Preservation of existing book importation regime keeps prices high,
hurting Canadian students.
CALGARY, Sept. 30, 2011 /CNW/ - Today, Canada's campus bookstores are
pleased to see the reintroduction of C-11, The Copyright Modernization Act. Technology has dramatically changed how Canadians, particularly
students, use materials in the years since The Copyright Act was last substantially modified. It is good news that the government is
committed to bringing the legal regime in line with how materials are
"This bill takes a step in the right direction by striving for
technological neutrality and including a specific fair-dealing
exemption for education," said Campus Stores Canada Executive Director
Wayne Amundson. "Fair-dealing is an important academic right, and
ensures that students and researchers are able to use the material that
they need without worrying about violating copyright."
Campus Stores Canada is concerned, however, that C-11's absolute
protection of so-called "digital locks" undermines these steps forward.
While it is important that rights holders be able to protect their
intellectual property, it is important that such protections not unduly
hinder user rights or limit creativity. A better balance can be struck
by allowing for the circumvention of digital locks for non-infringing
"As just one example, every year thousands of international students
study on Canadian campuses, and thousands of Canadian students at
international campuses. Digital locks may prevent legally purchased
material from working in all jurisdictions," noted Amundson. "With an
absolute protection for such locks, students will be forced to pay
twice for the same material or break the law. Give and take is needed."
C-11 also missed an opportunity to reduce the cost of post-secondary
learning materials. Since 1998, the Copyright Act has allowed publishers to establish Canadian import monopolies on books
by authors from around the world. These exclusive distributors can in
turn add an additional 10 or 15% to the price of a book. If
distributors do not charge more than this, the Copyright Act makes it a violation for individual bookstores to purchase from foreign
distributors. Campus Stores Canada considers this 10 or 15% surcharge
to be a "private tax," collected from the pockets of Canadian consumers
and kept in the bank accounts of publishers.
"Over the past decade, this private tax has seen millions of dollars
taken from the wallets of Canadians, particularly students," said
Amundson. "By amending the Act to kill this tax, textbook prices could be reduced by as much as 15%, virtually
overnight. Without, Canadian students will, with little accountability
as to where this money goes, continue to overpay millions of dollars
more in the coming decade."
"C-11 is complicated legislation, and there will no doubt be important
discussion amongst Canadians looking to find a balance between
interests," said Amundson. "It is important that in this conversation
the government not lose sight of a straight-forward, non-controversial
change that will dramatically lower price differential on books between
Canada and the United States and elsewhere. This would provide a real
and measurable financial benefit to all Canadians, but particularly
students. We look forward to working with government and opposition MPs
as the bill is debated."
Campus Stores Canada is the national trade association dedicated to
providing a unified voice for Canadian post-secondary, institutionally
owned and operated Campus stores, and by doing so enabling them to
serve their institutions in the most effective manner. Campus Stores
Canada has almost 100 member stores nationwide and almost 120 vendor
and supplier associates. This means that if you know one of Canada's
million post-secondary students, you probably know someone that is
served by Campus Stores Canada.
SOURCE Campus Stores Canada
For further information:
Campus Stores Canada Public Relations
613-233-8906 (office) ; 613-797-7313 (cell)