Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak today on behalf of the Canadian Dance Assembly.
I represent the Canadian Dance Assembly, a national service organization, and we partner with 10 provincial dance organizations to serve the dance sector, which includes hundreds of companies, schools and individual dancers across the country.
As a member of the Focus on Creators group, I am here today to add my voice to the call for fair remuneration for Canadian artists, regardless of artistic discipline. I will conclude my presentation today with two recommendations.
Copyright is a key pillar of the creative economy and an essential policy tool for the federal government. It upholds the intellectual property rights of producers and creators while allowing Canadians ready access to the content they rely on for work, entertainment and, most notably, education.
Minister Joly has stated that Canada requires a copyright framework that works well in our fast-paced digital world and provides creators with opportunities to get fair value for their work.
Choreography is mentioned once in the Copyright Act under the definitions. I'm very grateful that it is mentioned at all, to be honest. This definition of choreographic work is dated, however, and could include references to choreography for the stage, choreography for site-specific works and choreography on digital platforms, as some examples.
Notably, there have been debates in the media about the use of dance in video games such as Fortnite. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that definitions in the Copyright Act are relevant and current. After talking with several colleagues in the dance sector, I understand that copyright of choreography and royalties for subsequent performances is dealt with at the contract level. To my knowledge, there have not been any cases brought forward to the Copyright Board about choreographic works. Unfortunately, the Canadian dance sector is not currently large enough to see multiple performances and remounts of choreography. Therefore, royalties are rarely considered.
Remarkably, there have been global discussions about whether or not you can even copyright a movement. In 2011, superstar Beyoncé was accused of borrowing liberally from Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker in Beyoncé's music videoCountdown. In The Guardian, writer Luke Jennings asserted that it would be a hard case to make for plagiarism, because works of art reference other works of art.
I am here today not to talk about royalties related to choreography, but instead, I want to talk primarily about the use of music in dance.
Dance is usually performed in venues with live or recorded music. Live music is very expensive, and I would say the majority of my members use recorded music. Large dance companies are paying royalties to composers regularly for recorded music and are very aware of their obligations, but small dance companies are often ignorant and are therefore non-compliant.
Our colleagues at Re:Sound, whom you've heard from already in this study, are aware of the administrative burden on small companies for compliance and are willing to work with dance service organizations like the Canadian Dance Assembly on webinars to educate our members. The Canadian Dance Assembly is working with its provincial colleagues and Re:Sound to increase understanding and thereby increase compliance.
In July 2017, the federal government announced its intention to reform the Copyright Board. The Canadian Dance Assembly fully supports the review and reform of the Copyright Board. The board plays an important role in ensuring creators and publishers are remunerated for the use of their work when the terms of licences cannot be reached through negotiation. Additionally, the Copyright Board has an obligation to consult sectors affected by tariffs. This consultation is what I want to talk about.
In dance, the Copyright Board administers agreements between dance schools and Re:Sound for the use of recorded music in dance instruction, which is tariff 6.B. They also administer agreements with Re:Sound for the use of recorded music at venues, which is tariff 5.K. There are also agreements with SOCAN, but I want to talk about Re:Sound today.
My colleagues at the provincial service organizations who work directly with dance studios across the country are very concerned about tariff 6.B, the “settlement tariff”. The tariff was negotiated in March 2014 between the Fitness Industry Council of Canada, GoodLife Fitness and Re:Sound.
Please note there is no dance organization among the negotiators in that list, but the tariff applies to dance instruction. The settlement tariff, certified by the Copyright Board in March 2015, is based on a per class basis, while the original tariff was based on a per venue basis. This change, combined with a significant increase in the base rate, resulted in a settlement tariff being multiple times higher for dance schools than the original tariff. For example, the studio that my four-year-old daughter studies at used to pay $25 for a venue permit under the original tariff and now, because they have 44 classes a week, it pays $1,100 in a tariff. What is frustrating about that is the fact that in those negotiations, dance organizations didn't really have a representative at the table during the Copyright Board's review.
The settlement tariff is also notably for recreational instruction not educational instruction. The majority of dance schools in this country focus their instruction on school-aged children, therefore the clarification of the definition of what is an educational institute, in comparison to what is recreational instruction, could have a significant impact on the fees paid by dance schools.
