The CDCE urges that a Bill to amend the Copyright Act be introduced in in the Fall of 2023 to help restore a balance for cultural ecosystems. The CDCE members prioritize six recommendations that must be addressed in the Fall, but also wants to remind that six other recommendations should be considered in the mid-term.
The Covid-19 Pandemic highlighted the fragile situation of cultural industries and the precarious condition of artists, creators and workers in the sector, while accelerating the move to digital. The cultural sector has been shaken by the growing access to cultural expressions via the Internet during the 2010’s and then by the revision of the Copyright Act in 2012, which added several exceptions that do not meet Canada’s international obligations.
The market for rights was already broken by digital; it is now collapsing.
The recent conclusion of the Supreme Court of Canada in the dispute between Access Copyright and York University seriously undermines the ability of creators to assert their rights and receive fair compensation for the use of their works. The government must amend the Act, as a matter of urgency, to reaffirm its commitment to ensure fair remuneration for rights holders. We consider that no consultation is necessary before a Bill is tabled.
Beyond jobs and the contribution of culture to our economy, it is the vitality of the sector and the diversity of cultural expressions that is at stake. Meanwhile, companies providing access to cultural expressions online have made unprecedented profits. They have the means to better remunerate rights holders for the value they derive from the content protected by copyright.
As detailed in the following pages, we can assess the impact of our most urgent recommendations to amend the Act to more than $175 million in annual recurring revenues, paid by companies for the use of content that could be returned annually to the cultural ecosystems and the Canadian economy. At a time when public finances are already under pressure, the revision of the Act presents itself as a fair and relevant market-based solution to contribute to the creation of rich, innovative and diverse cultural expressions.