By Greg Fergus
Director of Public Affairs
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Mr. Chairman, thank you for inviting the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada to participate in this committee’s study of Bill C-11.
I am Greg Fergus, Director of Public Affairs of the Association, and I am accompanied today by Steve Wills, Manager of Government Relations and Legal Affairs.
The Association represents 95 public and private not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges across Canada.
Let me get straight to the point. AUCC supports Bill C-11 as a fair and reasonable balance between the rights of copyright owners and users of copyright works. Universities really appreciate the need for balance. Universities create intellectual property, universities use intellectual property, and universities sell intellectual property. Within universities you have faculty as researchers and teachers; students as learners; librarians; book sellers; and publishers. Our organization understands, keenly, the need for balance in the legislation.
This bill will update Canada’s copyright legislation and help to balance the needs of researchers, students and professors with those of creators. Universities, as both users and creators of copyrighted works, have worked hard for more than a decade to push for a new copyright act and see Bill C-11 as a very fair approach to competing interests.
Bill C-11 contains many of the changes the university community suggested during the federal government’s public consultation during the summer of 2009, including exceptions permitting the educational use of Internet materials and the recording and Internet transmission of lessons. These changes will facilitate online learning, including distance education, making university education more accessible for Aboriginal Canadians and mature students.
Bill C-11 will also permit university researchers to obtain and keep research materials in digital format. These and other changes to the copyright law will enable educational institutions to take advantage of new information and communications technologies for education and research in a highly competitive knowledge economy.
I want to stress that the Canadian university community – small and large, research oriented and undergraduate focused – in all regions of the country would like to see Bill C-11 passed as soon as possible.
I’d like to thank the committee for the opportunity to present these views before you, and I welcome any questions you might have.