Notably, the Copyright Board supposed in March 2015 that the Fitness Industry Council of Canada could speak to dance instruction when, of course, there are several trade organizations, dance service organizations, that could speak to dance. In January 2018, when tariff 6.B was re-examined, there was one provincial dance group that was at the table briefly, from the Canadian Dance Teachers Association, but it could not afford to continue in the full proceedings.
I absolutely recognize that the actions of the Copyright Board are not the purview of this standing committee, but I bring up the lack of representation of dance here, so that it is in the public record.
On behalf of the Canadian Dance Assembly I want to encourage the committee to focus on the fair remuneration of artists in its review.
To conclude, the Canadian Dance Assembly recommends that the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology amend the Copyright Act in these two ways: one, refine the definition of choreography, so as to reflect the reality of the profession of dance in 2018, and two, re-examine the definition of educational institute to considered non-governmental training institutes such as dance schools.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to you and the members of the committee for enabling me to take this opportunity to make a presentation to you this afternoon.
I'm a labour lawyer and a human rights lawyer here in Ottawa, which I say under my breath somewhat. I've been doing a lot of work with visual artists over the last decade or so, and recently I've become a board member of Copyright Visual Arts, so I'm here in that capacity.
We are a non-profit, artist-run, copyright licensing agency. We have submitted a brief to the committee with three recommendations that, in our opinion, will directly and significantly affect the livelihood of visual artists in Canada. I'm going to touch on those three recommendations right now. Of course, when everyone's done I'd be open to any questions you might have.
The three recommendations concern fair dealing, the exhibition right and the artist's resale right.
First of all, I will talk about fair dealing. You will have already heard earlier this summer from Access Copyright and other groups representing writing and publishing that the 2012 amendments to the act introduced an education exemption under fair dealing, but the act does not specifically define the scope of this exemption. Since then, educational institutions have established their own fair dealing guidelines, which are problematic for visual artists, and they have stopped renewing collective licences with Access Copyright under the guise of fair dealing. Although individual payments to visual artists are modest, artists rely on them as a regular source of income. Years ago, an artist could pay a month's rent with their annual royalty. Now they're receiving an average of $50 each a year. Over the last four years, royalties that artists collectively received from Access Copyright declined by 66%, from well over $500,000 to less than $200,000. In other places like the U.K., Australia and Scandinavia, limitations on fair dealing have been written into law that balances the rights of users and creators where artists' livelihoods are not at stake. We recommend that similar wording be used here that does not interfere with collective licensing. Our brief has further details on this, and of course I commend to you the Access Copyright brief submitted in the summer, which also has a detailed analysis.
The second issue concerns the exhibition right and 1988. As you all know, the act includes an exhibition right that allows artists to require payment for the exhibition of their works if the works are not offered for sale or hire. However, public museums and galleries are not legally required to pay artists if their work was made before June 8, 1988. That was the date on which the exhibition right was enacted and came into force. This date limitation has led to discrimination against senior artists and the estates of deceased artists. Some museums do choose to pay artists for earlier works, but most do not. Without stronger legal rights, senior artists are often excluded from payment, while their younger counterparts do not face these issues. In our opinion there are strong arguments that this discrimination could be a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We therefore recommend that the 1988 date be dropped and that the exhibition right be extended to include all works subject to copyright, that is the life of the artist plus 50 years.
The final recommendation relates to the artist's resale right. The artist's resale right is a proposed royalty that a visual artist should receive each time their work is resold publicly through an auction house or a commercial gallery. If an artist sells or donates their work, and then it is later offered for sale again, we are asking that visual artists or their estates receive 5% of that sale price. It's a fairly nominal amount. Currently Canadian artists only get paid on the first sale of their artwork. This royalty would contribute significantly to the financial sustainability of an artist's practice. A writer or a composer gets paid as long as people buy their books or their songs; visual artists should also be paid if their artworks continue to re-enter the market and are sold again because they retain intellectual property in their work. The resale right is not a new phenomenon. It exists in over 90 countries around the world. The World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO, is making efforts to make mandatory international adoption of the right. Currently it is voluntary for members of the Berne Convention Last year CIAGP, which represents visual arts copyright collectives internationally, passed a motion calling on and , when she was still Minister of Canadian Heritage, to adopt the artist's resale right and to support the adoption of a universal treaty at WIPO.
We urge you to join an international community that supports artists by adopting the artist's resale right.
