Book Importation Regulations

Canada's Book Importation Regulations operate under the Copyright Act. Their purpose is to extend the Act's protection of copyright holders to exclusive distributors of books in case of parallel importation, provided that certain distribution and notice provisions are met.

"Parallel importation" occurs when a retailer or institutional buyer imports copies of a title without sourcing them through the appropriate rights holder in the given territory. This practice, also referred to as "buying around" the licensed territorial supplier, is usually motivated by the possibility that sourcing through a foreign supplier will be cheaper or faster.

Before the Regulations came into effect, the Act protected only copyright holders in Canada against parallel importation. The additional distribution provisions that the Regulations impose on exclusive distributors help protect Canadian retailers and institutional buyers – and, by extension, consumers – against the possibility that increased market exclusivity could result in higher prices or lower standards of service.

The Regulations are intended to support investment in Canada's book industry by protecting the commercial interests of book businesses operating in Canada. As such, they help serve the Government's policy objective of ensuring access by readers everywhere to a wide range of Canadian-authored books.


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