A press release issued on 10 November 2014 announces Copibec’s filing of a motion in Quebec Superior Court for authorization to launch a class action suit representing thousands of authors and publishers. This copyright law suit stems from the Quebec City Université Laval’s use of copyright-protected works of authors and publishers in Quebec and throughout Canada as well as from other countries.
According to the press release, Université Laval copies more than 11 million pages annually from 7,000 different works. These copies are included in course packs sold to students or distributed online on a secure internal computer network.
Copibec intends to ask the Superior Court to issue orders to stop the unauthorized copying and for seizure of the unauthorized copies. In this copyright law suit, Copibec will also request that the Court makes Université Laval pay the affected authors and publishers the following:
- approximately $2 million in unpaid royalties
- $1 million in moral rights damages
- $1 million in punitive damages
- profits earned on the sale of coursepacks to students
Université Laval had a blanket licence with Copibec until relatively recently – May 2014. When the licence with Copibec was not renewed, the University’s board of directors put into effect a policy regarding the use of third-party works for teaching, learning, research and private study purposes. (“Politique et directives relatives à l’utilisation de l’œuvre d’autrui aux fins des activités d’enseignement, d’apprentissage, de recherche et d’étude privée à l’Université Laval”). This copyright law policy allows professors, lecturers, instructors and researchers to make copies of excerpts and entire works without obtaining permission or paying royalties.
According to the Copibec website, Copibec is the Société québécoise de gestion collective des droits de reproduction, a not-for-profit copyright collective founded in 1997 by Quebec authors and book publishers in the Union des écrivaines et écrivains québécois (UNEQ) and the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL). Copibec’s membership now also includes other organizations representing visual artists and newspaper and periodical authors and publishers. Copibec represents 850 Quebec publishers of books, newspapers and periodicals, as well as approximately 23,000 authors from Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. In addition to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, its repertoire has more than 110,000 books published in Quebec.
Click for an update on an on-going lawsuit by Access Copyright against Toronto-based York University.
Learn more about Canadian copyright law.