This past year was an exciting one for authors and their publishers. More than ever before, our community took action to defend our rights while the House of Commons was reviewing the Copyright Act.
It was also an interesting year for copyright owners, who were able to enjoy all the benefits of collective licensing not only because of the various repertoire (lump sum) payments but also because of two new major partnerships for Copibec.
A year of mobilization
As the year began, authors and publishers realized that the time had come to take action. If our community remains apathetic, elected officials in Ottawa will not be motivated to limit the many exceptions in the Copyright Act.
Hundreds of authors and publishers wrote to their local Members of Parliament and the ministers responsible for reviewing the Copyright Act: the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. The large volume of emails calling for changes to the Copyright Act did not go unnoticed.
In March and April, that initiative was followed by mobilization efforts at the book fairs in Trois-Rivières and Quebec City, where authors and their publishers handed out bookmarks and wore badges to raise awareness about this issue.
On April 23, which was World Book and Copyright Day, our community continued its efforts by playing an active role in the campaign A Life Without Art? Really?. Close to 12,000 people have signed the petition demanding that the Copyright Act be overhauled so it actually protects creators.
The collective efforts undertaken earlier in the year culminated with a strong show of support at the Salon du livre de Montréal when hundreds of authors and publishers put up social media posts of themselves with our sign to encourage the new Minister of Canadian Heritage, Steven Guilbeault, to immediately update the Copyright Act. That action attracted the attention of many news sources, including the programs RDI Économie, Désautels le dimanche andLes Effrontés and print media such as La Presse canadienne, La Presse, L’actualité, Le Soleil and L’Actualitté.
A year of repertoire payments
If our community is so motivated to get involved in the copyright cause, it’s because they recognize the importance of being compensated fairly for the use of their content. In terms of compensation, Copibec distributed $9 million for reproduced content and another $2 million as repertoire (lump sum) payments this year.
A year of major partnerships
In February, your copyright collective led the way by embracing blockchain as part of an agreement with the Montreal startup Scenarex. Under this partnership, a platform will be built on blockchain technology to meet the needs of Copibec users who want to comply with copyright while being able to share content efficiently within their organizations.
Copibec also signed a 6-year agreement with the city of Laval to set up a simple, legal framework enabling the mayor, city councillors and municipal employees to use copyrighted content and pay compensation to creators.
Busy as bees
We could also tell you about the thousands of daily actions taken by Copibec’s team of specialists to ensure an effective approach to copyright management. We could mention the 196,000 copy log entries analyzed, the 630 requests for accessible digital content, the 20,000 cheques mailed and the thousands of calls and emails handled to answer your questions.
But as the joyous holiday season approaches, we’ll simply name each of the 27 elves who are working so diligently for you: Anouk, Arezki, Bayard, Camille, Caroline, Cécile, Christian, Danielle, Eve, Francis, Frédérique, Isabelle, Jean-Philippe, Jean-Sébastien, Jean-Wesly, Kevin, Laura, Martin, Mélissa, Morgane, Nicolas, Nicole, Rémi, Roseline, Simon, Suzanne and Xavier.
What about 2020?
Your team will continue its work so that authors and their publishers can receive fair compensation for the use of their content. At the same time, our goal is always to provide convenient, efficient service to users.