ABC Copyright Conference 2020

Image: Campus views from roof of SUB – © University of Alberta, used with permission

ABC Copyright 2020 – Fall Speakers’ Series – Schedule

28 September 2020 – We are pleased to announce that ABC Copyright 2020 will be hosting a Fall Speakers’ Series. This series will include five presentations, drawn from the planned schedule for the ABC Copyright Conference 2020 that could not be held in May.

The Fall Speakers’ Series will be held online, via Zoom.  Admission is free, although registration will be required.  Information about registration will follow shortly.

The schedule for the series is as follows:

Wednesday, October 28, 20201300-1400 EasternAlexandra Kohn and Jessica Lange“How Can We Make This Better? Understanding and Improving the Copyright Transfer Agreement Experience”
Wednesday, November 4, 20201300-1400 EasternAndrew (Drew) Thomas“The ‘Might’ of Indigenous Collective Copyright: Treaty Rights and Treating Rights”
Wednesday, November 18, 20201300-1400 EasternJacqueline Kreller-Vanderkooy“Experiences with Copyright and Media Reuse Among Undergraduate Students who have created a Digital Media Project”
Wednesday, November 25, 20201400-1500 EasternChristina Winter, Mark Swartz, Rowena Johnson, Heather Martin, Kathryn Blair, Amanda Wakaruk, Luc Fagnan and Michael B. McNally“Canada’s Two OER Copyright Video Series”
Wednesday, December 2, 20201300-1400 EasternJennifer Zerkee and Stephanie Savage“Searching for meaning in the Copyright Act review: A qualitative analysis of stakeholder briefs”

ABC Copyright Conference 2021 – Host

We are pleased to announce Carleton University will be the host for the ABC Copyright Conference 2021. More information is available here.


ABC Virtual 2020 – June Speaker’s Series – Registration Open

01 June 2020 – Registration is now open for the ABC Virtual 2020 June Speaker’s Series.

We are pleased to be hosting two online presentations in June 2020. The first is on Thursday, June 11, at 1:00pm MDT, and the second is on Wednesday, June 24, at 11:00am MDT. These presentations are free of charge, but registration is required.

Registrants will be provided a Zoom link via email prior to the sessions. The details of these two presentations are included below.

Register Here

Thursday, June 11 at 1:00pm MDT
“I Would Avoid the Kinds of Activities or Projects that Might Involve Copyright Issues”: Introducing the Copyright Anxiety Scale.
Amanda Wakaruk and Céline Gareau-Brennan (University of Alberta)

Canadian copyright law is intentionally flexible, which provides necessary breadth in interpretation but can also create confusion, anxiety, and chill. Having observed such frustrations first-hand, [Authors] developed a Copyright Anxiety Scale to help better quantify and examine this phenomenon.

This session will describe the motivations behind the scale’s development and share the preliminary results of its first deployment. These results both provide information about the phenomenon’s scope in the US and Canada and allow us to test the validity and reliability of the scale. Session participants will be encouraged to provide feedback about both the scale’s efficacy and how the results might be interpreted.

The next stage of this multi-year research project includes gathering first-hand accounts and anecdotes about copyright hampering or stopping the work of individuals and organizations, from both creators’ and users’ perspectives. The presenters will encourage participants to share their experiences with copyright anxiety and chill, both at the session and in the future.

The long-term goals of this project include producing a research tool (scale) that can be used for further data collection across sectors and to assist copyright practitioners with creating or maintaining policies and procedures that alleviate and/or help prevent copyright chill.

Wednesday, June 24 at 11:00am MDT
Balancing Author Rights and Global Availability in the World of E-Books.
Arielle Lomness (UBC Okanagan) and Roën Janyk (Okanagan College)

Author negotiated publishing rights have a significant impact on e-book access inequalities for libraries globally, largely due to the negotiated ‘primary rights’ and ‘subsidiary rights.’ Territorial versus world rights (tied to ‘primary rights’) is a copyright and licensing issue that affects the electronic availability of titles in certain countries. These determine whether purchase limitations will be placed on books, either in the present or the future. Balanced considerations need to be made with authors around the rights to their work, their copyright ownership, how they would like title(s) to be sold, and the potential uses/users of their work. This discussion will examine the ‘unavailable in your country’ messages libraries often see alongside e-books, and how these restrictive sales decisions are affecting users through both delayed or limited e-book offerings for global libraries.

Perspectives from libraries internationally will be shared, as well as thoughts from publishers, and why they believe e-book access restrictions will only continue. Little research has been published on the topic of equal access to e-books on a global level, and yet access to specific titles can vary largely by country. Where do discussions need to occur and who can we educate on the importance of international access clauses in licensing or publishing agreements? Although this issue may not be widely known by some, the exclusivity of electronic content based on the geographical location is a sharp contrast to many of the inherent beliefs that are foundational to the library profession. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of copyright and publishing restrictions that may prevent or allow an author to share their content, and the work that needs to be done in this area to support authors, to negotiate for fair sales rights, and to provide users with equal access to content regardless of their geographic location.

Register Here


ABC Virtual 2020 – Olivier Charbonneau Keynote Presentation Postponed

21 May 2020 – Unfortunately, the presentation by Olivier Charbonneau, originally scheduled for Friday, May 22, has been postponed. We hope to have it re-scheduled shortly.

ABC Virtual 2020 – Rebecca Giblin Keynote Presentation Available on YouTube

21 May 2020 – The recorded presentation by Rebecca Giblin today at ABC Virtual 2020 is available on YouTube (  )

ABC Virtual 2020 – Registration Open

08 May 2020 – Registration is now open for ABC Virtual 2020.

We are pleased to be hosting two online keynote presentations for this year’s remote version of the ABC Copyright Conference via Zoom on May 21 and 22, 2020. These presentations will be free of charge, but registration is required.

