Log in
  • Home
  • News
  • Press Release: Canadian Writing and Publishing Organizations Advocate for Artificial Intelligence Regulations in Ottawa

Press Release: Canadian Writing and Publishing Organizations Advocate for Artificial Intelligence Regulations in Ottawa

2 May 2024 11:40 AM | Lauren Perruzza (Administrator)

The logos for Access Copyright, ACP, AELEAG, ANEL, Canadian Authors, and Canadian Publishers' Council.

The logos of Copibec, LPG, REFC, UNEQ, and the Writers' Union of Canada.


Canadian Writing and Publishing Organizations Advocate for Artificial Intelligence Regulations in Ottawa

May 2, 2024

In honour of World Book and Copyright Day, a coalition of ten writing, publishing, and creator organizations from across the country convened in Ottawa this week to meet with parliamentarians and government officials on the opportunities and challenges that generative artificial intelligence poses for Canada’s book industry. The organizations, spanning both French and English Canada, represent more than 300 book publishers and over 10,000 individual creators from across the country.

Canada has the opportunity to create a regulatory system for AI that supports the value of human creation and sustains our vital cultural industries. It has become commonplace for some generative AI companies to highlight their innovation and investments as a reason for governments to grant broad copyright exceptions. But these companies owe their considerable success to the prior innovations and investments of others—the intellectual and creative investments of authors and the financial investments of publishers. There is no good public policy reason to weaken copyright protection for the convenience of technology companies. It is imperative that the livelihoods of writers and publishers are protected, if not enhanced, by AI regulations.

Publishers and writers own the copyright to the works that are of greatest value in the training of generative AI: books. “Protecting an author’s work is difficult at best, and not having appropriate measures in place to defend against generative AI companies could be catastrophic to our creative communities,” said Travis Croken, Co-chair of the Canadian Authors Association, at a reception on Parliament Hill highlighting the hardships faced by Canadian creators due to the upsurge of generative AI.

The focal point of the reception was a book display featuring a selection of the thousands of Canadian titles that have been used without consent to train generative AI systems. The technology companies that have made use of these books did not seek the permission of the authors and publishers concerned and have made no effort to compensate rightsholders for this use.

The book display at the Canadian book industry’s reception on AI and copyright featured a selection of Canadian titles that have been used without consent to “train” generative AI.

The Canadian book industry has put forth several key recommendations concerning AI to safeguard the moral rights of authors and the copyright protection of authors and publishers. The sector is advocating against implementing new copyright exceptions or compulsory licensing regimes, instead proposing a free market for text and data mining licenses where rightsholders can share in the economic value that generative AI will inevitably build on the foundation of their work. Furthermore, the Canadian book industry stresses the need to adopt transparency provisions, like those recently introduced by the European Economic Union in the AI Act, to stop unattributed and uncompensated AI training on copyrighted works. 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.

“We need writers, and we need writers to be paid properly for their work, because they bring us new ideas,” said Lisa Hepfner, Member of Parliament for Hamilton Mountain and parliamentary sponsor for the reception. “Anything that AI is coming out with is being scraped from something else—there’s no ingenuity, there’s no creativity, there’s no human spirit, and that’s what we have to protect.” The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage, was also in attendance.

“In the age of artificial intelligence, we are at a new crossroads, and fortunately solutions exist so that books can continue to be published in a respectful and equitable environment for creators and rightsholders,” added Karine Vachon, Executive Director of the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres.

As the Canadian book industry continues to advocate for the interests of publishers and creators, it remains committed to working collaboratively with the Government of Canada to address the pressing needs of the creative sector. Their recommendations are also supported by the associations of artists and cultural enterprises grouped within the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE).

The book organizations that have signed this press release include:

Access Copyright
The Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP)
Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL)
Canadian Authors Association (CAA)
The Canadian Publishers’ Council (CPC)
The Literary Press Group of Canada (LPG)
Regroupement des éditeurs franco-canadiens (REFC)
Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ)
The Writers Union of Canada (TWUC)

For more information in English, please contact:

Jack Illingworth | Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) | jack_illingworth@canbook.org

Robert Gilbert | Access Copyright | rgilbert@accesscopyright.ca

Travis Croken | Canadian Authors Association (CAA) | travis.croken@me.com

David Swail | Canadian Publishers’ Council (CPC) | dswail@pubcouncil.ca

Laura Rock Gaughan | Literary Press Group of Canada (LPG) | laurag@lpg.ca

John Degen | The Writers’ Union of Canada | jdegen@writersunion.ca

Contact Us

The Literary Press Group of Canada
234 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 502
Toronto, ON M4P 1K5

Tel: +1 416-483-1321
Fax: +1 416-483-2510

LPG acknowledges we are hosted on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat. We also recognize the enduring presence of all First Nations, Métis and the Inuit people, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to meet and work on this territory.

With appreciation to our funders:

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software