CMEC Copyright Consortium Pleased with Supreme Court Decision

TORONTO, July 12, 2012 – The Copyright Consortium of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) responded positively to the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling today on the “fair dealing” provision in the Copyright Act. With its decision, the Supreme Court has clarified that teachers can copy short excerpts of a copyright-protected work for students in their classes.

The CMEC Copyright Consortium is composed of the ministers of education of the provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec.

The consortium had asked the Supreme Court to interpret the fair dealing provision in the Copyright Act to permit teachers to make copies of short excerpts from a copyright-protected work, such as a book or a newspaper, for distribution to students.

“Members of the consortium are very pleased with this decision, as it clarifies an important provision in the copyright law for school boards, administrators, and teachers,” said Nova Scotia Minister of Education Ramona Jennex, Chair of the CMEC Copyright Consortium. “By allowing teachers to make copies of short excerpts of a copyright-protected work for their classroom lessons, our Canadian teachers are now on a level playing field with teachers in other countries like the United States, Japan, and Germany.

“This is precisely the clarity we sought, so that teachers and students may have the benefit of including short excerpts as extra lesson materials to supplement their class resources.”

The Chair of the CMEC Copyright Consortium explained that this ruling does not adversely impact Canada's education publishing industry, stating that, “Countries with copyright laws permitting a teacher to copy short excerpts all have healthy educational publishing industries. Making copies of short excerpts is not a substitute for purchasing copyright-protected educational resources.”

The Supreme Court of Canada's ruling overturns decisions made by the Copyright Board of Canada and the Federal Court of Appeal, both of which had narrowly defined the fair dealing provision and imposed a fee for teachers making copies of short excerpts to supplement materials purchased for class use.

In the coming weeks, the consortium will review this decision to assess its full implications for teachers and students.

About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada's ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the exercise of the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education. For more information, visit us at


- 30 -

Colin Bailey
Director, Communications
Cell: 416-929-6970
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259