Individual Submission to Statutory Review of the Copyright Act

Title: Individual Submission to Statutory Review of the Copyright Act
Authors: Morrison, Heather
Date: 2018
Abstract: This is an individual submission drawing on my background as Principal Investigator of Sustaining the Knowledge Commons (SKC), a research program funded through a SSHRC Insight Grant. The goal of SKC is to develop evidence to support the economic transition of scholarly publishing from demand to supply side to support the potential unprecedented public good of a global knowledge commons, a collective sharing of the knowledge of humankind, free for anyone to access and free for all who are qualified to contribute to. I also draw from my broader interest in and value of the arts and culture, and my expertise in the area of development of information policy to support such values. This submission strongly supports the expansion of fair dealing exceptions to copyright that were introduced in the 2012 Copyright Modernization Act. I present evidence to support the retention of sections 29, 29.1, and 29.2 in their present form. In brief, broad fair dealing exceptions for education (section 29) are inherently generally fair because the majority of works consumed are produced and/or supported by people in the educational sector who do the work for the public good rather than private gain. In the university context, academic researchers and students create the vast majority of works consumed and, with some exceptions, do not expect or receive economic benefit from their copyrightable works. There is a strong and growing trend for academic researchers to make work freely available to everyone as a public good. Provincial education systems develop curriculum, approve and sometimes commission textbooks. Schools and school boards pay for textbooks and the majority of other resources used by students. I acknowledge that there are creators whose work is important to Canada (local authors, artists, musicians and publishers) who do not benefit from K-12 or post-secondary budgets. For this sector, I recommend development of a plan to provide direct support for Canadian creators working outside of the formal educational systems (K-12, universities) to replace the current copyright collectives and to develop new models of creative collaboration to take advantage of recent technological developments to develop new, more effective approaches to support for creativity in Canada. I make this recommendation on the grounds that direct subsidies to creators would be more cost-effective than the current system that is in effect an indirect subsidy. Currently, we very limited support to creators in an indirect and non-transparent way as follows: federal transfers to provinces for education; provincial transfers to universities, colleges, and school boards (supplemented by student tuition in the post- secondary sector); purchase of resources and payment of additional fees or licenses for additional copying to copyright collectives; disbursement of $ from copyright collectives (subtracting administrative costs) to a variety of types of copyright owners, ranging from global for-profit corporations to individual creators. I argue that we should investigate whether it would be less costly and more effective for Canada’s creative community to simply give $ directly to creators through generous subsidies. For clickable links see statutory-review-of-copyright.html.
CollectionSciences de l'information - Publications // Information Studies - Publications