The book industry speaks out on artificial intelligence and copyright

Monday, January 15, 2024

Montreal, January 15, 2024 – As part of the ongoing public consultation on generative artificial intelligence and copyright, book industry associations are reminding the Canadian government of the crucial importance of regulating the responsible development of artificial intelligence and ensuring effective copyright protection.

The book industry and the entire cultural community emphasize that transparency is essential to the development of a fair and safe AI ecosystem. Otherwise, generative AI models will continue to develop in an opaque, unfair, and undemocratic manner, without respecting the rights of creators. They also stress that copyright is an exclusive right of human creators. Existing copyright legislation protects human creativity and originality, by virtue of requiring the exercise of skill and judgment to obtain copyright in a work. This should not be changed to grant copyright protection to AI-generated products or to allow copyrighted works to train models without permission.

Beyond AI: a law that needs reform

For the book industry, Canada needs to move quickly to close existing loopholes in its legislation so that it stops unfairly depriving rightsholders of legitimate revenues from the use of works in certain educational institutions. This priority is supported by the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and by the international book federations, all of which are outraged that Canada is not meeting its international obligations to authors.

Following another report from the House of Commons also supporting this priority, the book industry is still waiting for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, to honour their commitment to amend the Copyright Act so that authors and publishers can receive their fair share of the use of their published works.

Some briefs submitted to the Canadian consultation on AI and copyright are available upon request.

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Sources : Access Copyright, Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL), Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP), Association of English Language Publishers of Quebec (AELAQ), Canadian Authors Association (CAA), Canadian Publishers’ Council (CPC), Copibec, Literary Press Group of Canada (LPG), Regroupement des éditeurs franco-canadiens, Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ) and The Writers’ Union of Canada.

About the Signatory Associations

Access Copyright – Access Copyright is a collective voice of creators and publishers in Canada. A non-profit, national organization, we represent tens of thousands of Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers, and their works. Through agreements with sister organizations around the world we also represent the works of hundreds of thousands of foreign creators and publishers. This rich repertoire of content is highly valued, by educators, students, researchers, corporate employees, and others who need to copy and share content. We license the copying of this repertoire to educational institutions, businesses, governments, and others. The proceeds gathered when content is copied, remixed, and shared are passed along to the copyright-holders. These investments help to ensure the continued creation of new and innovative works.

Contact: Robert Gilbert | Communications Specialist and Affiliate Relations |

Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL) – The Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL) brings together the vast majority of French-language publishing houses in Quebec and Canada. Its mission is to support the growth of the publishing industry and ensure the visibility of Quebec and Franco-Canadian books nationally and internationally, particularly by advocating for the respect of copyright. Member publishing houses of the Association publish various types of works, from novels to textbooks, including essays and children's books.

Contact: Audrey Perreault | Director of Communications and Member Services |  | Tel: 514-808-5441

Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) – The Association of Canadian Publishers contributes to the development and maintenance of vibrant, competitive book publishing companies, professionally managed, and owned and controlled in Canada, to support and strengthen the contribution that Canadian books make to Canada’s cultural, economic, and educational landscape. ACP represents approximately 115 Canadian-owned and controlled book publishers from across the country. The membership is diverse and includes publishers from a variety of genres. Over 80% of Canadian-authored titles are published by the Canadian-owned sector. This means a strong Canadian-owned sector is vital to the development of new Canadian authors and writers.

Contact: Jack Illingworth | Executive Director |

Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec (AELAQ) Founded in 1987, the Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec (also known as the Association des éditeurs de langue anglaise du Québec) is a non-profit organization that supports the English-language book industry in Quebec. We represent a dynamic community of 31 members, including publishers of academic and historical books, fiction, narrative, poetry, graphic novels and comics, non-fiction and children's literature. We support and promote our members through a variety of initiatives and projects, including professional development seminars, advocacy, the Montreal Review of Books (mRb) literary magazine and an annual book fair. We are a regional affiliate of the Association of Canadian Publishers, a national network of associations that support and advocate on behalf of Canadian publishers.

