Denounce and Act Against Racism

June 6, 2020 – Canadian Authors Association (CAA) condemns the crimes and injustices committed against Black, Indigenous and other people of colour—all of which have their source in systemic racism. Writers have honed language skills that can be used to rally our communities to act. Those of us who are not BIPOC can listen to, learn from and support those who are; all of us can advocate for change; we can extend hope and stand with those calling for justice; we can solicit, gather and disseminate stories rooted in BIPOC experience; we can engage in difficult discussions about racism; and we can act with compassion and courage. We can help educate. As writers we can be a force for good.

CAA denounces hatred in any form, and to start, will provide communication tools that help combat racism. By reading, looking, watching and/or participating, we can gain greater understanding. To that end, we are preparing a list of reading and viewing material on the topics of racism and oppression for our website. And we are working on other meaningful initiatives that give voice to the BIPOC community. We invite your suggestions for these lists and initiatives by contacting us here.

To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking in 1963, “shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” CAA seeks to be an agent of greater understanding.

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Canadian Authors Association was founded in 1921 with a goal of lobbying for the protection of authors’ rights and fostering a sense of cultural and literary solidarity among Canadian writers. Today, CAA and its branches continue to work to provide aspiring, emerging, and professional writers across all genres and writing professions the programs, services, and resources they need to develop their skills, promote their work, and enhance their ability to earn a living as a writer.

 

For additional information:
Anita Purcell, Executive Director
Canadian Authors Association
apurcell@canadianauthors.org

 

Canadian Authors Call for Action Against Illegal Copying

May 4, 2020 – Canadian Authors Association (CAA) joins our fellow creator and publisher organizations in their reactions to the April 22, 2020 Federal Court of Appeal decision in the case of York University v. The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright).

In that recent decision, the higher federal court affirmed the lower federal court’s 2017 ruling that York University’s self-styled “fair dealing guidelines” are, in law, unfair. Since many learning institutions have adopted similar guidelines, the higher court’s ruling fortifies the position that the educational community must respect creator rights. Educators cannot continue to copy illegally according to their own rules. CAA applauds that portion of the higher federal court decision since it balances the rights of users with those of creators. If creators are paid for their work, then users such as Canadian schools will continue to have access to high quality Canadian content.

In the same decision, however, the higher court ruled that Copyright Board-certified tariffs are not mandatory. The Copyright Board tariff process provides both educational institutions and collective societies – such as Access Copyright, in the case of writers and publishers – with a practical, effective method of establishing fair rates for use of creative works. Until now, tariffs were considered mandatory. The decision “deprives creators of fair and affordable payment for the use of their work by stripping them of the ability to rely on their collective to ensure compliance with their rights and forcing them to be their own compliance officers,” pointed out Access Copyright in its recent media release.

In summary, educational institutions’ fair-dealing guidelines are unfair, yet individual creators now have a personal onus to seek out infringements by users such as educational institutions, and to enforce their rights. Ideally, collectives would enforce the rights, and creators would devote their valuable time to creating. This situation is deplorable.

“The appeal decision reinforces that Canada’s copyright framework is broken,” stated the Association of Canadian Publishers in its release.

The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) uses the same metaphor. The federal government must “repair the marketplace for Canadian creativity,” it says. CAA joins TWUC’s call for immediate implementation of the 2019 Canadian Heritage’s Standing Committee recommendations in Shifting Paradigms.“Canada needs to support a flourishing culture,” said Margaret Hume, national chair of Canadian Authors Association. “Our literature, music, and theatre tell our Canadian story. To foster an environment that encourages the continuance and growth of our stories, we must support the creators by allowing them to receive fair compensation for the use of their copyrighted work.”

Canadian Authors Association stands by the right of creators to receive fair compensation for the use of their copyrighted work.

“The current situation is not sustainable,” said Anita Purcell, CAA’s executive director. “Writers and publishers have been waiting since 2012 for copyright amendments that truly safeguard our rights. In the interim, millions of dollars in earned revenue has been lost. The fixes have been clearly spelled out — how much longer must we wait?”

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Canadian Authors Association was founded in 1921 with a goal of lobbying for the protection of authors’ rights and fostering a sense of cultural and literary solidarity among Canadian writers. Today, CAA and its branches continue to work to provide aspiring, emerging, and professional writers across all genres and writing professions the programs, services, and resources they need to develop their skills, promote their work, and enhance their ability to earn a living as a writer.

 

For additional information:
Anita Purcell, Executive Director
Canadian Authors Association
apurcell@canadianauthors.org

 

 

May 16, 2019 – Canadian Authors Association National Chair Margaret Hume praised Shifting Paradigms, the report tabled yesterday by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. The report affirms the importance of creators’ right to protection of, and remuneration for, their work. “It is extremely gratifying that the Report’s concluding words acknowledge ‘that the continued creation of Canadian content depends on adequate remuneration for those who create it’.”
CAA’s written submissions to the Standing Committee included recommendations on the following issues:
  • Extension of copyright term to 70 years, harmonizing with international norms
  • Ensuring that creators benefit from digital uses of their works
  • Clarification and limitation on the Act’s education fair dealing exemption
Each of these points was addressed in the Standing Committee’s report. “We urge the federal government to establish legislation as soon as possible to better protect creators’ rights for the benefit of artists and consumers across Canada,” says Hume.

