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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    The Old Man in The Sea, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 5:43pm

    Investigate the policy makers for copyright infringement

    To give them the boot, investigate each of the persons who has signed off on this policy and plan of attack for any copyright infringement and sue them accordingly.

    It will show up the system as a mockery and them as fools. Particularly if any of them have children as students who have been caught.

    Additionally, investigate the organisation for fraud (not passing on the funds collected to the appropriate authors, etc).

     

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  2.  
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    bobb, Apr 10th, 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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  3.  
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    AB (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 7:22pm

    I'm not really against copyright, but these types of massive abuse make it difficult to support. Even in the unlikely event that the copyright maximalists are right they are wrong. To put it bluntly I would rather live in a world with happy people and no art, then one with oppressed freedoms and tons of (unappreciated) art. Not that an oppressed population are capable of supporting artists.

    Creativity and creators (and their products) become completely worthless if the bulk of the population is uneducated, unenlightened, and poor. It is only of value so long as the population can consume it. Yet here we have a group which claims to represent those creators acting in a manner which will ultimately act to reduce that consumption, thus also reducing the income of those artists they claim to represent.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Nothing like a tenured law professor...

    Not sure what your university was like, or where you even went to school, but I paid, on average, $400 for every course I took and $100 for every textbook I bought.

    The course fees were worth it. The textbooks were not.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:13pm

    Re: Nothing like a tenured law professor...

    Can you cite anything to support your suppositions, or are you just blowing steam from some imagined wrong?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    JarHead, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:39pm

    Access Copyright has decided to fight the law - along with governments, educational institutions, teachers, librarians, and taxpayers...

    Hmm, I thought fighting the the law, along with the government, is what separatist/rebel/terrorist do, hmmm. Maybe a reading fail on my part...

     

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  7.  
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    Anon Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 9:48pm

    Fuking Canuks

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Nothing like a tenured law professor...

    I think your comment suffered from a lack of "tenured law professor" inclusions. Please try again, but with at least one per sentence this time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 12:08am

    Re: Nothing like a tenured law professor...

    You're describing the USA University system only.

    The rest of the worlds universities do not work this way with exorbitant tuition fees (in fact they are quite reasonable if not actually part/fully funded payed by the State).

    For example a standard 3-4yr Bachelors Degree should cost (excluding text books) no more than $70000 and that's for both STEM and Law - LLB or JD /medicine degrees). A masters degree (MBA for example) should cost no more than $30-40K total and a PHD is dependant on how long you want to take to do it (10-15K a year is normal).

    Personally my first degree (B.Comp) cost approx $23K at the time and I paid that off interest free using our govt subsidy system via our tax system. My second graduate degree (LLB) would of cost approx $40K (in 2005) if I had not received advanced standing credits.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 12:14am

    Re:

    I wouldn't blame all Canucks in this case. Just those working for Access Copyright, and the spineless blackguards who caved.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 1:15am

    Being a collection society is nice work if you can get it. It consists of collecting money for the use of works created and produced by others. It is nothing other than a legalised extortion racket, so of course such societies are against fair use/dealing as ir removes their excuse for demanding money with menaces.
    Without a formal copyright registry, and a record off all uses of works, this system only benefits the collectors, publishers an richest creators.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 1:51am

    Re:

    not quite. (I work for a collecting society myself, though not in a highly-paid role.) The point of collecting societies is so you don't have to get a license for each individual creator. Creators have an incentive to join because they don't need to worry about protecting their copyright or licensing.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 3:01am

    Re: Re:

    Instead you have to pay for listening to free radio services in a a garage, or playing to horses. Further venues having to pay public performance licenses when the bands are only playing their own material.
    Collection societies have taken on the worst aspects of tax farmers, and set their own rates as well.

     

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  14.  
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    Ninja (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 5:12am

    These people are disgusting. It seems IP has the power to attract the worst and most rotten part of humanity (the laws, not creativity/culture).

    The more educated and the easier the access to knowledge the more a country will develop. Incidentally this passes through much weaker IP laws.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Dave, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 6:17am

    The scurge of TechDirt

    What? No irrelevant or misleading comments from that doyen of common sense and intelligent, creative output, Out_Of_The_Blue? (Oops....click! Ah, that's better. Sarcastic mode switched off)

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re: Nothing like a tenured law professor...

    "The rest of the worlds universities do not work this way with exorbitant tuition fees (in fact they are quite reasonable if not actually part/fully funded payed by the State)."

    As were many in the states - until austerity became fashionable. It's a race to the bottom and its proponents are right behind you - pushing and shoving while screaming maniacally.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    Since they are fighting the law, and the law is going to win,
    have they paid Sonny Curtis for the rights?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 6:32am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, why blame those many Canadians taking a beating because they stood up for their rights.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re:

    It's good to be the king

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 7:35am

    Re: Nothing like a tenured law professor...

    "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."

    Are you including non-classroom time including:
    reviewing and grading papers
    consultations with students
    updating notes with changes in law due to recent court decisions?
    etc.
    Or are you one of those idiots who thinks that only time spent in the classroom counts as "work"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re:

    "he point of collecting societies is so you don't have to get a license for each individual creator. Creators have an incentive to join because they don't need to worry about protecting their copyright or licensing."

    But you can ONLY collect for work by the creators belonging to the society.
    How do you track ONLY registered creators' work?

     

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  22.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    How do you track ONLY registered creators' work?

    By and large, they don't.

    Or, at least, they don't if we're talking about music in the States. I don't know about Canada or textbooks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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