I should note that in 2011, this committee was supportive of our efforts in this regard and encouraged us to pursue enactment of the artist's resale right through a private member's bill, which we attempted to do in 2013 but ultimately were not successful.
Thank you for your time. I'll be happy to try to answer any questions you have later.
Thank you for the invitation to come and speak.
My name is Robin Sokoloski. I'm the executive director of Playwrights Guild of Canada, an organization that for 46 years has worked to protect and promote playwrights. As someone who has worked for the last 10 years at Playwrights Guild of Canada, I know how challenging it is to both protect the work of Canadian artistic creators and ensure that the work of our artists is made accessible.
I appreciate your investment of time and consideration on the complexity of copyright, especially within this rapidly changing landscape.
I'm here today to provide insight on how artistic content, from the perspective of my members—over 900 Canadian playwrights—is impacted by what is currently in place in our copyright legislation. I'll do what my members do best, and start with a story.
About a year ago, one of Playwrights Guild of Canada's most prominent members, David Craig, was invited into a classroom to discuss his work. David writes plays specifically for young audiences, a genre of theatre that, when skilfully crafted, can create an enormous amount of positive change within a young person, amongst those characteristics being a greater sense of empathy and respect for others. You can imagine David's dismay when he walked into that classroom to see each student with a photocopy of his entire play in front of them, a play that is published by a Canadian publisher, Playwrights Canada Press, and a play that we at Playwrights Guild of Canada received government funding for to make sure it is readily available to the public.
I share this example with you today to articulate, as clearly as I can, the inefficiencies that have erupted given the ambiguity contained with our current Copyright Act, namely, the uncertainty revolving around one word, education.
Education was not defined when it was added as a purpose for fair dealing under the Copyright Modernization Act. This led to the education sector unilaterally adopting their own copyright guidelines. These copying guidelines were recently ruled as unfair, in both their terms and their application, by the Federal Court of Canada. However, the copying practices of the education sector clearly continue to persist. I know you are all well aware of these accounts, but what it means to Canadian playwrights is this. Since 2011, Playwrights Canada Press, the publisher of this book, has seen a decrease in revenue that it receives from Access Copyright of 86%. That's $28,000 in 2012 to $4,000 in 2017. This is a revenue source that is utilized to publish more Canadian plays.
Individually, my members have reported to me that a drop in income from book royalties has been catastrophic, an 85% reduction over five years, resulting in a loss of income of thousands of dollars. These real-life examples speak to the numbers you've been hearing repeatedly, such as the 600-million pages of copyright-protected content that is being copied for free each year by the education sector. This number does not include content licence through academic libraries or made available under open access licences. The 600-million pages that you keep hearing about resemble the pages in this book.
We all need to do our best possible job in educating the public on the value of the arts and our artists in this country. At Playwrights Guild of Canada, we administer amateur rights licences to schools that wish to perform our members' plays on their stages. We are finding more and more that we are having to chase down schools that have neglected to seek permission in advance of production. As soon as this is drawn to their attention, schools fulfill contracts retroactively without any difficulty. This is because copyright law gives Playwrights Guild of Canada the ability to ensure its members are paid for the use of their work.
However, I bring this to your attention, as copyright is clearly slipping from the forefront of people's minds when utilizing the intellectual property of others. There are a number of things that need to be done to generate a thriving environment for both artists and students in this country, many which I feel obligated, as the executive director of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, to see through. There are some recommendations—just two—that I bring forward to you to assist in fostering a healthier environment in which to create and learn.
First, Playwrights Guild of Canada believes the education category of fair dealing should be removed from the Copyright Act. Leaving this word up for interpretation has led to misuse. The trial judge on the York decision concluded that there is clear evidence that free copying under the education sector's copying policy substituted for the sale of works. Despite the ruling of the court, the behaviour of the education sector remains unchanged. There is simply no justification for treating Canada's artists as uncompensated suppliers. Removing this word “education” saves all parties involved from what seems like the endless litigation that is currently taking place.
Our second recommendation would be to promote the return of licensing through collective management organizations such as Access Copyright.
As I'm sure you've been made aware, after the act was amended in 2012, the education sector throughout Canada, with the exception of Quebec, abandoned collective licences and stopped paying mandatory tariffs. To put it plainly, as a national organization, my members' work continues to be licensed by the education sector in Quebec, while members' work in the rest of Canada is almost completely unlicensed.
