January 15, 2024

The book industry speaks out on artificial intelligence and copyright

As part of the ongoing public consultation on generative artificial intelligence and copyright, book industry associations are reminding the Canadian government of the crucial importance of regulating the responsible development of artificial intelligence and ensuring effective copyright protection.

The book industry and the entire cultural community emphasize that transparency is essential to the development of a fair and safe AI ecosystem. Otherwise, generative AI models will continue to develop in an opaque, unfair, and undemocratic manner, without respecting the rights of creators. They also stress that copyright is an exclusive right of human creators. Existing copyright legislation protects human creativity and originality, by virtue of requiring the exercise of skill and judgment to obtain copyright in a work. This should not be changed to grant copyright protection to AI generated products or to allow copyrighted works to train models without permission.

Beyond AI: a law that needs reform

For the book industry, Canada needs to move quickly to close existing loopholes in its legislation so that it stops unfairly depriving rights holders of legitimate revenues from the use of works in certain educational institutions. This priority is supported by the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and by the international book federations, all of which are outraged that Canada is not meeting its international obligations to authors.

Following another report  from the House of Commons also supporting this priority, the book industry is still waiting for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, to honour their commitment to amend the Copyright Act so that authors and publishers can receive their fair share of the use of their published works.

Some briefs submitted to the Canadian consultation on AI and copyright are available upon request.

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Sources: Access Copyright, Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL), Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP), Association of English Language Publishers of Quebec (AELAQ), Canadian Authors Association (CAA), Canadian Publishers’ Council (CPC), Copibec , Literary Press Group of Canada (LPG), Regroupement des éditeurs franco-canadiens , Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ), The Writers’ Union of Canada

For more information, contact:
Jack Illingworth, Executive Director
Association of Canadian Publishers