Contact: Rebecca West | Executive Director |

Canadian Authors Association (CAA) – The Canadian Authors Association provides writers with a wide variety of programs, services and resources to help them develop their skills in both the craft and the business of writing, enhance their ability to earn a living as a writer, and have access to a Canada-wide network of writers and publishing industry professionals. We are a membership-based organization for writers in all areas of the profession—aspiring, emerging and professional—in every genre and across all writing-related professions. As a not-for-profit national arts service organization with charitable status, much of what we do benefits all writers, whether they are members or are affiliated with us as partners or through other writing groups.

Contact: Brandi Tanner | Administrative Director |

Canadian Publishers’ Council (CPC) – The Canadian Publishers’ Council, as Canada’s main English language book publishing trade association, was founded in 1910 and represents the interests of publishing companies that publish books and other media for elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional and reference markets, the retail and library sectors. Our members employ more than 2800 Canadians and collectively account for nearly three-quarters of all domestic sales of English-language books. Members spend over $50 million with Canadian-based book manufacturers and pay more than $25 million in royalties to Canada’s writers.

Contact: David Swail | President |

Copibec – Copibec is the Quebec collective management society for reproduction rights, a non-profit social economy enterprise specialized in copyright management. It represents over 30,000 authors and 1,300 publishing houses. Copibec provides users of copyright-protected material with simple and tailored solutions to meet their needs. On the international scale, the collective management society has agreements with over 33 foreign societies to include books, newspapers, and magazines from these countries in its repertoire. Among its members are UNEQ, ANEL, RAAV, AJIQ, FPQJ, SODEP, Quotidiens du Québec, and Hebdos du Québec.

Contact: Christian Laforce | Executive Director | 

Literary Press Group of Canada (LPG) – Founded in 1975, the LPG is a not-for-profit association that represents Canadian-owned and -operated literary book publishers from coast to coast. Our members produce books by some of Canada’s most innovative and creative writers, giving readers access to diverse voices that have not been well represented in mainstream publishing. In addition to their cultural contributions, LPG members are small businesses that support local economies through the full range of their business activities, from editorial, design, and production to marketing, sales, and distribution.

Contact: Laura Rock Gaughan | Executive Director |

Regroupement des éditeurs franco-canadiens (REFC) – The Regroupement des éditeurs franco-canadiens (REFC) was created to enable French-language publishing houses to undertake concerted actions in the areas of marketing, promotion, representation, and training. It also promotes a partnership-oriented approach by encouraging cooperation among members and key stakeholders in the book ecosystem, thereby ensuring consultation, dialogue, and collaboration with organizations committed to the cultural development of French-speaking communities in Canada.

Contact: Stéphane Cormier | Président |

Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ) – Founded in 1977, the Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ) is a professional union dedicated to defending the socio-economic rights of literary artists and promoting Quebec literature. Recognized in 1990 as the most representative association of artists in the field of literature under the Professional Status of Artists in Visual Arts, Crafts, and Literature Act and their contracts with broadcasters (as well as by the 2022 reform) and accredited in 1996 by the Canadian Industrial Relations Board for exclusive negotiation with federally regulated producers, UNEQ currently brings together nearly 1800 members from all literary practices.

Contact: Lucas Prudhomme-Rheault | Communications Manager and Assistant to the General Management | 

The Writers' Union of Canada – The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) is the national organization of professionally published writers. TWUC was founded in 1973 to work with governments, publishers, booksellers, and readers to improve the conditions of Canadian writers. Now over 2,600 members strong, TWUC advocates on behalf of writers’ collective interests, and delivers value to members through advocacy, community, and information. TWUC believes in a thriving, diverse Canadian culture that values and supports writers.

Contact: John Degen | Executive Director |