accessible formats to benefit persons with a perceptual disability (Rec 24).
CARL is pleased that the Committee refrained from recommending changes to educational fair dealing, preferring to allow for the courts to decide on pertinent cases. In addition, the INDU Committee rightly recognized that “the decline of collective licensing in education has arguably more to do with technological change than it does with fair dealing.” In that context, CARL supports the Committee’s rejection of a number of suggested amendments that would have undermined the balance between creator and user rights in the Canadian Copyright Act, such as the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s recommendation in their Shifting Paradigms report that educational uses of fair dealing be limited only to those where there is no ‘commercially available’ copy.
Further means of studying the copyright and artist remuneration landscapes are also recommended in the report, including having Statistics Canada develop new measures on the economic impact of copyright, and creating two Research Chairs, one on Remuneration and Business Models for Creators and Creative Industries in the Digital Economy and another on the Economics of Copyright. CARL supports INDU’s plans for additional research, consultation, and study to gather evidence on specific aspects of a complex copyright environment (Recs 3-5; 15; 17; 24; 33-36) and looks forward to learning about the Government of Canada’s plans to implement an ‘open by default’ approach to all government works.
CARL and its member institutions were active participants in the review process, speaking on behalf of information users alongside a number of other library, student and educator groups. Over the last two years, CARL has worked diligently to defend fair dealing and advocate for improvements to copyright that would benefit researchers, students, and research libraries, and serve the public good. All of CARL’s contributions to the review, which are cited multiple times in the report, are available on the CARL website. CARL also maintains the Fair Dealing Canada website.
The research library community looks forward to participating in future discussions with the government regarding copyright, including as part of the consultations recommended in this report.