Creating a solution that provides simple, inexpensive access to copyright-protected works while fairly compensating artists already exists in collectives such as Access Copyright. This solution can easily be promoted by you by harmonizing the statutory damages available to collectives.
Right now, only two copyright collectives, SOCAN and Re:Sound, can seek statutory damages between three times to 10 times the value of the tariff. Collectives such as Access Copyright, which is the collective that is set up to distribute royalties to my members, can now only collect the price of the tariff.
Making this change will have a huge impact, as it will deter infringement, encourage settlement and increase judicial efficiencies by reducing the endless litigation that I previously mentioned.
The measurement of good policy is the well-being of the community. The divisiveness that has been augmented by the changes made to the Copyright Act in 2012 does not make for a healthy community to work, live and learn in. The recommendations that I bring forward to you today are a win-win for both the artistic creators in this country and the students they inspire.
Mr. Chair, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for inviting us to be part of your review of the Copyright Act.
My name is Elisabeth Schlittler. I am the General Delegate for Canada with the Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques or SACD, and for the Civil Society of Multimedia Authors. You may howl with laughter at the acronym in French, which is SCAM. But since I have been saying and writing SCAM for 30 years, I am going to continue to do so. Joining me today is Patrick Lowe, a scriptwriter and a member of the authors' committee.
SACD and SCAM have had offices in Montreal for more than 30 years. The two associations manage the rights of their members, in Canada and abroad, over a vast repertoire of dramatic and documentary works, hence the two associations. The member authors have given them the mandate to negotiate, collect and distribute the royalties paid by the users of works from their audiovisual, radio and stage repertoires. They are both collective societies within the meaning of the Copyright Act.
SACD members create dramatic works; they are scriptwriters and directors. We also represent playwrights, choreographers, composers and stage directors.
SCAM represents the scriptwriters and directors of documentaries.
Together, SACD and SCAM represent more than 2,000 Canadian authors, both francophone and anglophone. They are the screenwriters and directors of television series, feature films, animations, shorts, online and radio series, together with playwrights and choreographers.
By becoming members of SACD or SCAM, these authors bring us their right to communicate their works to the public via telecommunications. For example, SACD's film repertoire includes features like Denys Arcand's The Fall of the American Empire and series like Luc Dionne's District 31. SCAM's repertoire is made of documentaries like Benoît Pilon's Roger Toupin, épicier variété and Pascal Gélinas' Un pont entre deux mondes.
In addition to the income it provides from royalties, SACD-SCAM negotiates on their behalf the conditions of the licences it will provide to television networks and digital platforms in order to use our repertoires.
In Canada, SACD-SCAM has negotiated licences for six traditional networks, 20 specialty channels, one pay-per-view channel, five digital platforms, one radio network, and an agreement for cable rights.
Because of the contracts that SACD-SCAM has negotiated with television networks in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Monaco, with digital platforms like YouTube and Netflix, and because of its agreements with authors' associations in countries like Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Poland, our members are assured of receiving the royalties they are due for the use of their works in those countries.
SACD-SCAM's principle governing remuneration, specifically in the French-speaking countries of Europe, and also in Quebec, is very simple: authors must be associated with the entire duration of their works' economic life and they must be compensated for all the ways in which the work is used.
As a result, collective rights management continues to be essential, particularly in the digital age. The current review of the Copyright Act should encourage both the creation of works and fair compensation for authors, by providing collective societies with more appropriate tools.
It is time to counteract the effect of the many exceptions adopted in 2012 and to recall that the act is supposed to protect authors.
The government must put a stop to the theft of the intellectual assets that stem from the authors' work. It must send a clear message that all work must be paid for and that not everything can be obtained for free.
You will find our recommendations in detail in the brief we submitted in May. Here is a brief overview.
First, we recommend that the legal uncertainties surrounding the issue of the ownership of rights for cinematic works—actually, audiovisual works in general—be clarified. In our view, we need a specific acknowledgement that this is a collaboration between a number of co-authors, and a presumption of ownership on the part of scriptwriters and directors. That clarification will allow us to negotiate with Canadian networks and platforms for compensation on behalf of our member directors, who have been deprived of it up to now.
Like the majority of countries with a private copying system, we recommend that the private copying system in Canada be extended to audiovisual works and that it apply to all media that consumers use to reproduce them. Extending the system to audiovisual work would correct a situation that is impossible to justify, both to the authors and to our sister societies with whom we have agreements based on reciprocity.
Like the European Parliament, we recommend that all digital intermediaries contribute to the funding of cultural content, since they profit by streaming it, or providing access to it, for their subscribers.
We applaud the initiative by the to find tax solutions for e-commerce. But we are asking that all the taxes paid by national companies also be paid by foreign companies, and a part of the money raised be set aside to fund Canadian culture.
Finally, we are delighted that, in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Canada is at last committed to extending copyright in Canada to 70 years. This reflects the extended use of the works and it harmonizes Canadian legislation with modern legislation abroad.
On behalf of the members of SACD-SCAM, we thank you for your attention. We are ready to answer your questions.
I'd like to start off with Ms. Cornell. You started off by saying that you're going to focus on the music component of dance and not so much on the choreography component.
I want to help you increase the word count of choreography in the act, so I'm going to focus on that part of it.
I'm not aware of the Beyoncé example. I'm going to use an example from September 2018, a Forbes article that focused on video games and Epic video games. I will just quote the article:
||According to Chance the Rapper, one of the first artists to speak on the issue, Fortnite
—which uses dances in its video games—
||is unfairly profiting off of already named and recognizable dances without giving credit or compensation to creators. “Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes,” he stated.... “Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them.”
Of course, as many of us know, “Epic Games [made] over $1 billion...from Fortnite since [it went online] in September of last year.” It's free to play, so they make most of their money through these emotes, which I'm sure my son knows about, but I don't quite know what they are.
You spoke about the definition being dated. How would we update the definition of “choreography” to fit this digital context, the Beyoncé example, and how would you amend or change the Copyright Act to correct what I've just described for dancers and choreographers, particularly in the digital context?
I'd like to thank all of our witnesses for being here today and specifically for sharing some of their viewpoints.
Ms. Cornell, I want to thank you for your analysis. I actually used to run a martial arts school, and next door was a ballet school. You commented on tariffs and the lack of representation. I do think having representation in the discussion around tariff 6.B is necessary, because the model that ballet schools operate under is much different from that offered by a commercial gym, particularly if you look at one like GoodLife Fitness, just with regard to the scale of differences and how they deal with things. Your points are very well taken on that.
With regard to choreography, I do realize there's a very valid point when you have an artist like Beyoncé, and work is being utilized without the artist being given due credit. Of course, that does come out in the wash so to speak, because with the Internet now we can analyze something and judge for ourselves.
As someone with a martial arts background, I know that martial arts instructors are very keen to commercialize where they can. We're taking ancient disciplines, repackaging them, and then calling them our own. There's some copyright that's available in terms of trademarks and whatnot to ensure that someone can market their so-called new discipline in a new way, but by the same token, you're taking movements that have been around for thousands of years. How do you repackage and repurpose, and then claim royalties on them? We've seen in martial arts how now people from right across the world can compare different techniques. If we started allowing people to copyright movements for dance routines, I'm pretty sure we would soon see people starting to claim copyright for their own martial art disciplines. What do you have to say in regard to that concern?
—because again, it's the human body. It's art in the moment, and I don't think anyone should be able to say that movement is mine, or that series of movements is mine, because that's basically martial arts, to a large extent.
We've heard some testimony that groups of artists would like extensions of copyright for works used in films and movies. Sound recordings that are used in those properties have repeat broadcasts and require repeat royalties. That's what some people have said.
Right now, for sound recordings, they're paid once for the actual work, and then, if it's rebroadcast in a movie theatre or streamed on a platform, that's separate.
A representative of the Movie Theatre Association, who was opposed to that, warned this could extend to dance performances, as well. He said that, currently, a producer pays a fee up front, and the choreographer is not permitted to exercise remuneration when the work is incorporated into a film. In essence, once the creators sell that work for a film, they're not entitled to more royalties later.
Would your association support changes to the law to require royalties to be paid to choreographers when that work is broadcast?
I guess that works in that specific case.
However, what we've heard from many witnesses is that in their space, where they're operating outside of Quebec, in some cases they may write into the contract between the company and the person who is producing the work, whether it be a choreographer or a sound producer, for them to be paid.
Again, we're talking about the status quo right across the country. That's why I'm asking that, if we make it mandatory every time something is streamed on a platform like Netflix or CraveTV, there is going to be an extra cost, that may make a decision for future work to not be done in Canada. Those are questions that I have as well, because then we don't have an ecosystem where people can find work.
