10:10 PM

AAP Raises Serious Copyright Concerns in Canada, China; Recommends US Government Engagement in US Trade Representative Report

AAP Joins Content Associations in Submission for USTR 2014 Section 301 Report, Identifies “Priority Countries” and Seeks Action in 46 Countries

Washington, DC — Canada and China fail to provide adequate, effective intellectual property rights protection for US content creators including authors and publishers, according to the Association of American Publishers in the 2014 Special 301 Report to the US Trade Representative submitted today by the International Intellectual Property Alliance.

The IIPA submission documents copyright and market access concerns in 46 countries and recommends 19 be placed on USTR’s Watch List, nine on the Priority Watch List and one be maintained as a Priority Foreign Country. In addition to endorsing IIPA’s proposed placement of Canada and China on watch lists, AAP — one of the seven IIPA member organizations — has emphasized that both countries’ activities are of particular concern for the book and journal publishing industry.

“The global demand for the works of US authors and publishers makes significant contributions to the US economy and job market, proven most recently by the Department of Commerce and National Endowment of the Arts report,” said Tom Allen, President and CEO, AAP. “The value of book and journal publishing is damaged, however, by recent changes in Canadian law that appear to permit unlicensed use of copyrighted works for any educational purpose and by continuing problems with online piracy of scholarly journals in China.

Allen added, “We are asking the US Trade Representative to heighten its scrutiny of Canada and China to better protect IP rights of authors and publishers and the sustainability of their intellectual and economic contributions. We are also urging Canada to officially clarify the scope of its new policies so they align with established international laws, ensure fair compensation to copyright owners in legitimate markets and continue Canada’s access to rich educational content.”


In its Copyright Modernization Act 2012, the Canadian government expanded its fair dealing exceptions to include an undefined “education” purpose. The education exception lacks any specific parameters, thus conflicting with established international norms regarding exceptions, and has also been subject to excessively broad interpretation, drawing from recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions proclaiming fair dealing as a “user’s right” which should be given “large and liberal interpretation.”

Under the now-pervasive misconception that all copying for educational use is now permitted without rights-holder permission or compensation, Canadian schools have defected en masse from longstanding licenses through Access Copyright, the country’s not-for-profit content licensing service provider. This misconception has also stymied nascent efforts by Access Copyright and its affiliated creators and publishers to develop a robust licensing service for digital educational materials to better serve the country’s students.

Publishers are already seeing contraction of direct sales of educational materials in Canada, despite its role as a long-established, well-functioning licensing market for the US. As part of the Special 301 Report submission, AAP recommends that Canada be subject to further heightened scrutiny by the US government given the industry’s concerns with the adverse effects of this undefined education fair dealing purpose.


Authors and publishers are experiencing continuing problems in China due to online piracy of scholarly journals, websites engaging in unauthorized document sharing and trafficking in journal subscription log-in credentials, and other market access issues.

Despite improved Chinese government cooperation addressing the longstanding problem of online piracy of scientific/technical/medical (STM) materials, emerging online sharing services such as Baidu, Wenku, Sina andDocin threaten the professional publishing market in new ways. These services employ digital coin systems, earned through uploading documents, to acquire trade books, textbooks and journals for download and they provide no effective means for rights holders to report infringements or request the removal of infringing content.

While publishers recognize the efforts of major online trading platforms such as Taobao in working with rights holders to address online piracy concerns, the need exists for greater cooperation to prevent such entities from using their e-commerce platforms to traffic in log-in credentials, providing unauthorized access to proprietary databases.

Additionally, there continue to be unresolved market access issues in China including investment restrictions and prohibitions against engaging in publishing activities.

More information about the USTR and Special 301 Reports



The Association of American Publishers (AAP) represents about four hundred member organizations including major commercial, digital learning and education and professional publishers alongside independents, non-profits, university presses and scholarly societies. We represent the industry’s priorities on policy, legislative and regulatory issues regionally, nationally and worldwide. These include the protection of intellectual property rights and worldwide copyright enforcement, digital and new technology issues, funding for education and libraries, tax and trade, censorship and literacy. Find us online at www.publishers.org or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.