We are—exciting times—at meeting number 101 of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, December 13, 2017, and section 92 of the Copyright Act, we'll be doing a statutory review of the act.
Before we get into it, I have a few words to say as my preamble. We are televised today. We thought it would be a good idea for the whole world to see us. You're on stage. It's my genuine pleasure to welcome you all to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology's first meeting on the statutory review of the Copyright Act. The House of Commons honoured my colleagues and me when it entrusted the statutory review of the act to the industry committee. Given the importance of copyright law in our modern economy and the lively arguments it generates, there's a special responsibility that comes with today's undertaking. This is a responsibility shared among members of this committee and participants to the review.
To all Canadians who care about the issue we will examine, whether you submit a brief, appear as a witness in Ottawa, or meet us elsewhere in Canada,
you will be heard. You have our full attention. I make that commitment, as the chair of this committee.
But I ask for something in return. As we embark on what will certainly lead to difficult discussions, please remember that the role of the committee members is to ask all manner of questions to better understand the significance that copyright law has for Canada and its modern economy. Let us not presume the outcome of what will be a lengthy and fairly complex study. Let us always show respect to one another, no matter the different views we may hold on copyright. Let us aspire to a thoughtful and courteous conversation in true Canadian fashion.
Conscious of the critical role our Copyright Act plays in our economy and its effect on the everyday life of Canadians,
the members of this committee have spent many hours preparing this review. The committee has decided to conduct the review in three phases.
In phase one, we will hear from witnesses involved in specific industries and sectors such as education, publishing, broadcasting, software, and visual arts. This phase will notably provide the opportunity for stakeholders to share concerns that are unique to these industries and sectors of activity.
In phase two, we will hear from witnesses representing multiple industries and sectors. The committee looks forward to hearing from, among others, indigenous communities and the copyright board during this phase.
Finally, in phase three, we will hear from legal experts. The committee should expect bar associations, academics, and lawyers appearing in their individual capacities to share their insight and knowledge to improve the Copyright Act to the benefit of all Canadians.
The House of Commons expects from this committee that we will review every aspect of the act. We'll leave no stone unturned. You will all be heard. I want to thank you in advance for participating in this nice, long study.
Let's begin. Today we have with us, from Universities Canada, Paul Davidson, president; and also Wendy Therrien, director of research and policy. We have from the Canadian Federation of Students, Charlotte Kiddell, deputy chairperson. This is the first panel.
You have five minutes to present, and we will start with Mr. Davidson.
I would like to thank the chair and the members of the committee for inviting me to appear on behalf of Universities Canada.
Our association represents 96 universities in the 10 provinces, whose teaching, learning and research activities extend to the three territories.
With me is Wendy Therrien, director of research for Universities Canada.
Let me just echo the chair's remarks of a moment ago and thank you, on behalf of our members, for undertaking this study. For those who have been on this study before, it is complex, it can be dry, it can be polarized, and it has big impact on the work of students and the work of researchers. Your efforts are vitally important in terms of the more than one million young people studying at Canada's universities today and those who will follow them. Your work is also vitally important to Canada's university researchers, who produce most of the copyrighted educational material used by university students.
The university community brings a balanced perspective to this review, as both owners and users of copyright material. Canada's future will be shaped in large measure by the education students receive today. Fair dealing for education ensures that students across Canada have a diversity of learning materials, educational opportunities, and increased accessibility to post-secondary education.
Digital materials mean that today, more than ever before, young people are equipped to achieve their potential, whether they live in Abbotsford or Attawapiskat, and that helps build a stronger, more prosperous Canada for all. In our rapidly changing world, Canada cannot afford to take a step backward in education. Maintaining fair dealing for education will help ensure Canada's young people continue to have the 21st century education demanded in our changing world.
As mentioned, the vast majority of learning materials used by students today comes from creators on campus, university faculty. University professors are prolific creators in writing books and research papers. One estimate is that academics, not literary authors, produce as much as 92% of the content available in university libraries.
