Copyright Legislation Misses Opportunities to Save Students Money

Preservation of existing book importation regime keeps prices high, hurting Canadian students.

CALGARY, June 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, Canada's campus bookstores lamented that amendments proposed to the Copyright Act did not include changes to book importation regulations that would reduce costs to students. Legislation amending the Copyright Act, Bill C-32, was introduced in the House of Commons yesterday by Industry Minister Tony Clement and Heritage Minister James Moore.

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. Provided that distributors do not charge more than this, the Copyright Act makes it a violation for individual bookstores to purchase from foreign distributors, a process known as "parallel importation." Campus Stores Canada considers this 10 or 15% surcharge to be a "private tariff," collected from the pockets of Canadian consumers and kept in the bank accounts of publishers.

"Because of the private tariff, over the past decade, millions of dollars have been taken from the wallets of Canadians, particularly students," said Campus Stores Canada Executive Director Wayne Amundson. "Rather than see the cost of textbooks reduced by as much as 15% overnight, this act will ensure that Canadian students will, with little accountability as to where this money goes, continue to overpay millions of dollars more in the coming decade."

A number of organizations have called for the removal of this tariff, including campus and traditional booksellers, as well as student groups. Recently, in a masthead editorial, the Globe and Mail also advocated for its removal.

"C-32 is complicated legislation with many aspects that will no doubt generate 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 provides a real and measurable financial benefit to all Canadians, but particularly students. We look forward to working with government and opposition MPs to this end as the bill is debated and amended."

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: For further information: Michael Powell, Campus Stores Canada Public Relations, W: (613) 230-9676, C: (613) 797-7313, E: mike@impactcanada

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