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CAUT welcomes balanced, progressive copyright report from Industry Committee

(Ottawa – June 6, 2019) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) commends the authoritative review of the Copyright Act released Tuesday by the Parliamentary Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU). The result of months of thorough and thoughtful study, the report contains 36 recommendations, including expansion of fair dealing purposes, and represents a balanced and forward-looking assessment.

“CAUT’s members – teachers, librarians, researchers and other academic staff at universities and colleges – include both users and creators of content, and they understand the importance of finding a fair approach,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “While the report contains compromises, we are assured that a broad range of voices were sought out and heard, including CAUT’s, making the report a good starting point for future copyright reform in Canada.”

Several key recommendations echo CAUT’s input before the committee:

  • Preservation of educational fair dealing, with expansion of fair dealing purposes (“such as” illustrative list as opposed to current exhaustive list)
  • Opposition to extension of copyright term; though conceded through recent NAFTA negotiations, the term should be extended only if copyright owners register
  • Agreement that intersection of copyright law and Indigenous knowledge is problematic and must be reformed to reflect Indigenous rights
  • Easing of digital locks for allowable purposes such as research, fair dealing
  • Placing limits on Crown copyright

“Fair dealing is a legal right confirmed by past judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada, and the report acknowledges that the ‘decline of collective licensing in education has arguably more to do with technological change than it does with fair dealing’,” Robinson adds. “It is significant that decades of jurisprudence have helped define fair dealing so as to provide certainty with flexibility, and CAUT urges the government to remain mindful of these considerations as it moves forward with reform of the Act.” 

Media contact: Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-222-3530 (c)