Copyright law needs to balance the interests of copyright owners and the users of copyright material. It should incentivize the creation of new ideas and allow for the dissemination of knowledge. Fair dealing is important for maintaining this balance.
Compliance is also important, and that's why many universities have significantly increased their compliance efforts, with offices staffed by lawyers, librarians, and copyright specialists to advise students, faculty, and staff on the use of copyrighted materials.
Today universities spend more than ever before in purchasing content. According to StatsCan, university library acquisitions in 2016 exceeded $370 million, a figure that has been increasing year over year. In the past three years, universities have spent over $1 billion on library content. Libraries are also changing what they're buying. Our libraries have shifted their primary purchasing from print to digital content. One institution reports that in 2002, only 20% of its acquisitions were digital, but today this number has grown to 80%, and that trend will continue.
It's important for this committee to know that, unlike printed books, the use and reproduction of digital content can be negotiated and contracted. On campus, digital content is usually shared through links and not copies, and is frequently protected by digital locks. Further, Access Copyright's repertoire doesn't cover authors of born-digital works and is restricted to authors of printed material.
Along with digital content, most libraries now have e-reserve systems, making it easier for students to use library content on their personal devices 24-7. These systems are making printed course packs much less common than just a few years ago.
Beyond digital disruption, a series of Supreme Court decisions guides the use of copyright material on campus. Before 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada said fair dealing is a right, and that's significant. In 2012, a series of decisions by the Supreme Court concluded that the right of fair dealing was much broader than how the education sector had been using it up to that point. These judgments were the genesis for the shift in how the education sector has managed copyright.
Since 2012, the courts have continued to expand our understanding of copyright law. A growing body of legal decisions is determining the details of what fair dealing means, and several active court cases are still pending.
I would respectfully submit that Parliament should allow the courts to continue their work before intervening with more legislation.
To conclude, it's true that parts of our cultural industries are struggling to adapt to the digital disruption affecting Canadian society. Canada's universities were pleased to participate in the 2016 review of Canadian cultural policy and to recommend new tools to support the creative economy. But changing fair dealing is not the answer to the challenges facing copyright owners during this period of transition. Changing fair dealing would have a direct impact on the affordability of education for students and the quality of the teaching materials at all levels.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you today. We wish you well in your deliberations. We welcome any questions you may have today or throughout the consultation process.
Thank you. Good afternoon, and thank you for your invitation to present today.
As you said, my name is Charlotte Kiddell, and I am the deputy chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. The federation is Canada's largest and oldest national student organization, representing over 650,000 university and college students, including the 90,000 graduate student members of our national graduate caucus. Those in this latter group are themselves educational content creators.
The federation has a mandate to advocate for a system of post-secondary education that is of high quality and is accessible to all of Canada's learners. This includes advocating for our members' ability to access learning materials for the purposes of research and education in a way that is affordable and fair.
Over the last several years, we’ve seen a shift initiated within the academic community to prioritize learning opportunities that allow for multiple points of access to information. Tired of predatory pricing from large corporate content owners, academics have increasingly opted towards models of providing content directly to the education community. These models include the use of open access journals and open educational resources. In fact, today nearly half of all research publications in Canada are available online for free.
There's another essential facilitator of access to information—the current fair dealing provisions within the Copyright Act. Fair dealing, which has been affirmed by the Supreme Court as a central tenet of copyright law since 2004, allows for the limited use of copyright-protected works, without payment or permission, for the purposes of research and education. Such provisions allow educators to share brief video clips, news articles, or excerpts of a relevant text. Fair dealing has not resulted in the replacement of traditional learning materials. Rather, it allows educators to supplement these materials for a richer, more dynamic learning experience.
The Supreme Court of Canada has repeatedly affirmed the role of copyright law in serving the public good. The ability of students to fairly access an array of research and educational materials is essential to not only the quality of post-secondary education they receive but also their ability to contribute to innovation and development in Canada.