I appreciate that there seems to be a different way of doing it in Quebec, but we're talking about right now, right across the country.
I play Fortnite, so I'm familiar with emotes, on that and other games. It's an interesting thing that's emerged.
If you're not familiar with emotes, they usually take two to five seconds, depending upon which game you're playing. However, they're not usually germane to the game. They're part of an expression component, which people use to play online among themselves, often in standby rooms or in waiting period times before the game; or, it's activity to express yourself during the gameplay. It's not only Fortnite there are hundreds of games that have emotes.
The question that I have is, where is the line drawn for any of these things? They are purchasable, but often it's game credits. With some of those game credits—and we ran into a problem to some degree and it was cleaned up by Battlefront—it almost became like a lottery. It was criticized for loot boxes, and other things like that, when you purchase upgrades for weaponry, for costumes, for emotes.
Do you have any idea as to where the line would be drawn on that and how the compensation would take place? Again, you don't have to spend money to get emotes. You can play the game and you get online credit currencies for that.
How would you compensate for that? If it is a three- to five-second thing that's also done in the social context of using the game—not the gameplay itself—how do you restrict that? In a virtual world, in these rooms and elements where the emotes are used most prolifically, it's the same as if we were in the room here and you did a thumbs-up.
There are everything from dance moves that go back to cultural expressions, whether it be Slavic or Russian and other types of eastern European kicking out your feet type of things, to skateboarding things that came about in the heyday of Tony Hawk and the types of moves they did with regard to the emergence of that culture.
How do you quantify these, and would you distinguish the difference between using them, again in a virtual setting, before the game, which is when you're communicating and you're part of that culture where you know that all your expressions are monitored and shared? That would be no different from the real world.
I want to talk about the whole issue of textbooks, Madam Sokoloski. It is clear that there has been a precipitous drop-off in educational publishing revenues, both from the evidence I've read in witness testimony heard by this committee and from research our analysts have done. It's pretty shocking how much the educational publishing sector has been affected by the 2012 copyright law. You mentioned 600 million pages being copied without remuneration for authors. There has been the court decision with York University that still has to be put into effect. You combine all those things and it paints a clear picture that the 2012 changes that included education under fair dealing have had a profound impact on the industry.
Your recommendations and those of other witnesses are clear: Remove education from the fair-dealing provisions in the law.
I want to dig a little deeper into what's going on. I was shocked to find out that our local school board no longer purchases textbooks for high schools. I was completely floored. I don't know how you go through high school without a textbook. I have three young children in school. In primary school they received handouts, and they end up at home at the bottom of their backpacks combined with the dribbles of drink boxes, running shoes, sweaty gym clothes and all that stuff. Trying to make sense of it all sometimes is frustrating.
I went through school with textbooks and those were the core of how I learned, so I was astounded—apparently it's not restricted to our local school board. It's many school boards across the province that no longer purchase textbooks. Then I come to this committee and find out about including education under fair dealing and about the precipitous decline. I have been thinking about this for a number of weeks.
Are the secondary and post-secondary sectors not purchasing textbooks because of the costs, or is this a new fad they are embarking on? Obviously the loophole or the change to the 2012 law allowed them—and their interpretation thereof allowed them—to not purchase as many textbooks as they did prior to the 2012 change. Setting aside that change in law, what is driving this precipitous decline in the purchasing of textbooks in high schools and universities? Is it to reduce costs for students and the system, or is it because of a fad that we don't need textbooks and we'll just assembly multimedia online materials and that's how we'll educate students?
Mr. Longfield began to ask a question that I was going to ask about first nation dances, as we pursue how we deal with first nations' copyright. We haven't done a good job of it in the past. We're trying to wrap our heads around it. We know that there were some examples of various groups that are more susceptible to issues and one of them would be the first nations.
If you think about, back in the black and white TV days, there were a lot of first nations dances being used in various westerns. There would have been absolutely no compensation or permission asked for it, as well.
I appreciate your comments as we delve into that. We do have some really good dance people, as well. Richard Kim in Sault Ste. Marie is world renowned and Tanya Kim is his sister. There are a lot of other artists.
We talked about different forms of technology that have been thrust upon us in different situations. We were discussing the photocopier before it could be utilized in a way to photocopy entire volumes of works. That used to be a new technology for a grey-haired guy like me. It was never possible before. We saw a lot of that happening in the past. I think there are more policies, items and laws associated with that nowadays.
