Canadians Are Using The Power Of Hashtags On Twitter To Change The Copyright Act

Recently on Twitter, there have been a few trending hashtags across Canada with regards to copyright. Canadians have tweeted the hashtags #copyright and #IValueCdnStories with regards to their concerns and support for Canadian creator and publishers. This trend is to highlight the concern of publishers and creator during the Copyright Act Review. The main concern revolved around education sectors copying material for part of their curriculum for free.

Here is the following scenario to describe the changes being asked for with regards to the Copyright Act, using fictional characters, which is written by I Value Canadian Stories.

There is a Canadian writer, Sam, and a teacher, Pat. Sam is a passionate writer and works hard for his final work. It takes Sam approximately 130 hours to write a single chapter for one of his books that he is writing. Pat is also a hard-working professional, utilizing his free time on weekend and weeknights to plan lessons. Pat comes across Sam’s work and is intrigued as to how much his student respond to Sam’s writing style and stories. To continue his student’s interest, Pat photocopied a chapter from Sam’s book and included it in his lessons for his students. The education sector allows Pat to be able to do so.

Institutions used to pay a set licence fee to be able to utilize works from authors to include in their classrooms. When the copyright laws were amended in 2012, educational institutions were permitted to use short excerpts of copyrighted works without paying a royalty. Is an entire chapter considered a short excerpt? The answer to that is dependent upon a number of specific factors. Some institutions may argue that they are only using a portion of a book, and not the entire book, and there would essentially be insufficient damage to the author or use to warrant a payment. However, the number of times that a work subject to copyright is used in this situation can be substantial if the work is copied in many classrooms throughout the country. It is estimated that every year approximately 600 million pages are copied for free, under the education sectors copying policies. On average in Canada, writers make approximately $13,000.

The recent trend that has exploded on social media is due to an upcoming meeting being held in Ottawa at the end of January to review the current Copyright Act. You can find the petition by clicking here to support or learn more about the cause.

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