8 October 2018

Copyright in Canada: IFLA submits comments on the review of the Copyright Act

With the right copyright laws key to library activities, IFLA actively advocates for positive reforms at the international, regional and national levels. In light of the current review of Canada’s copyright law, IFLA has submitted comments in order to strengthen the voice of libraries in the process.

Canada currently has some exemplary copyright legislation in terms of responding to the needs of libraries while respecting the interests of rightsholders. In its submission, IFLA therefore advocates for the current very positive provisions to remain unchanged, especially as concerns the right to use works for education strengthened in 2012.

There has been much talk of a loss of revenues in the Canadian publishing sector to the adoption of this provision. However, Canadian libraries, especially university libraries, are investing a growing share of their budgets in digital content, a point reflected in publishers’ own reports. Indeed, it is the shift from physical to digital media that seems better to explain falls in photocopying licence fees.

The education fair dealing should therefore not be removed. It gives libraries flexibility to operate, allowing many uses of works that respond to a public interest need and do not unreasonably harm the legitimate interests of rightsholders.

The IFLA submission underlines also the importance to protect copyright exceptions, notably from being cancelled out by contract terms or technological protection measures. IFLA also encourages the government to maintain copyright protection at fifty years after the death of the author.

While several countries have expanded that to seventy years after the death of the author, there are no obvious benefits (and important potential cost, given harm to the public domain).

Furthermore, unevenness, a lack of transparency, and a serious issues around the availability and accessibility of eBooks need to be addressed at the policy level. IFLA also suggests steps to provide legal security for text and data mining, and calls for further exploration of how to preserve indigenous knowledge most effectively.

Read the full submission.

CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Copyright, Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries & Archives, Canada

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