Canadian Copyright Collection Group Access Copyright Declares War On Fair Dealing

from the that'll-go-over-well dept

We spent a fair amount of time last year writing about Access Copyright, the Canadian copyright collection group that collects fees from universities for photocopying, and then is supposed to distribute the money to various authors (it's not always good at actually doing that). There were significant complaints because the group tried to massively increase its rates (we're talking an increase of 1,300%), creating a big burden on students, often for no added benefit. There were some sketchy negotiations, and for reasons that still don't make sense, a bunch of universities agreed to pay the crazy rates. Others, smartly, opted-out. On top of all that, around the same time, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled in a series of copyright cases where it protected fair dealing, especially when it came to education and research.

Apparently, rather than accept reality, Access Copyright has decided to declare war on fair dealing. As Michael Geist has detailed, Access Copyright is basically just trying to do an end-run around the law and the Supreme Court rulings.
Access Copyright has decided to fight the law - along with governments, educational institutions, teachers, librarians, and taxpayers - on several fronts. It has filed for an interim tariff with the Copyright Board in an effort to stop K-12 schools from opting out of its licence and it has filed a proposed post-secondary tariff that would run well after most Canadian schools will have opted out of its licence. Most notably, it has filed a lawsuit against York University over its fair dealing guidelines, which are similar to those adopted by educational institutions across the country. While the lawsuit has yet to be posted online, the Access Copyright release suggests that the suit is not alleging specific instances of infringement, but rather takes issue with guidelines it says are "arbitrary and unsupported" and that "authorize and encourage copying that is not supported by the law."
Basically, Access Copyright lost entirely, but it's still pretending that it won. Given the pretty decisive Supreme Court situation, you have to wonder what Access Copyright is thinking, other than "well, we know how to sue, so..." Meanwhile, of course, students suffer massively from this kind of crap. Overcharging students for education doesn't do anyone any favors.
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Filed Under: canada, copyright, fair dealing
Companies: access copyright


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  1. identicon
    bobb, 10 Apr 2013 @ 6:02pm

    Nothing like a tenured law professor...

    I love how the tenured law professors love to pretend that the world is all communal. The universities play this game on campus, but they can only do it because the tuition bills are going through the roof. Then they put the students into debt.

    The fact is that the tuition bills take a much greater chunk of flesh out of the side of the students' hide than the payment for the copyrighted materials. The tenured law professors probably get 10 to 100 times as much out of the students as the publications.

    But we can't have anyone spending too much time looking at how much the law professors get paid for a few hours of work a week. So they want to foment anger at someone else, someone outside the university. Voila. Get the students upset about spending $100 on a textbook so they won't notice they're spending $1000, $2000 maybe as much as $5000 for less knowledge from the tenured crowd.

    Genius. Pure Genius. That's why they have tenure.

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