This government demonstrated its commitment to scientific development and innovation with substantial investment in fundamental sciences in budget 2018. We would ask that the government uphold its commitment to research and development by protecting fair dealing.
In recent months, students have heard myths, perpetuated by private publishing stakeholders, that students’ advocacy for fair dealing is rooted in an unwillingness to adequately compensate content creators for their work. I wish to address these concerns in case they are shared by members of the committee today.
First, let me affirm that students and their families have paid and continue to pay significant sums for learning materials. According to Statistics Canada, average household spending on textbooks in 2015 was $656 for university texts and $437 for college texts. Indeed, a report on the book publishing industry in 2014 finds educational titles to be one of the top two commercial categories in domestic book sales.
Second, I will acknowledge that students do struggle to afford textbooks. A 2015 British Columbia study found that 54% of students reported not purchasing at least one required textbook because of cost; 27% took fewer courses to lessen textbook costs; and 26% chose not to register for a course because of an expensive textbook. However, these results are hardly due to a desire to keep profits from content creators. When both textbook prices and tuition fees increase each year at rates that far outstrip inflation, students and their families are forced to make difficult decisions on how they afford post-secondary education.
Today the average undergraduate student accumulates $28,000 in public student debt for a four-year degree. A student relying on loans may find that a $200 textbook eats up most of their weekly loan disbursement and thus is put in the impossible position of choosing between course books and groceries.
To conclude, I would like to say that both the Supreme Court decisions and Parliament’s passage of the Copyright Modernization Act in 2012 affirmed the wisdom and justice of our current copyright regime, including fair dealing. Canadian copyright law has positioned Canada as a leader in the fair and dynamic exchange of knowledge and ideas. We ask this committee to protect our copyrights in the interest of students and educators, but also of the broader Canadian public. Students have benefited from a good system over the last several years, and are eager to continue working with this government to maintain and strengthen it.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to answering any questions you may have.
I have a couple of comments there. Again, as the committee embarks on its work, I really invite you to visit campuses across the country to see what a dynamic learning environment there is, how the different factors at play within a university are working with new technology and new pedagogy to ensure that students have an optimum experience, a quality experience.
On the issue of buying content, I want to be clear that universities buy a considerable amount of content each year, over $300 million a year in library acquisitions. That number is large and growing. We're a major customer of the rights holders. There are also a variety of new ways of buying the rights to use content. For many years, Access Copyright was the primary source, but there are other sources now that may be more purpose-built to the needs of students and faculty.
As the committee embarks on its study, we really encourage a detailed look at those different tools and techniques available, because I think many in the university community would say they don't mind paying appropriate amounts for content, but they don't want to have to pay for it three times.
Great. Thank you, Mr. Chair
Thank you for being here. It's wonderful to kick off this study, which sounds like it will be a long one, with both of your organizations here before us.
I do quickly want to ask a question with regard to something that was done back in early 2015 by one of my predecessors, Minister Holder, when he announced the tri-council granting agency's open access policy.
Mr. Davidson, I'd like to get your assessment of that policy, which stipulates that reports from grant-funded research must be made freely available to the public within 12 months after publishing.
Thank you to the witnesses for being here.
One of the things we can't miss, especially in the academic sector, is that students are the ultimate customer. When you think about it, they will be the ones who incur personal debt or personal expense by large financial contributions for their tuition, the materials, and the lifestyle required to spend that much time on education.
They will also incur provincial debt, because most provinces are in a deficit right now. They will be responsible for retiring that debt, so that will be incurred by them.
They will also actually secure a participation rate in a federal debt, as we are federally indebted, and they will again have to pay for the allocations and programs that are assigned over the different budgets.
Lastly, they'll also have to incur the costs of those provincial and federal governments of any private sector incentives that are provided for because we are in debt. Reductions in taxes, SR and ED tax credits, and other types of incentives are all borrowing costs that they will then have to pay back.
So when we're looking at fair dealing here, one of the things that hasn't been solved is the fair dealing of students and what they're actually contributing to the greater Canadian economy. Hence, hopefully when we see something come out of this, there will be some type of recognition that they are probably one of the single largest customers who are still not receiving probably the reciprocity they deserve.
With that, the public funding and sharing of information with regard to the grants that are provided for those things have been noted. I believe there's probably some necessity for private sector participation. If you were a benefactor of public funds from the private sector, should there perhaps be some sharing agreements, given the fact that it could be the research and development grants that are provided? It could be, again, tax reductions or abeyance, or government programs where they receive research, and not only that but also staffing components through some of the job creation programs that are out there. Is there perhaps a role in the private sector to actually share when they receive some money from the public purse?
Thank you very much to our presenters for starting off our copyright study. It's the 101st meeting, so this is Copyright 101, I guess, right away.
Paul, your organization, Universities Canada, has made strong statements about the importance of an indigenous education as it relates to truth and reconciliation. You made it a priority. You recognized the barriers that Canada's indigenous people face—first nations, Métis, Inuit—as it relates to getting a university education. In my riding, we have Algoma University, which is a member of Universities Canada, and it underwent a significant transition. It was a former residential school, and it's now a university. The federal government has just recently invested in the university to maintain its infrastructure and also the new Anishinabek Discovery Centre, a $10.2-million project that is going to house the chiefs' libraries—the artifacts, the teachings, a whole bunch of things. They're undergoing that process. The infrastructure is going up. What Chief Shingwauk wanted was a teaching wigwam.
We know that there have been concerns for quite a while from indigenous people about copyright. How could we help indigenous people better protect their traditional knowledge and culture expressions?
Thank you very much for the question, and thanks for recognizing the work that Canada's universities have been involved in now for close to a decade on improving indigenous access and success, engaging meaningfully in collaborative research, and ensuring that we're engaged in the process of reconciliation coming out of the recommendations of the TRC. As it happens, just this week we're reporting to our members and to all Canadians some of the progress we've made in recent years on these files.
Really, one of the big items ahead for all of us to consider is the question of indigenous knowledge, how it is appropriately recognized academically, how it is appropriately recognized in society, and what the rights are around that indigenous knowledge, beyond copyright to other forms of intellectual property as well. In that regard, something the committee may want to look at is the recent research strategy released by ITK, the Inuit representative group, which really addresses these issues in greater detail. It may be a group that would be interested in appearing before the committee.
The whole reconciliation project is not one of months or years or even decades. It's interesting that at the very start of this conversation you're having today, you're bringing the indigenous conversation to the table. I think that's a very valuable addition.
As I said, I think the current fair dealing provisions under the copyright law are very strong, but I actually want to address what you were bringing up earlier in terms of concerns from the small publishing industry about declines in profits being associated with fair dealing.
I would absolutely echo the statement that that's a matter of correlation and not causation. I think there's strong evidence for this, because internationally, profits and income in terms of content creators and small independent publishers are on the decline, and that's not because of fair dealing. That's happening in many countries without fair dealing for the education sector. I would say that's much more attached to in fact a global trend of stagnant and declining profits and wages.
I think both Mr. Davidson and I have affirmed that there is a strong role for the government to play in funding arts and culture. In fact, I, as a person who represents students who are aspiring content creators, many of whom are already content creators themselves, am very concerned about lack of income for content creators. But government investment in arts and culture for this country ought to come through direct government funding for arts and culture and not through subsidizing that through the education sector and mostly on the backs of students.
Thank you to the witnesses for coming in today.
I'm going to echo back some of the numbers I heard and try to come back to my colleague Mr. Baylis' question in a different way.
I heard about a billion-dollar investment over three years, and about $370 million this year. I heard that we have made the transition to about 20% print and 80% digital. I also heard that over 90% of the knowledge that's there is being generated by academia.
When it comes to fair dealing, with regard to a lot of the content that's being used, is it by that 20% hard copy that's been published, or is it a portion coming from the digital knowledge that's there? Are they correlated? I'm trying to get into really bringing a balance between fair dealing between the user and the creator and also figuring out how the students fit into this fair dealing. Could you shed some light on that one? How does this fair dealing factor into your tuition, basically?
Can I get everybody back? We're on a tight timetable. Welcome back, everybody.
For the second portion of this, we have, from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, Pamela Foster, director of research and political action; and Mr. Paul Jones, education officer.
From Campus Stores Canada, we have Shawn Gilbertson, manager of course materials for the University of Waterloo.
I'm sure you sat down and watched the beginning of the proceedings. The name of the game is to get stuff on record. That's how we'll be able to present a good report.
We're going to start right off with Mr. Jones. You have five minutes.
Thank you. My name is Paul Jones, and I'm with the Canadian Association of University Teachers, CAUT. I'm joined by my colleague, Pam Foster. We would like to begin by thanking the committee for presenting us with the opportunity to appear before you.
CAUT represents 70,000 professors and librarians at 122 colleges and universities across Canada. Our members are writers, creating tens of thousands of articles, books, and other works every year. We understand the importance of authors' rights, and as a labour organization have succeeded in protecting these rights through the collective bargaining process.
Our members are also teachers and librarians, whose success depends on making information available to others. In these capacities, they have been at the forefront of implementing new ways to create and share knowledge with each other, with students, and with the public at large. The dual nature of our membership has taught us that copyright should serve all Canadians equally. It is in respect to the need for the act to serve all Canadians that we raise our first issue.
In their letter to this committee, the Honourable and stated:
||During your hearings and deliberations, we invite you to pay special attention to the needs and interests of Indigenous peoples as part of Canada's cross-cutting efforts at reconciliation.
This is something we wish to address. From indigenous communities, CAUT has heard first-hand of the damage caused by the appropriation of their cultural heritage, and of the failure of the Copyright Act to provide protection.
In fact, we know of one provision in the act directly responsible for the loss of a community's stories. Indigenous elders and scholars are working to address this broader issue, as are dedicated experts within the public service of Canada. We encourage the committee to support these efforts, and ensure that the Copyright Act recognizes indigenous control over their traditional and living knowledge.
The other issue we wish to address this afternoon is fair dealing. Not that long ago, the Copyright Act's purpose was seen as primarily benefiting the owners of literary and artistic works. This has changed with the Supreme Court's 2002 decision in Théberge v. Galerie d'Art du Petit Champlain inc., which was an important turning point.
In that decision, the court said:
|| The proper balance among these and other public policy objectives lies not only in recognizing the creator’s rights but in giving due weight to their limited nature. In crassly economic terms it would be as inefficient to overcompensate artists and authors for the right of reproduction as it would be self-defeating to undercompensate them.
This idea of balance was expanded in a series of more recent Supreme Court decisions, and it was affirmed by Parliament in the 2012 Copyright Modernization Act.
This approach, in which user rights and owner rights are given equal weight, has accompanied enormous innovation in the way knowledge is created and shared. Librarians and professors have been at the forefront of the open access movement and the open education resource movement, in which the journal articles and textbooks they write are made freely available to the online world.
Fair dealing has been a small but important part of this innovation, allowing students, teachers, and researchers to easily exchange material in a timely fashion. For example, it would allow a class to quickly share a controversial newspaper editorial, an excerpt from a movie, or a chapter from a rare, out-of-print book. The recognition of fair dealing for educational purposes by the Supreme Court and by Parliament has been of benefit to Canada.
Now, as I'm sure you are aware, not everyone is happy with fair dealing. There are two things you will hear or will have already heard. First, you will hear that poets and storytellers in Canada are often struggling at or near the poverty line. This is absolutely true. Second you will hear that fair dealing is in part responsible for this. This is not true.
The impoverishment of large sections of our artistic community far predates educational fair dealing. It is also a sad fact across the globe, including in jurisdictions where educational fair dealing does not exist. The reality is that fair dealing covers a small amount of content use on campuses, of which an even smaller fraction is literary works by Canadian authors. In fact, when it comes to supporting authors and publishers, Canada's post-secondary education sector has a proud record to point to.
Yes, we are developing new ways to create and share information, and it is true that in the last 10 years there has been enormous disruption in the world economy, with more losers than winners in all sectors, but we in the post-secondary sector continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year on content.
To conclude, we urge the committee to affirm the Copyright Act as legislation for all Canadians by addressing the concerns of indigenous communities and by supporting a public post-secondary education sector where a combination of open access journals, open education resources, fair dealing, and hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually on content provides the best possible learning and research environment.
Thank you again for inviting us, and thank you for the important work that you're doing.
Good afternoon. I'd like to thank the committee for the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Shawn Gilbertson. I'm the course materials manager at the University of Waterloo. I'm here today on behalf of Campus Stores Canada, the national trade association of institutionally owned and operated campus stores. Campus Stores Canada has 80 member stores and more than 150 vendor and supplier associates nationwide. This means that, if you know one of the million or so post-secondary students, you probably know someone who is served by a member of Campus Stores Canada.
Campus stores serve students by ensuring they have access to high-quality learning resources by acting as a conduit for the distribution and fulfillment of print and digital course material. We are here today with a simple message. Fair dealing has not negatively impacted the sale and distribution of academic material in Canada. The 2012 expansion of fair dealing to include educational use as an exemption is an important clarification of user rights. Importantly, this review must be considered within the context of a rapidly evolving marketplace.
To be clear, the higher education publishing market has seen a significant shift away from traditional print-based mediums towards digital learning products often sold at lower prices. This might clarify some of the questions asked earlier. Further disruption is a result of changes in consumer behaviour, provincial policy changes, and a competitive online marketplace. These changes are part of an industry faced with increased competition and more choice for consumers in the way they purchase, access, and consume course material.
However, I should note that unaffordable prices of some course material has led to decreased demand for expensive textbooks that may have only been slightly updated. In addition, there has been significant market saturation of print learning material with increased competition through the growth of textbook rentals, imported international editions, peer-to-peer selling, and increased demand for less expensive older editions.
Students, the ultimate users of learning materials, no longer see the value in expensive, single-use texts. As with other industries like music and video, user expectations of value have shifted. New channels, new business models, and new market entrants are further perpetuating the disruption of traditional print revenues, fostering the investment and development of digital products and subscription-based services, with early indicators pointing to significant growth.
With that said, we would like to underscore an important point from the joint ministers responsible for copyright when they stated in a letter to this committee that “...the Copyright Act itself might not be the most effective tool to address all of the concerns stemming from recent disruptions...” Campus Stores Canada encourages the committee to keep this top of mind when reviewing briefs and listening to testimonies from creators and copyright owners.
To conclude, it is imperative that this committee recognize the important balance between creators and users of intellectual property and the value of fair dealing. Fair dealing remains a fundamental right necessary to safeguard creator and user interests as this industry innovates and evolves.
On behalf of Campus Stores Canada and the students we serve, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.
Those were great presentations.
Earlier on, I asked about how the government, this committee, could make recommendations to better address the long-standing issue of indigenous concerns over copyrighting.
Paul, I know in your remarks you just made a statement about that. Again, I don't know if you were here, but in Sault Ste. Marie we have a number of indigenous activities going on relating to truth and reconciliation and the building of initiatives at the Discovery Centre. The infrastructure is being built right now and is going to work with Algoma University, which is also a site that was a former residential school.
They are really trying to address the issue of indigenous education, so they're involved with it, but they're also helping address the truth and reconciliation recommendations. Part of that is that they are going to be housing a lot of artifacts. There are going to be a lot of teachings, and there are concerns about indigenous copyrighting in Canada.
Would you be able to expand a little further about your views or your organization's views on how Canada can better protect indigenous teachings and cultural artifacts, etc. in the institutions through better copyright legislation?
The first thing I should clarify is that we take our knowledge from our indigenous members—indigenous academic staff—who have explained the problems to us. We are trying to convey that along, but they will be the main spokespeople on this and will bring forward the concerns more directly. I would not want to appear to be pre-empting that or speaking on behalf of another community.
We have learned that western notions of intellectual property set out in the Copyright Act or the Patent Act, with very precise definitions of individual or corporate ownership and very precise timelines for the creation of knowledge and how long that knowledge lasts, do not fit at all well with the different kinds of indigenous knowledge systems that exist within aboriginal communities. The mix between those two things—our Copyright Act and traditional approaches to indigenous knowledge—is very difficult.
One particular example that came to our attention was that of a historian in New Brunswick who, in the seventies, recorded stories of elders. When the community wanted to access those stories, recordings, and transcripts, they were not able to, because copyright ownership in those stories was claimed by the person who had made the recordings. It's now section 18 of the act, I think, that gives those rights to the recordist. In this case, the community was not able to access the stories. The elders who had told the stories had died. Most of their children had died. It is just now that they have finally broken through and been able to publish these stories.
That was a specific example of one small part of the act, which in that instance caused real damage to that community, real sorrow and heartbreak. I believe that same situation has happened in other places.
There are other situations where, because the copyright requires a specific creator—someone to claim ownership—and a specific timeline, it doesn't fit well with notions of community ownership or with notions of ownership since time immemorial, going back and going forward.
We would not purport to say exactly what has to be done. We know there are experts and elders within indigenous communities who can speak to this. We just want to put our support behind them in making the changes necessary to protect indigenous knowledge.
You've asked for one concern, and we have five issues we want to bring forward—our five biggest concerns. The first one is to leave fair dealing alone. You know that. We're also very concerned, as in our opening statement, that the concerns of indigenous communities are addressed in the act. Beyond that, the current term is life plus 50, and that's a reasonable approach. To the extent that this can be protected in national legislation, what with international trade agreements starting to infringe on that, we urge that it remain at life plus 50.
The Copyright Modernization Act of 2012 did a good job of moving a lot of things forward. One area where it didn't quite succeed was on the issue of technological protection measures. In particular, a small, but elegant change there that would allow digital locks to be broken for non-infringement purposes.... If there are reasons that you can legally reproduce something, but it's in a digital format and it's protected, you should be able to still go in and do that.
The other issue that we were interested in talking about further, and we'll develop this in our submission, is the issue of crown copyright, which we would want to see loosened, to be moved back to allow Canadians better access to the information that the government produces, ultimately with a goal perhaps of abolishing it, but with some baby steps along the way to move that forward.
You both reflected back a similar point that was made by the previous witnesses, which is to leave fair dealings alone, recognizing at the same time that authors and small publishers are making less money.
Starting with you, Mr. Jones, you represent teachers. Some of them are the authors, let's say, and yet they're not unhappy with the fair dealings right now, if I understand. Is that correct?
Where's the flow of the money going? There's more and more money going somewhere, but it's not going to our creators, and it's not going to our small publishers.
Mr. Chair, a fast three minutes.
I'm going to open up with Mr. Gilbertson. It was good to hear you mentioning Cengage, because that is one of the game-changers we're facing.
The cost of books going into tuition is another model. As we look at possibly supporting tuition, we could also be supporting texts at the same time.
Two other pieces for me are the French-language open access journals, the Érudit journals, and looking at the model of digital learning products tied to assessments. That came up in conversations in Guelph as well.
There's policy needed around all of that. Could you comment on where the gaps are that we could be diving into in future discussions?
When we look at larger publishing houses out of the States supplying textbooks into Canada, I think it's important that we still get access to Canadian content, in both languages, as well as information that Canadian students need.
With the measure around protecting student copyright over works, students who are studying and contributing to creation of content, we're providing more money for students to be engaged in research. Whether there is some type of opportunity there for students to get relief on textbooks.... I'm not sure where I'm going with that, but the students are part of the equation. On research, they are part of the equation on having to access information.
Maybe this goes back to the comment by Mr. Baylis around creators not getting paid for content. Really, a lot of them aren't motivated to be paid for content; they want to be published.