There are new technologies, like Spotify, Google, a number of other Apple products and whatnot. Could you describe how they have affected your organizations? Is it better now or is it worse compensation for your particular group?
Does anyone want to start?
Thank you to our witnesses.
I'm still stuck on emotes. I'm thinking of copyrighting for question period the facepalm, rolling eyes and righteous indignation. I think I could make a lot of money with those copyrights if I could.
I'm concerned about the timelines the committee has with regard to us issuing a report, it getting to the minister, the minister getting back to us, and then a potential suggested change of legislation, as you've mentioned, which would require another process, and then it would have to go to the Senate.
Maybe quickly with the minute you have left, can you tell us if there is anything in between to be done? For example, the Copyright Board has been one of those things. What's low-hanging fruit to get at right away, that wouldn't take a year plus, something that we could get done?
I think the motion's extremely reasonable and very fair. First of all, I can clear up a couple of things that Mr. Longfield mentioned. I was in Washington the day the tentative deal was done. I was asked , for the Canada-U.S. parliamentary association, to be there with Mr. MacDonald as part of a bipartisan group, the Canada delegation for the Border Trade Alliance meetings. It was an interesting time to be there.
The U.S. decided to table its text immediately. It usually has 30 days to table its text, to clean it up, and that's why some of the text had some errors in it, where Mexico and Canada were reversed a bit and so forth, but they did that so they could get into their public discussions, and that's what's going to go before Congress.
That's what's in the process right now, but that's separate and independent from us. Nothing can change in that process for the final deal. They will present reports to Congress and the Senate will look at it too, but nothing can change at all about the deal. The deal is exactly how it's been tabled in the U.S. There can be some amendments to some grammar and so forth, but nothing changes to the substance of it whatsoever.
Even with all the hearings that are happening—you saw most recently the Governor of Kentucky expressing some concern—those are so they get feedback from the public so that Congress members have an understanding when they vote. That's the vetting that they have for it. I would say that what we would do here would be similar to that. Their parliamentary process for vetting is that different committees will come back to Congress, whereas for us the minister comes forward. Having a meeting on that certainly would be helpful because it would also eliminate some of the confusion around some of the clauses that we have to decide upon in Parliament.
I would think this is a very reasonable approach. I think it's almost unreasonable for us to continue the study without having this discussion. It gets to the point where we are reporting on something where the rules have already changed without us even having a commentary about that. It would be, quite frankly, absurd for us to pretend that we just are going to spend a year and a half and all this public money and time on a study about something that our number one trading partner...and our relationship is so germane. Even before this we've had testimony here from people talking about what the U.S. law is and the consequences to Canadian artists, cultural industries and so forth, whether we get a deal or not. And then the deal itself may not go through this particular Congress. We don't know.
What we do know right now is that we're being asked to do a report based upon the things that are in front of us, and one of them is now this potential deal between Canada and the United States. I think it's reasonable to have a meeting with the minister to get a lay of the land and have our report have a bit of commentary on that.
If we're going to have some commentary on it, I'd rather include the minister and I think it would probably provide a great opportunity for some of those questions to be clarified.
I know this doesn't include, for example, automotive but because we're doing this study it's very germane. I think that's why it gives it a little more merit in terms of their seeming to be so concerned about the politics behind this. I think we should have a separate meeting for automotive on it. I've gone through it and I've had trade lawyers go through it and there's a whole list of qualifiers in the automotive, which is very complex. But that doesn't have anything to do with what we're having right now. We're not doing an automotive study right now. We are doing the copyright review, and we just entered into an agreement that's going to change that. I think it would be a great opportunity for that to be part of what we submit. Sorry to go on, but I think it is important.
We're going to submit something to the minister but he's going to then have to respond and get something back to us and maybe do something before the Parliament ends. The timeline is constrained on that, so I think having that element as part of it would be most beneficial.
Having it without it, I assume would be odd. I think it would be the first thing that somebody would say. How did you actually do all this and then pretend that the United States deal didn't happen? It's worse than ignoring the elephant in the room. It's basically the elephant dies in the room and you walk over it and through it and it sits in the room and rots. Meanwhile, you have a deal going on. You keep talking. You keep going forward, and the stink gets worse.
I think one meeting would be great and that's enough.