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Coalition seeks meeting with federal ministers on copyright

A group of organizations within the book industry is calling on Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge and Innovation, Science, and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne for an “urgent meeting” to review the Copyright Act.

The request, issued on November 30, follows the release last week of a report by the Standing Committee on Science and Research after their study of support for the commercialization of intellectual property. Among the report‘s 14 recommendations is that the government review the Copyright Act — something those in the industry have been calling for for years.

The request for a meeting has been made by a group that includes Access Copyright, the Association of Canadian Publishers, the Canadian Publishers’ Council, the Literary Press Group of Canada, and the Writers’ Union of Canada.

“It is high time to close the gaps in the law and protect the future of Canadian literature,” the coalition says in a release.

In August, when St-Onge first took on the Canadian Heritage portfolio, a larger coalition called on the new minister to amend the Copyright Act to ensure that educational copying is licensed.

The groups have been petitioning for amendments to the Act for a decade, since an undefined education category was added to the Act under fair dealing. In the 2022 budget, the government promised to extend copyright protection from 50 to 70 years after the death of an author, and it also noted the government’s commitment “to ensuring that the Copyright Act protects all creators and copyright holders.”