Submission to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
Copyright is a key pillar of the creative economy and an essential policy tool. It upholds the intellectual property rights of publishers and creators, while allowing all Canadians ready access to the content they rely on for work, entertainment, and education. As creative partners in new works, independent publishers invest financial and human resources in thousands of new books each year. Some are purpose-built educational texts that address provincial curricula or post-secondary course material, while others are trade, scholarly, children’s, and literary works that are included on reading lists or copied and distributed for instructional use. A functioning marketplace supports the continued creation of these valuable works; a broken marketplace undercuts the cultural, artistic, educational, and economic contributions of this vibrant sector.
We recognize that the way students and educators access and consume content continues to evolve in a digital environment, and Canadian publishers respond with a variety of print and digital formats. Print books and paper copies are still widely used in schools and on campuses, as are digital copies of both print and digital books. In aggregate, Canadian K-12 and post-secondary institutions copy 600 million pages annually without payment. This copying provides educators and students with flexible, valuable resources that support curriculum delivery and propel academic achievement, often serving as a substitute for finished books—with no compensation to copyright holders. This arbitrary appropriation has broken our marketplace. Publishers cannot continue to produce educational materials for free.