From Publishing Perspectives:
In our earlier piece on Canada’s Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology hearings about the country’s 2012 Copyright Modernization Act, we looked at the comments of Hugo Setzer of the International Publishers Association (IPA).
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To recap this long-running hot spot in world copyright issues, the problems with the Copyright Modernization Act—as examined in a Toronto conference in November—have to do with the scope of a “fair dealing” exception (also called “fair use”) in education settings.
Canadian universities have worked along the lines of a “10 percent” approach, which other educational institutions, including K-12 schools, have then adopted. In some settings, instructors have allowed themselves to copy and distribute to students up to 10 percent of a book without a publisher’s permission and without paying a licensing fee, sometimes called a tariff.
Canadian publishers estimate that they’re losing more than $50 million annually in copyright revenue as a result of this “fair dealing” situation. The crisis has set the publishing and educational communities at odds with each other in a series of increasingly acrimonious debates and court actions around Access Copyright, the federally mandated collection agency for copyright revenue.
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“We’ve been damaged by the Copyright Modernization Act,” Rollans told the hearing. “We’re not asking you to turn back the clock. We’re asking you now to unleash the unique contributions to Canada that come from our sector. It won’t happen if you don’t fix our marketplace.
“That means, first, clarify fair dealing for education by ending unfair copying. Adding education as a purpose for fair dealing crashed an inexpensive, smoothly functioning system,” based in Access Copyright’s process of levying and collecting low per-student fees (roughly $26) each year for the use of copyrighted material.
“Second, promote a return to collective licensing in the education sector. It works; it’s simple.
“Third, increase statutory damages to discourage systematic infringement.
“Fourth, ensure that Canada meets its international treaty obligations.
“And fifth, promote the effective operations of the Copyright Board.”
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John Degen, executive director of the Writers’ Union, explained to the hearing that he spoke as the representative of 2,100 members of the union and for the International Authors Forum in the UK, which he said represents some 700,000 writers and visual artists in many parts of the world. Like other members of the international publishing industry, he said, “The world’s authors are also watching this process with great interest and considerable anxiety.”
A part of Degen’s mission was to bring the ground-level reality to the hearing: “Authors are regular guests in classrooms across the country,” he said, “and many have personally witnessed beleaguered teachers photocopying an improvised, free ‘class set’ of materials, sometimes entire books. This is happening.”
Indeed, in compensation terms, “Fully 80 percent of our licensing income has simply disappeared because schools now copy for free what they used to pay for” since the implementation of the Copyright Modernization Act. “These are facts that may be ignored by some, but they’re indisputable.”
Degen told the hearing, “Each year in Canada more than 600 million pages of published work are copied for use in educational course packs, both print and digital, and the education sector is essentially claiming all of that work for free. That is the real world result of education’s copying policies.”
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives