Good afternoon, everybody. What a gorgeous day it is.
Do I hear a cellphone? Are all cellphones off? Thank you.
Welcome to meeting 117 of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, as we continue our legislative five-year review of copyright.
Today we have with us, from the Canadian Teachers' Federation, Mr. Mark Ramsankar, President; from the Canadian School Boards Association, Cynthia Andrew, Policy Analyst; and from the University of Calgary, Dru Marshall, Provost and Vice-President, who we'll save for last.
We're going to start with you, Mr. Ramsankar. You have up to seven minutes.
My name is Mark Ramsankar. I'm the President of the Canadian Teachers' Federation, but first and foremost, I'd like to suggest that I'm a schoolteacher. I've had the opportunity throughout my career to teach all grades and to also work as a consultant with the school board in Edmonton. I've been a special ed teacher as well as an administrator, so I'm speaking from the perspective of the entire K-to-12 education system over my 25 years in the classroom.
As the national voice for Canadian teachers, I represent here today a quarter of a million teachers in the K-to-12 system in every province and territory in the country. We have a part in and strong connection to Education International, which represents over 30 million teachers across the world. We are a long-standing member of the education coalition of national education organizations. We advocate for the rights of teachers and students in the federal government's copyright reform process. We work very closely with the education coalition partners to develop education materials for teachers on matters relating directly to copyright.
We believe very firmly in protecting the legitimate interests of creators and publishers by ensuring there is no copyright infringement when teachers are copying materials for use in their classrooms and for students. We also believe that the current fair dealing provisions maintain a very strong balance between user rights and creator rights. We view this as very strong public policy. Even our global organization, through Education International, holds that the Canadian Copyright Act as it stands is held in very high regard.
Teachers are professionals who respect copyright, and we also teach our students to respect copyright when they do research. Teachers will not copy materials if there is any doubt. They do not copy whole textbooks. It infuriates us throughout the profession when somebody says something such as this, that there is a teacher who is blatantly stepping on copyright rules.
Over the last decade there's been a dramatic shift from print-based materials and resources such as textbooks to digital resources. In our classrooms today, as challenging as they are, teachers find effective ways to teach through these evolving technologies. They are creating their own resources and materials. They're using collaborative approaches to content in creation and are engaging students so that they can learn through online resources as well as more traditional print material. As professionals in the K-to-12 system, teachers want their students to have access to the very best educational content available.
Speaking directly to copyright, it is an important issue, and it's a subject that has been raised with teachers by the Canadian Teachers' Federation. We speak about compliance, and we take part in the awareness of consequences to infringing on copyright. We also engage in a comprehensive awareness program in our efforts to ensure teachers are aware of copyright and the limits of the law when they are preparing for their classes.
Teachers are professionals. Anecdotal stories of whole textbooks being copied are isolated incidents. I speak directly for the K-to-12 system in education, and that is public education. I don't stand here to represent extended or private education. For the CTF, it's not about the money. From our view, it's about students. It's about providing the best for their learning experience in our system and for their futures.
I came today to witness for and represent Canadian teachers, and I'm urging the standing committee to maintain the current fair dealing provisions, which balance the protection of both creators and users.
I also ask you to consider your decisions. Consider the fact that a quarter of a million teachers work with children every day in this country. The decisions made as we go forward in regard to copyright will have very damning effects on classrooms across the country, and every student in the K-to-12 system will be affected by the decisions that are made in the outcome of these hearings.
Thank you very much, Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and good afternoon, everyone.
My name is Cynthia Andrew. I appear before you this afternoon representing the Canadian School Boards Association, whose members are the provincial school board associations, which represent just over 250 school boards across Canada and serve slightly less than four million elementary and secondary school students across Canada.
I am an employee of one of those provincial associations, the Ontario Public School Boards' Association. I am the key staff person for school boards both in Ontario and within CSBA on all matters relating to copyright. I am pleased to appear before you this afternoon to speak about copyright and school boards.
Copyright law affects all of Canada's school boards and is reflected in policies and practices in school board administration and in classrooms across the country. As a result, CSBA has been attentive to and active in issues related to copyright reform since the 1990s.
CSBA works closely with other national educational organizations on copyright-related policy development. That is why you will notice that many of our supporting materials are the same as those materials you have already seen from other witnesses who have come before you on this issue, for example, the fair dealing guidelines and the “Copyright Matters!” booklet.
CSBA recognizes the importance of copyright awareness in the K-to-12 education community, and we do our part, along with our provincial affiliates and our education partners, to impart the need to foster greater understanding and compliance within our schools and our classrooms. CSBA provides advice to local school boards through its provincial association members.
The provincial ministries and departments of education can exercise greater authority, making certain policy requirements of school boards. You heard from them earlier this week, I know, through the CMEC Copyright Consortium. CSBA works co-operatively with the CMAC Copyright Consortium and other national educational partners to ensure that consistent information about copyright compliance and copyright rights and responsibilities is consistently shared through our provincial school board associations with all of the school boards and their employees.
This decision to educate school board employees consistently across Canada was made late in 2012 and was only partially a result of the amendments to the Copyright Act that passed earlier that year. Significantly, the decision was also a result of the 2012 Supreme Court decision that found it was fair for teachers to copy short excerpts of copyright-protected works for their students. It is that Supreme Court decision that prompted national education associations to establish the fair dealing guidelines.
CSBA supports the fair dealing guidelines. It supported the establishment of them and worked with its provincial affiliates to ensure that directives from their respective provincial ministries were implemented effectively. CSBA believes that the fair dealing guidelines provide school boards and their employees with clear copyright policy guidance, ensuring that educators are aware of their rights and their responsibilities under the Canadian copyright law. The fair dealing guidelines ensure consistent application of the Supreme Court's decision across the country. The guidelines are aligned with copyright law around the world so that our teachers and our students are on a level playing field with those from other countries.
CSBA further believes that fair dealing for education purposes is good public policy that supports student learning and ensures effective use of taxpayer dollars. The Copyright Act balances rights between copyright owners and copyright users, and the fair dealing provision in the act is an important right for Canadian educators. Fair dealing for the purpose of education allows teachers to access a wide range of diverse learning materials and thereby enriches students' learning experiences.
The Supreme Court decision and the fair dealing guidelines have established a stability that CSBA supports and wishes to see maintained. Teachers are now certain when they're selecting materials for their lesson planning and when seeking those supplemental materials necessary for teaching individuals who may be more challenged with the lessons.
CSBA is aware that publishers and Access Copyright have been vocal in their claims that fair dealing has caused them economic hardship. To date, they have not been able to present sufficient evidence to support this claim beyond anecdotal examples. The other gap that is evident from the testimony to date is the degree to which the success or decline of publishers and Access Copyright reflects what is fair remuneration to creators. Will restoring tariffs and increasing tariff payments help those writers and those creators?
CSBA does empathize with the challenges currently facing the educational publishing industry. The industry is struggling to stay current with advancing technology and new perspectives about teaching and learning. Textbooks, once the primary learning resource available to educators, are now just one in a series of choices that school boards and teachers have available when preparing classes for their students. School boards spend their learning-resource dollars on digital-content repositories, subscription-based databases, online libraries, provincially developed or locally developed electronic resources, apps, and, of course, the Internet. Again, the true value of the educational use of fair dealing is that educators now have the flexibility to adapt their materials to the specific needs of each class, or even each individual student, in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago.
While CSBA as an organization is not directly involved in any of the legal or quasi-legal actions that have occurred around copying in schools, some of our member school boards, those in Ontario, are directly involved. Other provinces' school boards are indirectly involved as their ministry is involved. While CSBA itself might not be directly involved in these matters, we certainly have an ongoing interest in ensuring that the Copyright Act continues to balance the rights of both creators and the educational users.
The fair dealing provisions in the act provide balance in both rights and responsibilities. Proceedings of the Supreme Court and other courts, which are playing themselves out today, are providing the definitions and the clarity around fair dealing. There is a new normal in K-12 school communities, which educators are adapting to, which publishers are adapting to, and which teachers and students are benefiting from, that is about access to enriched learning material. CSBA asks MPs to not be tempted to apply legislative amendments to what is already a fair and balanced approach to copyright in our schools.
Good afternoon. I'm Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president, academic, at the University of Calgary, and chair of the copyright committee there. I want to begin by thanking members of the committee for their support for the post-secondary sector. Investments in our campus through the post-secondary strategic investment fund and through the previous knowledge infrastructure program have had a transformative effect on research and learning spaces on our campus. We also really appreciate the significant federal investments made in support of Canada's research ecosystem.
I'm pleased to be here today to make recommendations to the committee and to speak about the University of Calgary's approach to copyright. First, I want to emphasize that the University of Calgary supports the retention of the fair dealing exception for education in Canada's copyright regime. As both creators and users of copyright material, universities must have a balanced approach to copyright and to the issue of fair dealing.
Fair dealing helps ensure a high-quality educational environment for students, and contributes to innovation in teaching by enabling an instructor to use a variety of examples in their lectures, exposing students to the most recent cutting-edge research. The speed at which textbooks and traditional print books are produced and distributed often does not allow for inclusion of these types of examples.
At the University of Calgary, we take a measured approach to fair dealing, ensuring it is used to supplement or complement purchased material, not to replace it. We do not apply fair dealing to print course packs, because while the university produces course packs on a cost-recovery basis, the institutional printing contract with a third party printer includes a commercial element. We also do not apply fair dealing to compilations of works such as literary anthologies. Instead we look for original sources of these works, and in most cases purchase transactional licences for them. Indeed, the university applies fair dealing to a very small proportion of course materials used in classrooms today. In a sample of 3,200 learning items, such as book chapters, articles, and Internet resources used by instructors in our winter 2017 semester, fair dealing was applied to only 250 items, or less than 8%. We most commonly applied fair dealing in instances where a chart, a graphic, or tables from a book or academic journal articles were included in the materials for a lecture.
I'd be happy to walk the committee through a detailed example of how fair dealing is applied to a specific course during the question period of today's meeting.
At the University of Calgary we also strongly discourage introducing any measures to harmonize tariff regimes, imposing statutory damages, or introducing mandatory licensing into Canada's copyright regime. Doing so would remove or threaten a university's ability to choose how to manage copyright, compel them to purchase blanket licences, and result in a university paying twice for the ability to reproduce most of its copyrighted content. This move would be a fundamental change to copyright law and should be studied very closely for all the unintended consequences that would flow from it, especially the cost implications for public institutions.
We understand that in recent government consultations on reforming the Copyright Board of Canada, Access Copyright proposed statutory damages in the range of three to 10 times the royalty for even the smallest case of infringement, with no discretion for the courts to vary from this. We also understand that Access Copyright is currently pursuing royalties, at a rate of $26 per FTE student for the university sector, through rate-setting proceedings at the Copyright Board of Canada. This rate has not yet been confirmed by the board, but if it were, this would mean statutory damages for a university, hypothetically, in the range of $78 to $260 per FTE student at the institution. That scenario would be difficult for any publicly funded institution.
Our opposition to this measure is in line with the University of Calgary's decision to opt out of the Access Copyright interim tariff in September 2012. This decision to opt out came after considerable consultation with our university community, and was driven by significant cost implications stemming from both the increase in the tariff and the limits in the repertoire offered by Access Copyright. The Access Copyright tariff applies only to the copying of print materials within the repertoire, and the details of the specific materials included were not sufficiently transparent.
As a growing proportion of library materials is digital, the university increasingly found itself paying twice for the same resource, paying the Access Copyright fee for print copies and also paying for the licence for digital copies preferred by the university community.
This preference and the greater cost-effectiveness of digital resources drive a growing proportion of library acquisitions. We have a digital first policy, and approximately 90% of acquisitions by our library in 2017-18 were digital, just over 10 million dollars' worth, making print-based collective licences less useful.
When we opted out of the Access Copyright tariff in 2012, it was because we recognized that we could implement institutional copyright policies that would be both more cost-effective and, importantly, responsive to the needs of the University of Calgary community.
At the U of C we take copyright compliance extremely seriously. We educate our faculty, staff, and students about copyright. For example, we recommend all course reading lists be submitted to the copyright office to ensure compliance. We have a copyright officer who attends and presents at new faculty orientation sessions and who holds regular information sessions for instructors, staff, and students on copyright. In 2017, that copyright officer gave over 22 presentations and workshops to our community.
Our learning management system includes reminders about where to seek advice about copyright issues and about the appropriate use of materials.
We provide copyright compliance assistance services. We have a copyright office that employs four full-time employees, and they processed over 7,800 requests in the winter term of 2017. The same office negotiates transactional licences and clearances on behalf of our instructors and professors.
In 2012, we became one of the first post-secondary institutions in Canada to adopt a policy on acceptable use of materials protected by copyright, which applies to the campus community. This policy includes sanctions for non-compliance.
We have a copyright committee that meets quarterly and that includes students, administration, and staff, and we have developed a rigorous, we think, and comprehensive approach to managing copyright.
In conclusion, we urge the committee to take a balanced, measured, and fair approach to copyright, one that respects the rights of both creators and users.
Again, we appreciate the opportunity to appear before you and look forward to questions.
Thank you, presenters, for the very informative information you have provided.
I was a school board trustee many years ago, and I come from a family of teachers. In fact, my father used to be president of OSSTF. I'm mentioning that because he's in Ottawa today too.
I'm going to start out asking you a question I've been asking various people across the country and here. It's about copyright as it relates to Canada's indigenous people. Canada's indigenous people feel the copyright laws as they exist do not serve their traditional culture and their methods of communicating that.
We've heard from various people, whether on the oral tradition or otherwise, about how we engage. Obviously, in your schools you have indigenous children, indigenous teachers, indigenous trustees, indigenous professors, and whatnot.
Could you provide to this committee your thoughts on how we could improve copyright as it relates to Canada's indigenous population?
Anyone can start. It's for all three of you.
Hello and thank you for being with us today.
My question is for several of you.
Representatives of various organizations have told us about the fees charged for the right to use authors' copies and about the fair dealing exception. I have some questions for you in this regard.
Access Copyright and Copibec asked our committee not to give too much weight to the data showing that spending on acquisitions and licences and on reproduction rights can be excessive. According to Access Copyright and Copibec, in our digital era, we have to make a distinction between acquiring an educational work and reproducing it.
Do you make the same distinction between acquiring a work and reproducing a work? The costs that people incur are primarily for the right to acquire licences and not to reproduce excerpts of works. What is your position on the distinction between acquiring licences and reproducing works?
As you can gather, I'm not usually on this committee, so I haven't heard the testimony leading up to this. I do have a bit of a background from both sides. I worked at UBC for many years, and I have written a dozen or so books. I get my Access Copyright cheque every year. It's not a lot, but it's a nice surprise. It has been getting a lot smaller lately. I see that. I also have quite a number of authors living in my riding who have talked to me about this issue. A lot of them write fairly regional books on history and natural history that are used in schools. These people don't make a lot of money from their writing, so that Access Copyright cheque was actually a good chunk of their annual income. For me, it didn't really matter that much. I see the fairness issues on both sides.
Ms. Andrew, you mentioned that Access Copyright hadn't been able to show undue economic hardship on authors. I think that's what you were trying to say. I'm wondering what the economic hardship is on schools, colleges, and universities. We have statements here in the notes. For instance, Winnipeg School Division spends $34,000 a year on copyright materials, $1 per student. Ms. Marshall was talking about something a little bit higher.
I'm just wondering what you think would be fair and not causing hardship to school boards.
I'm going to split your question in two.
There's the education aspect, what we do to educate our staff, and Mark has spoken very eloquently about it. It happens at multiple levels. We all use consistent materials. You'll see that we have the same book. We use the same fair dealing guidelines. There are posters produced by provincial governments through their involvement in the CMEC Copyright Consortium, which go out to every school. Every year in September, this material is redistributed through the provincial associations or provincial departments down to the boards and through the boards to the schools. This happens on an annual basis. All the materials are shared on a regular basis, and then they're also shared through other means, such as their unions or education articles and things like that. There are lots of opportunities for this information to get shared with school board staff, not just teaching staff but all staff.
On the side of compliance, it is a school board's responsibility to ensure that its staff are following all of their policies. School boards have a number of policies. Any non-compliance with copyright that is identified would be dealt with through the process a school board follows depending on which province it's in. It's going to vary from province to province, and may even vary board to board, in terms of which process it follows to communicate with the teacher about what they've done wrong. Frequently, when things are brought to a board's attention about non-compliance, it's more a matter of, “I just didn't know that” than it is a matter of, “I didn't care.” It's a matter of ensuring that the person is educated about what they're supposed to do, and then, very rarely...in fact, I've yet to be made aware of a situation in which there has been a recurrence of non-compliance. From that perspective, I think that school boards are doing their due diligence as employers to ensure that their employees are following all of their policies and that laws are outlined in that.
The variety of material that is used, in a teacher's view, needs to be accessible. However, the use and dissemination of that will change depending on the nature of the students in the classroom.
When I talk about the change in the classroom, I'm talking about the demographics within the classroom and children who have needs that go beyond the norm. Teachers need to have the flexibility to be able to alter and work with the material to meet the individual needs of a child.
For example, if you have a student in grade 3 who is reading at a grade 3 level, there are certain approaches and strategies teachers will be able to use. If the same classroom has students who are reading at a grade 1 level, then the same material, because it's part of the curriculum, has to be disseminated differently. It has to be broken down. It has to be created in such a way that the child at that level will be able to understand the concepts being taught.
When I talk about understanding what it's like to be in the classroom, I am suggesting that the idea of just doing blanket material and having blanket licences that are the same for all, because you're purchasing the material, doesn't necessarily work in all scenarios, because you're not able to take one type of material and then just apply it to today's classroom.
Let's go e-book versus print costs. Because we're a digital library, e-books are purchased whenever possible and when available. We look at the cost of a multi-user e-book. It's often less than a transactional licensing fee and it doesn't limit access to students enrolled in only one course.
For example, licensing of two chapters of the book, Oil: A Beginner's Guide, 2008—this is an important book in Alberta right now—by Vaclav Smil, for a class of 410 students would cost the library $2,463 in U.S. currency. In contrast, the cost of an unlimited licence for three e-book versions would be $29.90 through Ebook Central, and the book would be available to all library users.
That's, in many cases, why we've gone digital.
I would say, similarly, the cost of licensing two chapters from the book, Negotiations in a Vacant Lot: Studying the Visual in Canada, by Lynda Jessup, et al, for a class of 60 students would be $414 Canadian, while the cost of an unlimited licence on Ebook Central would be $150 U.S.
There is a tremendous difference in these costs. We use those, and we also are dealing with the needs of our students, who want the material digitally. They prefer to do that. Our professors are very conscious of ensuring that students are getting materials in such a way that they're going to use them.
I'm going to try this out like Mr. Sheehan did. I married a teacher. Her brother was a teacher, and he married a teacher. Their two kids are teachers, and one married a teacher and one married an EA. I ran for federal politics so that for six months of the year I don't have to listen to teachers' conversations.
Voices: Oh, oh!
Mr. Bob Bratina: Also, my son has his M.A. in library science and he's now a Mountie in northern B.C., so I think we're....
The reason I mention this is that at all of those dinner-table conversations, I never heard this come up. The only thing I ever heard, really, was whether on a snow day you could play the movie Oliver! for the kids who showed up.
How pervasive.... Mr. Ramsankar, you held up the material that you have hanging.... You both have it. Is that how it's circulated among the teachers?
We work with our member organizations to see that the material is available. It is in schools. As I say, this material is hanging in the photocopy room, but we go beyond just the material that's contained here with the rules.
I cited an example. As I said, this is from March-April 2018, out of Newfoundland. The articles in here talk about the copyright issue, the use, and whether or not teachers are complying. To be honest with you, you're talking about your dinner conversations around the table that are about education, but teachers that I sit with don't sit around the dinner-table talking about copyright. What they talk about is how they are strategizing to work with student X or what happened in the classroom. Copyright comes up when you have parameters set around you to access material or to help children access material; that's when copyright comes up. The title of our booklet is right there, Copyright Matters! There is respect when you're talking about developing materials to use in your classrooms.
In fact, I will take it a step further. As I've said, I speak for K to 12. When we're teaching about ethical research and writing papers, it goes right back to simple things like plagiarism: giving people credit for what they have written and what they do and making sure they are cited correctly. As teachers, we need to model that.
Simply making the statement that a teacher would blanket-copy a hardcover or a piece of paper, disseminate that out on the one hand and then say, “oh, by the way, you have an ethical responsibility”, doesn't fit. That's why I say that most of the anecdotal examples of evidence are one-offs or are about people who have gone outside.
When cited about it, it's not automatic that an employer or a principal will take a punitive measure on an individual. It's a teachable moment. You talk about copyright and how it goes. You make the corrective measure and you move on. That is what we're talking about in terms of the use of materials in classrooms.
I would hope there would be, but if, for example, we were paying in the $10 to $15 range, with the $2.38 plus the 10¢-per-page fee, then going up to $26 and then $45 would seem ridiculous to me. When we're doing our costs, if our students are $10 to $15 a student, why would I pay $26? That's the concern for me. Do we have the numbers the right way, and why did we jump to $26?
Part of that, I think, is that Access Copyright, and rightly so, wants to protect creators. But part of the issue that we have not discussed at all here is the publishing industry. When one of our professors, for example, writes a textbook, we don't control the contract with the publishers. The publishers are having record profits while the authors are getting less money. There is something wrong.
In response to an earlier question, we balance being part of a collective, not only for copyright.... I mean, all those opt-out institutions got together and shared information. We talked about how we would clear copyright. We shared best practices on how we did that. That, I would argue, is a collective in and of itself. We also joined together in many ways to purchase product from publishers, to see whether, if we were part of a collective, we could get a better deal. We've had to come out of those as well, because we're finding that the publishers are just ratcheting up. There's a monopoly with five or six companies, and intellectually, when we talk about academic material, that makes it very difficult. This is why you see the rise of open educational resources and open access materials, which also have had an impact in this area.