To Whom it May Concern,
I am the president of the School Division at McGraw-Hill Ryerson, located in Whtiby Ontario. My 40 colleagues and hundreds of authors and writers (may of whom are practicing teachers in the Canadian school system) employment and livelihood depends upon the sale of the content we produce. Our revenues are derived both from product sales as well as from fees from the reproduction of our products under collective licences. This income pays royalties and advances to creators, salaries to our employees, rent, overheads and inputs, and provides our business with the means to take risks and make investments as a producer of Canadian content.
Copyright should exist to protect producers and creators and to provide them with incentives to contribute to Canada's rich body of original content. Copyright law should ensure that the people who worked so hard to produce works are compensated when others use them. As the Canadian economy is faced with manufacturing jobs moving out of the country, I am shocked that the Canadian government is considering expanding the use of fair dealing, thus undermining the value of the intellectual property of Canadians
Collective licences exist to allow universities, schools, corporations and governments to make copies of works while ensuring fair and appropriate compensation. This is a system that works well, but it is imperiled.
I am worried that new exceptions and expanded fair dealing could significantly undermine our company's authors, my business and, more important, damage the market for books, magazines and newspapers published in Canada.
Several questions are under consideration:
How should existing laws be modernized?
- Canada's Copyright Act is badly outdated. We are years behind our key trading partners in modernizing our copyright laws for the digital age. Canadian copyright law should recognize international standards by implementing and ratifying the WIPO, WCT and WPPT Treaties. We need to feel secure when we trade with other nations — secure in the knowledge that our works may safely travel the Internet to places that reciprocate protections. By failing to take action, our government has allowed a culture that reduces intellectual property's ability to flourish.
- We need rules to discourage the unauthorized taking of other people's property without compensation. It is a national responsibility to help protect publishers' and creators' investments of time, money and creativity through a modernized Copyright Act.
- I want Copyright Act reforms to follow the principles as outlined by the government for Bill C-61 which died on the Order Paper at the time of the last election:
- The rights of those who hold copyright must be fairly balanced with the needs of users to access copyright works.
- The Copyright Act must provide clear, predictable and fair rules to allow Canadians to derive benefits from their creations.
- The Copyright Act should foster innovation in an effort to attract investment and high-paying jobs to Canada.
- Canada must ensure that its copyright framework for the Internet is in line with international standards.
Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
- Canadian copyright law should be technology neutral. It should be based on general principles rather than specific technologies. The ability of a creator to get paid for the use of his/her work should not depend on the technology used.
- We need copyright reform to address issues in today's world as well as issues that may arise in the future. Developers of intellectual property — whether in print format or digital — need the protection that copyright provides.
- Such protection can best be provided by an Act that creates conditions in which rights holders are assured of a reasonable return for their investments, and users are provided with appropriate channels of access. The language of such an Act should allow market forces to shape the business models through which Intellectual Property will be disseminated. Policies that encourage investment and innovation will bode well for greater access and choice for users.
What sorts of copyright changes do I believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
- Fair dealing already allows for substantial free use of copyright works. With a system of collective licensing in place, there is no need to expand fair dealing.
- Instead of resorting to exceptions and expanded fair dealing which do not offer compensation to publishers and creators, the government should facilitate an expansion of the existing system of collective licensing which provides users with easy access to copyright materials through one-stop shopping and creators with fair remuneration when their works are used.
- Creativity and innovation will thrive only when they are rewarded. Fair compensation for publishers and creators provides the necessary resources and incentives to support that reward. Writers and publishers are part of a chain that takes works from their originators to Canadian readers, researchers, educators and students. Canadians benefit from a sustainable and vibrant business sector and from a strong Copyright Act as the author's foundation.
- For education publishers, future business realities will include producing print and digital resources that support learning in Canada's schools. Licensed access to such materials — in some cases through collective licences, in other cases through proprietary licences — will need to be part of the business model if there is to continue to be an incentive to develop these materials. Creating a copyright regime that excepts educational institutions from the rules applied to other users will serve as a considerable disincentive to such development.
- Collective licensing helps consumers obtain access to works while ensuring creators are fairly compensated. It is a "win-win" for everybody.
What sorts of copyright changes do I believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
- Canadian publishers are actively pursuing new business models and opportunities. Expanded fair dealing, new exceptions in the Copyright Act, and a weakening of collectives and collective licensing rules would undercut these models and the sustainability of our Canadian cultural industries.
- Today, Canada's educational publishers produce textbooks and other learning materials primarily in print format because that is how schools want them. But there will be a growing demand for a larger proportion of these to be produced in on-line and digital format. As education publishers develop products and delivery mechanisms to serve this growing demand in Canada's schools, the Internet will play an increasing role as a channel for the delivery of publisher's products and services. Licensed access to such materials — in some cases through collective licences in other cases through proprietary licences — will need to be part of the business model if there is to continue to be incentive to develop these materials. Creating a copyright regime that excepts educational institutions from the rules applied to other users, will serve as a considerable disincentive to such development.
- The copyright reforms advocated by creators and publishers are reforms that have been successfully implemented in other markets. In many countries that have modernized their copyright laws, digital marketplaces are flourishing, consumer choice far exceeds that in Canada, and illegitimate file sharing is declining. The result? Legal online activity is skyrocketing among teenagers and illegal behaviour has plummeted.
- Calls for new exceptions and expanded fair dealing exceptions are calls for unpaid access to more of our products. This is unbalanced and unnecessary, given that convenient compensated models already exist. There is a huge divide between free access and access for free.
What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?
- Canada is in the distinctly embarrassing position of signing on to WIPO's digital treaties yet not ratifying them. We really must join the ranks of WIPO partnership.
- Canada's creative community has proven it can win accolades and achieve greatness in the global marketplace when the conditions are there for it to flourish and thrive.
- To flourish and thrive, creativity and innovation need to be rewarded. Canada can be a leader in the digital economy by ensuring that copyright laws protect the livelihoods of creators and provide incentives to produce compelling, professional content that draws international audiences.
I would like to thank the Government for providing the opportunity to let my voice be heard. I have worked in the Educational publishing for over 20 years. I am very concerned that my livelihood and those of my staff and authors is being threatened. In an age where "intellect" is one of the few assets that be "kept" local, it is shocking to think that people who make their livelihood from intellectual and cultural pursuits are facing such a significant risk.