Media Release – February 21, 2019

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 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, 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 its 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.