A crucial part of IPA's mission is to inform member associations and the wider global publishing community about breaking developments which will impact publishers. We do this through a number of channels. the IPA website, our monthly e-newsletter, press releases and the IPA's dedicated social media feeds.

The IPA has thrown its weight behind a growing chorus calling for the Canadian Government to urgently reconsider changes to the country's copyright laws that are doing significant damage to Canadian educational publishing.

This latest step comes after the country's Copyright Board certified a new, lower royalty rate in February to cover copying of published works in K-12 schools. Read the Copyright Board decision here.

The new rate is close to half what it was until 2009 – a sharp drop that establishes a disturbing standard on the fairness of copying in schools by disregarding the value of the content used. Access Copyright, which represents Canadian creators and publishers, has calculated that creators and publishers of books are going uncompensated for copying of an amount equivalent to approximately 897,300 books annually.

In a letter sent in English and French to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, IPA Secretary General José Borghino warned that "the net effect of these decisions will be to drive down the quality of education in Canada".

Borghino also reminded the ministers of a 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers study, which found that the introduction of a broad educational exception in the Canadian copyright law had already "dealt a very serious blow to the Canadian educational publishing sector, where a number of Canadian publishers have closed down and others are reducing staff."

In closing, Borghino wrote: "Urgent reconsideration is needed of what uses of copyright materials should be classified as "unremunerated fair dealing uses" while a review of the copyright legislation passed by the previous government should also be undertaken without delay.

The IPA's letter echoes similar appeals by the Association of Canadian Publishers (an IPA member), Access Copyrightand the Brussels-based International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO).

Further reading: Dr Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, gives his precise analysis of the Copyright Board's decision here.

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Michiel Kolman
20 May 2020
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