Registrants will be provided a Zoom link via email prior to the sessions.

On Thursday, May 21, we will host a presentation from Dr. Rebecca Giblin, Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow at the Melbourne Law School, and Director of the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia. Her presentation is entitled “Save authors, save the world?”. The session will start at 2:00pm MDT / 4:00pm EDT.

On Friday, May 22, we will host a presentation from Dr. Olivier Charbonneau, Marketing and Management Librarian at Concordia University in Montreal. The title of the presentation is “Quebec in the age of digital reproduction.” The session will start at 10:00am MDT / 12:00pm EDT.

Register Here

ABC Virtual 2020 – Update

01 May 2020 – Here is the latest update regarding ABC Virtual 2020.

On Thursday, May 21, we are pleased to be hosting an online presentation from Dr. Rebecca Giblin, Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow at the Melbourne Law School, and Director of the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia.  Her presentation is entitled “Save authors, save the world?”.  We are still finalizing the start time for this presentation, but it is expected to be in the mid-late afternoon in Canada.  This online presentation will be free of charge, but registration will be required.  More information, including a registration link, will be forthcoming shortly.

On Friday, May 22, we are pleased to be hosting an online presentation from Dr. Olivier Charbonneau, Marketing and Management Librarian at Concordia University in Montreal.  I don’t yet have a title for his presentation, but the presentation is scheduled to begin at 10:00am MDT (noon EDT).  This online presentation will also be free of charge, with registration required.  More information, including a registration link, will be forthcoming shortly.

Between May 25 and June 26, we intend to host three additional online presentations, no more than one per week.  These will be presentations that were part of the program for the in-person ABC 2020.  More information about these presentations, as well as registration information for those events, will be forthcoming shortly.

We are also planning a speaker’s series in the Fall to feature a number of additional online presentations.   More information about that will be forthcoming as it becomes available.

Regarding the ABC Copyright Conference 2021, we are renewing our call for representatives from any institution that might be considering hosting the 2021 conference to contact us at your earliest convenience. 

Implications of COVID-19 (UPDATED)

31 March 2020 – Given all that has happened since my email of March 12, it is hard to believe that only three weeks have passed.  This post is made on behalf of the Steering Committee for the ABC Copyright Conference 2020 to provide an update on the status of the conference, as of March 31.

Will there be an ABC Copyright Conference 2020?  We are sorry to formally announce that there will be no “in-person” ABC Copyright Conference 2020.  We are exploring the option of holding a much smaller virtual event on May 21 and 22, so that there would still be an ABC 2020 in some form.  More information about that is below.

What if I have already registered for the ABC Copyright Conference 2020?   If you have already registered through EventBrite, you should be able to cancel that registration via EventBrite and receive a full refund.  Please also be sure to cancel any related hotel reservations and any other travel arrangements you have made.

What if I am scheduled to present at the ABC Copyright Conference 2020?   A lot of great content is likely being prepared for the conference. Therefore, we are exploring the possibility of having some of those presentations delivered online in a “speaker’s series” that would commence in June.  More information about this should be coming from the Program Committee in the next few weeks.

What additional information is available at this time about the “ABC Virtual 2020”?   This event is expected to run for a couple of hours on each of May 21 and 22.  The reduced program is still being developed.  This virtual event is expected to be free of charge, although a separate registration will be requested.  A notification will be sent out when registration for the virtual event is open. Further details of ABC Virtual 2020 will follow shortly and be added to this website. 

What are the plans for ABC Copyright Conference 2021?  We are inviting representatives from any institution interested in hosting the ABC Copyright Conference 2021 to contact us at your earliest convenience. We are hopeful we can have the host of the next full ABC Copyright Conference confirmed before ABC Virtual 2020 in May so it can be announced in conjunction with that event.


12 March 2020 –  Many of you who are looking ahead to the ABC Conference in May are probably wondering how our event might be impacted by COVID-19. 

We are fortunate that the 2020 Conference is still 10 weeks away, so we still have the luxury of time before any “final” determinations around the status of our conference have to be made.  The Steering Committee will make a determination about the conference and communicate it to this list and via the conference website and social media account no later than April 3.  That should still give attendees an opportunity to make travel arrangements if the conference is to go ahead as planned, and it gives the organizers an opportunity to explore alternative conference options if our coming together in May is deemed ill-advised for public health reasons.

In light of this uncertainty, the deadline for the “early bird” registration rates will be extended to April 10.  That way, no one who would prefer more clarity around the status of the conference before registering will be penalized for waiting for the April 3 announcement.


The ABC Copyright Conference 2020 will be held in Edmonton, Alberta, on May 21 and 22. [NOTE: This Event has been cancelled due to COVID-19. See below for details]

The conference is hosted by the University of Alberta.

The University of Alberta is situated on Treaty 6 territory, traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people.



Conference registration is now OPEN! The early-bird rates have been extended through 10 April 2020. The conference program will be posted shortly to the Schedule page. There are some hotel options listed on the Accommodations page, as well as some information about Edmonton’s attractions on the Visiting YEG page.


The ABC Copyright Conference gratefully acknowledges the contributions of its sponsors. More information about becoming a sponsor is available here.


The application period for Conference Scholarships is now CLOSED.

Call for Proposals

The Call for Proposals is now CLOSED. The Call was issued on 16 September 2019 and closed on 15 November 2019.