New Canadian bill stirs up publishers

The Canadian education system is in a period of uncertainty as a new bill in Congress has just been passed down from its second reading to a panel committee for review. Much controversy is being discussed not only in Parliament Hill but in most academic institutions as well as business offices which are currently standing in the direct path of the bill’s impending effects. The bill, which seeks to legalize the use of copyrighted materials for academic purpose without the copyright holder’s permission, is causing a huge air of speculation amongst authors and their respective publishers.

The bill mainly will include the use of educational material without the copyright holder’s permission to existing laws that govern fair dealing. Currently, the law allows the use of materials for the sole purpose of research, individual learning, criticism, news reporting and review. The new bill, if enacted into a law, shall also include satires and parodies. Already debates have been sparked across the country between school officials, publishers, government officials, authors, students and professors. A lot of critics are calling on the bill’s vagueness, arguing that it will eventually lead to unjust proliferation of materials seeking the defense of justified learning.

Nevertheless, well-known industry critic Marc Garneau predicts the bill shall be passed as early as the first half of 2011. The Liberal legislative member says he hopes that the passing of the new bill will end up equally “displeasing” stakeholders. As of current, Canadian schools are spending on the photocopy of 10 billion or more pages each year, a small percentage of which contains copyrighted material.