Here is a copy of the brief I submitted last month to the Government of Canada’s current review of the Copyright Act (a review mandated among the Act’s 2012 amendments). This brief focuses on fair dealing and education. (Click here for the direct link to its Scribd page.)
Other excellent submissions to the review include Meera Nair’s and the Dalhousie Faculty Association’s.
This week (Feb 26-Mar 2, 2018) is Fair Dealing Week, a national campaign to raise public awareness of the importance of users’ rights in copyright law that further education, creation, and innovation. (Said rights are a subject of the federal government’s current copyright legislation review.)
See Fair-Dealing.ca to find out more; and consider signing the CAUT’s petition to the federal government to preserve (and if anything strengthen) the users’ rights in Canada’s amended copyright law.
I’ve contributed a testimonial of my own to Fair-Dealing.ca’s collection of statements from Canadian creators and educators:
Without fair dealing, licensing fees to excerpt even single lines from extant published works, especially works of poetry or song lyrics, could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Creative writers and authors need fair dealing no less than educators do.
If you don’t want to hear it from me, take it from no less a bona fide luminary than the late great Northrop Frye:
Amidst ongoing efforts by copyright-maximizing lobbyists to mislead both the public and the government (which is now undertaking its 5-year review of the amended 2012 copyright act) about what fair dealing is, and what it means for Canadian culture, innovation, and education, here are six evidence-based points worth understanding about fair dealing.
- Over a decade’s worth of Supreme Court rulings have firmly and consistently enshrined fair dealing as a users’ right in copyright law.
- If Canadian publishers are hurting, it’s not because of fair dealing.
- In the name of authors, lobbyists against fair dealing antagonize and vilify educators — but many educators are authors themselves.
- Far from “pirating” protected works, educators actively promote authors’ interests, e.g. by ordering Canadian authors’ works in large quantities for schools and students to buy. (See p. 2, item 4 of CARL-ABRC’s Fair Dealing fact sheet.)
- Authors need fair dealing too, no less than educators do.
- Fair dealing augments and reinforces our Charter-guaranteed freedom of expression: any change to fair dealing (or to copyright more generally) must be understood as a change to free speech rights.
All these points are supported by case law and rigorous, evidence-based studies (by nationally recognized experts like Bita Amani, Carys Craig, Michael Geist, Ariel Katz, and Meera Nair, among others).
So next time you read that teachers are killing Canadian publishing, or stealing Canadian content, don’t believe the hype.
The Canadian Association of Research Libraries has published a helpful, concise briefing on fair dealing in Canadian copyright law.
Get the facts, not the all-too-pervasive myths.
Fair Dealing Myths & Facts (PDF format; updated November 2017).
At 1:30 pm on May 29, at Congress hosted by Ryerson U in Toronto, I will be chairing Academics’ Perspectives on Canada’s 2017 copyright review — it will be an Open Congress panel, meaning it’s free and open to the public.
Sileshi Hirko (uOttawa and Open AIR): “Reframing User’s Right under Canadian Copyright Jurisprudence as a Human Right”
Lisa Macklem (Western U): “Copyright’s Role in Preserving and Ensuring Access to Culture: The Way Forward”
Meera Nair (NAIT): “Copyright Review 2017 – a Plea to the Academics”
This panel will share perspectives on the federal government’s upcoming review of Canada’s amended copyright law (tentatively scheduled for fall 2017). The public discourse on this review is dominated by the views of publishers and copyright holders’ intermediaries who are calling for the government to revise if not retract the legislative expansions regarding fair dealing. Rights holders’ lobbyists like Access Copyright and the Writers’ Union of Canada have been claiming that fair dealing is endangering Canadian publishing and content creation. How can educators and researchers (who, in these roles, are also promoters of culture) respond to these accusations and demonstrate the social and economic value of “dynamic fair dealing”?
The panel is hosted jointly by the Association of Canadian College & University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) and the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities / Société canadienne des humanités numériques (CSDH/SCHN).
Following the annual conference of the Association of Canadian College & University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) at Congress in Calgary, ACCUTE has posted to its English Matters blog a condensed version of my conference talk on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (#TPP):
“The TPP will invalidate millions of dollars of tax-payer funded research in Canada”: Implications of the TPP for Canadian literature and literary studies
The article identifies many major authors whose entry to the Canadian public domain the TPP will interfere with; and it highlights a few publishing and research projects that the TPP will kill, thus posing a waste of public funds and a cost to Canadians’ social literacy and access to knowledge.
The article ends with links and resources for how to “stop the TPP and the mess it would make of the Canadian public domain (not to mention the Internet).”
A full version has been sent to Canada’s Minister of International Trade, and submitted to the Government of Canada’s Public Consultations on the TPP.