 

The following specific recommendations respond to concerns stated in CAA’s written brief:

 

Recommendation 1
That the Government of Canada increase its support for creators and creative industries in adapting to new digital markets.
Recommendation 6
That the Government of Canada increase its efforts to combat piracy and enforce copyright.
Recommendation 7
That the Government of Canada pursue its commitment to implement the extension of copyright from 50 to 70 years after the author’s death.
Recommendation 12
That the Government of Canada review, clarify and/or remove exceptions contained in the Copyright Act, ensuring that any exception respects section 9 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, to which Canada is a signatory.
Recommendation 13
That the Government of Canada meet international treaty obligations (including Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement, and World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty).
Recommendation 18
That the Government of Canada amend the Act to clarify that fair dealing should not apply to educational institutions when the work is commercially available.
Recommendation 19
That the Government of Canada promote a return to licensing through collective societies.

 

If the federal government implements these and the other 16 recommendations of the Heritage Canada Standing Committee, the Canadian creative community will be greatly strengthened. CAA notes that another report resulting from the statutory review of the Copyright Modernization Act is expected, the second one to be issued by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
CAA calls on its members and all Canadian creators to contact their Members of Parliament to voice their support for the Committee’s recommendations.

What Canadian Writers Should Know About Controlled Digital Lending

February 21, 2019 — Canadian Authors Association denounces “Controlled Digital Lending” or “CDL,” the unsanctioned scanning and lending by San Francisco-based Internet Archive of thousands of copyright-protected works through its Open Library site. This copying takes place without the permission of or remuneration to the copyright holders, and therefore constitutes infringement. CAA fully supports the coalition of almost 40 international groups of creators and publishers in their opposition to this flagrant abuse of copyright and in their appeal to readers and librarians to engage in a dialogue with creators about this practice.

The US-based National Writers Union wrote an appeal letter, “Controlled Digital Lending (CDL): An appeal to readers and librarians from the victims of CDL,” which states in part:

CDL [Controlled Digital Lending] is not comparable to lending of physical books by libraries. CDL is not “fair use” as defined in U.S. copyright law, and an exception to or limitation of copyright to allow CDL without permission or remuneration would not be permitted by the Berne Convention on Copyright. CDL interferes with many of the normal ways, including new ways largely unnoticed by librarians, that authors are earning money from written and graphic works included in so-called “out of print” books. There is no basis for a good-faith belief that CDL is legal under either U.S. or international law.

Canadian Authors Association encourages its members and all Canadian authors to learn more by reading that appeal letter. Additional information may be found on the National Writers Union website at FAQ on Controlled Digital Lending. We further encourage you to join the opposition to “Controlled Digital Lending” by signing an open letter to the Internet Archive on the US Authors Guild website here.

“As the appeal letter has stated, this is not a victimless crime,” said CAA Chair, Margaret Hume. “This is another erosion of earnings for creators and another violation of their copyright. We must stand up firmly against this abusive practice and do all we can to stop it.”

To check whether copies of your books are available on Open Library for e-lending and downloading, go to openlibrary.org. If your book is there, please notify your publisher and ask them to send an infringement notice to Internet Archive. Please also report the infringement to Canadian Authors Association’s executive director, Anita Purcell, at apurcell@canadianauthors.org, so we may add this infraction to our list of infringed works.

 

December 7, 2018

CAA Submission to Standing Committee on Copyright Modernization Act

The Canadian Authors Association (CAA) today made its submission to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology on the 2017-2018 Statutory Review of the Copyright Modernization Act. As a voice for authors in Canada, CAA has pointed to the urgent need for changes to Copyright Act to better protect the rights of creators.

Read the full submission.

 

Media Release – March 5, 2018

CAA Responds to Lawsuit Against Access Copyright

The Canadian Authors Association (CAA) is shocked and dismayed by the lawsuit filed against Access Copyright by the Ministries of Education in most of the provinces and territories in Canada as well as all of the school boards in Ontario. We join The Writers’ Union of Canada and the Association of Canadian Publishers in calling for the ministries and school boards to withdraw this lawsuit and respond to the Access Copyright call for meaningful dialogue.

As a founding member of Access Copyright, CAA stands in full support of this copyright collective, its defense of authors’ copyright, and the steps it takes to ensure proper compensation for the use of authors’ copyrighted materials.

This is a direct attack on Canadian authors and publishers who struggle enough as it is to earn sufficient income from their copyrighted work,” said CAA National Chair Margaret Anne Hume. “Instead of expensive legal action that will cause further division among us, we call on the ministries and school boards to engage with Access Copyright in open-minded discussion that will result in a solution acceptable by all.”

CAA reminds the ministries of education and the school boards that the Federal Court of Canada in its July 2017 decision in Access Copyright vs. York University stated that the ministries and school boards cannot opt out of copyright tariffs certified by the Copyright Board.

CAA is also mindful that this lawsuit has been launched during the federal government’s mandatory review of the copyright legislation and in particular the 2012 enactment of the controversial educational purposes fair dealing exception. “Our organization is strongly encouraging our members to contact their Members of Parliament to inform them that this lawsuit against Access Copyright feels like a lawsuit against creators, and to urge the federal government to remove the educational purposes fair dealing exception,” said Anita Purcell, CAA executive director.