Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for inviting the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada to take part in this study by the committee on Bill C-32.
My name is Paul Davidson, President and CEO of the association. Steve Wills, our manager of Legal Affairs, is with me today.
The association represents 95 public and private not-for-profit universities and colleges across Canada.
Let me be very clear: AUCC supports Bill C-32 as a fair and reasonable balance between the rights of copyright owners and users of copyright works. We urge this committee to complete its work and report back to the House. As everyone knows, this is the third effort in recent years to modernize the legislation, and it's important that the work be completed in this session.
Universities really appreciate the need for balance. Universities create intellectual property, universities use intellectual property, and universities sell intellectual property. Within universities you have faculty as researchers and teachers, students as learners, librarians, booksellers, and publishers.
Of all the groups that are appearing before you, and the many more that want to appear before you, I think our organization understands keenly the need for balance in the legislation.
Universities in all regions of the country, both large and small, focusing on research or on undergraduate teaching, strongly recommend that the committee make minor amendments to Bill C-32 and then refer it back to the House of Commons so that it can be voted upon as soon as possible.
We believe the bill could be strengthened by reasonable and fair amendments to certain of its provisions, which are detailed in AUCC's submission. Rather than review the written submission we provided, which is with you today—there is also a one-page summary—I want to take a moment to dispel some of the myths that have been propagated by some of the witnesses who have appeared before this committee.
In particular, it has been suggested that the education community does not want to pay for educational materials and that Bill C-32, especially the addition of education as a new fair dealing purpose, will undermine the publishing industry in Canada and decimate the revenues of copyright collectives such as Access Copyright. Another claim says the education community does not wish to compensate creators who produce educational materials. These claims are false and are not supported by the facts.
Canadian university libraries spend more than $300 million annually to buy and license new content for research and learning. In addition, Campus Stores Canada, which represents post-secondary institution-owned bookstores across Canada, estimates that over $400 million is spent every year in university bookstores to buy new textbooks, course packs, and some works in digital format.
It is clear that universities and university students are paying very large amounts annually to purchase and license educational materials. Their spending provides tremendous support to Canadian creators, and nothing in Bill C-32 will cause this spending to decline.
Some have also claimed that Bill C-32 will undermine publishing in Canada and destroy the revenues of copyright collectives. For example, in its testimony before this committee on December 6, Access Copyright claimed that both it and the Quebec reprography collective Copibec will be at risk of losing $40 million in revenue as a result of the amended scope of fair dealing in the education sector, as well as other education-related exemptions provided for in the bill.
This assertion is groundless. Two years ago the Copyright Board of Canada clearly defined fair dealing as it relates to educational copying. Teachers in K-to-12 schools made copies of required readings for each of their students, and the copying in question amounted to an average of only several pages per month per student. The Copyright Board found that the copying by teachers failed to meet the fairness factors laid out by the Supreme Court of Canada. Had Bill C-32 been passed before this decision, the availability of education as a fair dealing purpose would have had no effect on the outcome, because the ruling was based on fairness tests, not on the purpose of the copying.
In other words, the Copyright Board ruling created a strict precedent that severely limits the fair dealing copying for educational purposes. If copying several pages per month for each student in a class is not fair dealing, then surely it is unreasonable to suggest that the legislation would permit the multiple copying under fair dealing of complete journals and journal articles and chapters from books that accounts for most of the licence revenue received by Access Copyright and Copibec from universities and students. Simply put, the proposed amendments to fair dealing would not undermine the sale of books, especially textbooks, or the revenue base of copyright collectives.
Let's take a brief look at our neighbours to the south, who have a fair use exception that is far broader in scope than what is proposed in this bill. The U.S. fair use exception explicitly permits the making of multiple copies for a work of classroom use. Despite this broad fair use provision, the educational publishing industry in the U.S. continues to thrive. Last July the Association of American Publishers noted that higher-education publishing sales increased 6.3% for the month and 21.4% for the year.
Our submission recommends some modest amendments that do not alter the essential balance that has been struck in Bill C-32, and addresses some of the concerns raised by other stakeholders.
I'd like to thank the committee for the opportunity to present these views before you, and I welcome any questions you might have.